We need the US for defence, but we only need defence because of the US Australia has always been reliant on ‘great and powerful friends’ for its sense of national security and for direction on its foreign policy—first on the British Empire and now on the United States.
Australia has actively pursued a policy of strategic dependence, believing that making a grand bargain with a powerful ally was the best policy to ensure its security and prosperity. Dangerous Allies examines Australia’s history of strategic dependence and questions the continuation of this position.
It argues that international circumstances, in the world and in the Western Pacific especially, now make such a policy highly questionable.
Since the fall of the Soviet Union, the United States has also changed dramatically, making it less relevant to Australia and a less appropriate ally on which Australia should rely.
Malcolm Fraser argues that Australia should adopt a much greater degree of independence in foreign policy, and that we should no longer merely follow other nations inthttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lhKvV1aTAL8o wars of no direct interest to Australia or Australia’s security. He argues for an end to strategic dependence and for the timely establishment of a truly independent Australia.
Dangerous Allies traces the long search for the optimum Australian foreign policy. This responsible but provocative interpretation draws upon research by doctoral scholar, Cain Roberts, to support the experience of former Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser.
Malcolm Fraser’s fairly conventional praxis now blends with the case for a more independent voice for Australia in international affairs as recommended in the original text of the ANZUS Agreement of 1951.
Malcolm Fraser now talks up even greater Strategic Independence within the Alliance and a more realistic attitude to the re-emergence of China. Publication of Dangerous Allies provides new opportunities for journalists to engage with Malcolm Fraser. National archives now cover the Vietnam War era.
There are also new revelations from Wikileaks and Edward Snowden to assist in framing the right questions.
Precedents exist for sharp reappraisals of foreign policy assumptions. Prime Minister John Curtin confronted Churchill to withdrawal of AIF Divisions from the Middle East in 1942.
This was soon after a desperate appeal from John Curtin for a total commitment by the US to the defence of Australia and the South West Pacific.
Similar independent initiatives by Dr. Evatt are acknowledged. Gough Whitlam went further and to oppose additional deployments to South Vietnam. Some senior ministers opposed the bombing of cities in North Vietnam.
The prospects for greater debate in Australia over foreign policy issues have been strengthened by publication of Dangerous Allies. A conservative national leaders has finally stirred up the possum and this saga has a long way to run.