Interests, ideas and inevitability: The politics of strategic choice

Stream: Panel 71 - Australian Politics / Media & Politics: Alliance politics - Panel on the politics of security in Australia
Date: Wednesday, 28 September 2016
Time: 9.00 am – 10.30 am
Speaker(s): Mark Beeson

One of the more enduring features of Australia’s strategic position is the durability and continuing importance of its alliance with the United States. Given Australia’s comparatively favorable geographic location, this is rather surprising outcome. Even more striking is the tangible commitment Australian policymakers have been prepared to make in terms of both blood and treasure over the years, despite an absence of direct strategic threats. This paper considers the ideational context in which this relationship is embedded and asks whether it is any longer compatible with Australia’s increasingly complex ‘national interests’. I suggest that the continuing prominence of strategic issues over economic interests may become increasingly difficult to sustain either ideologically or practically.