The Hugh White thesis: Five years on



12 August 2015


Public forum

Alliance 21 director James Brown joined the Hon. Bob Carr and Professor Hugh White to discuss the latter’s famous Quarterly Essay Article “Power shift: Australia’s future between Washington and Beijing” five years on from its publication.

In 2010 Professor Hugh White challenged Australians when he wrote ‘Power Shift: Australia’s future between Washington and Beijing’, published in the academic journal Quarterly Essay.

White argued that in order to meet its interests in Asia Australia should persuade the US to relinquish primacy in the region. He asserted that the best outcome for stability in the Asia-Pacific would be a power-sharing agreement between these two great nations. He posited a ‘Concert of Asia’ to balance state interests and achieve shared leadership between major powers in the region.

To discuss its impact five years on, James Brown, Director of the Alliance 21 Program, joined a panel discussion held by the Australia-China Relations Institute (ACRI) with Professor White, chaired by Professor the Hon. Bob Carr, former Australian Foreign Minister and Director of ACRI.


  • James Brown
    James Brown
    CEO, Space Industry Association of Australia

    James Brown is CEO of the Space Industry Association of Australia. He was previously a Non-Resident Fellow at the United States Studies Centre.

  • Professor Hugh White, AO
    Professor Hugh White, AO
    Professor of Strategic Studies, Australian National University

    Hugh White AO was a visitor at the US Studies Centre in 2011 and 2014. White is Professor of Strategic Studies at the Australian National University. His work focuses primarily on Australian strategic and defence policy, Asia-Pacific security issues, and global strategic affairs especially as they influence Australia and the Asia-Pacific.

  • The Honourable Bob Carr
    Former Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs

    Professor the Honourable Bob Carr was formerly a member of the US Studies Centre Board of Directors. He is Director of the Australia-China Relations Institute at the University of Technology, Sydney.

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