Executive summary

  • The Australia-US alliance is confronted with a range of political, economic, social and demographic changes that have redefined the character of the Asian region and how Asia interacts with the rest of the world.
  • It is critical that the US and Australia differentiate between the difficult, but necessary, decisions they need to make as alliance partners, and the false choices they need to avoid.
  • Both Australia and the US should clearly articulate their respective interests in order to advance their intersecting priorities through the Alliance.
DownloadThe Australia-US alliance and its regional context in Asia

The forces of change that continue to transform Asia’s strategic outlook have possible implications for the Australia-US alliance. Despite the continuities in Asia’s strategic landscape, an examination of four key changes is critical to any realistic assessment of the outlook for US-Australia alliance co-operation. They are (1) securitization of national interests; (2) the changing utility of military force; (3) the shifting balance of wealth and power; and (4) Asian regionalism. In light of the rapid strategic change in Asia Australia and the United States have intersecting but not identical strategic interests. These intersecting interests can be advanced through co-operation in a range of area such as alliance burden-sharing and engaging constructively with China. Moving forward, the dynamics of the Australia-US relationship should reflect the priorities of both countries, within the context of a changed strategic landscape in Asia in the 21st century.