This paper addresses the question of whether the US rebalance to the Indo-Pacific is good for Australia. It overviews the considerations that drove the policy and identifies the broad strategies being pursued by the US. The paper details the steps being taken to realise the policy and then considers the opportunities and issues for Australia. It also assesses how other Indo-Pacific countries are responding and the impact on Australia of these regional responses.
The paper notes that one of the key considerations has been the perception that Australia has been placed in the awkward position of supporting the US initiative without offending China, its most important trading partner. The paper concludes that while the US refocus will present strategic opportunities for Australia over the next decade, the challenge will be to ensure that the Indo-Pacific region maintains its multilateral character rather than deteriorating into a ‘with us or against us’, bipolar mentality.