Monday, November 30, 2009

Australia Readings

It was difficult to find many readings on Australian security, and I had to settle for one about the new semi-alliance between Australia and Japan. However, it helps to fix some thoughts I've been having about the future of security in Asia.

Bisley, Nick "The Japan-Australia security declaration and the changing regional security setting: wheels, webs and beyond?" Australian Journal of International Affairs, vol. 62, no. 1, pp. 38-52, Mar. 2008

This security declaration is a great step in moving towards a network of alliances in East Asia, linking together two of our strongest allies in the region. (The author is somewhat upset that South Korea has been left out of all of this, but hopefully that can be fixed with stronger bilateral ties to each of them.) It is particularly useful because it is very explicitly not intended to contain or balance against China, but instead to help with humanitarian problems. This has been a much larger problem for East Asia than interstate war for the last two decades, and can be a real step forward for overall peace in the region.

Importantly, Bisley states that it is important to remember that this is probably the limit of possible cooperation between Australia and Japan, rather than a beginning. This is fine, however. This is the greatest strength of a network-centered approach, rather than attempting and failing to make a formal multilateral alliance. Each state is able to make the connections it can, and hopefully this can be expanded.

I think Bisley may poo-poo the idea too much, but is overall rather supportive. I'm even more supportive, particularly as a guide for going forward to help the whole region maintain stability.

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