Future tension in the Asia–Pacific could lead to discord within the security alliance between Australia and the United States, warns a new report by leading experts from both countries, which was launched today at the United States Studies Centre at the University of Sydney.
The ANZUS Alliance in an Ascending Asia is part of the Centre of Gravity series published by the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre (SDSC), based at the Australian National University. It brings together four leading analysts who have examined the ANZUS relationship from the perspective of both Washington and Canberra, detailing the growth, risks, and opportunities of the alliance as the US undertakes its strategic rebalance to an emerging Asia.
The report, which is published jointly with the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), was written by CSIS senior vice president for Asia Michael J. Green, senior fellow at SDSC Peter J. Dean, SDSC head Brendan Taylor, and CSIS fellow Zack Cooper.
The report identifies the "expectations gap" surrounding Australia's defence budget, divisions between Canberra and Washington over a rising Indonesia, and differing perspectives on Japan and China as potential challenges to the Alliance.
"The locus of international power is returning to Asia," the authors write. "The United States and Australia have much to gain from this new ascent of Asia — and as staunch defenders of the neoliberal order over the last century, much is at stake."
The authors include a number of policy recommendations, such as maintaining the Asia–Pacific focus of the Alliance even while cooperating on out-of-area missions; using the Alliance as a central hub for Asian regional order and architecture; and deploying the Alliance to manage shared maritime challenges.
The report is available from the ANU website.