Accession Number:



Still Great Mates: Australia's Response to U.S. Security Policies

Descriptive Note:

Special assessment

Corporate Author:


Personal Author(s):

Report Date:


Pagination or Media Count:



In the Asia-Pacific region, the Australia-U.S. relationship is clearly the closest. This partnership, which dates back to WWII, and has not been seriously disrupted since, can be described as a special relationship which is akin to the relationship between the UK and the United States. History is not the only tie that binds Australia to the United States. Canberra has made a strategic calculation that it can greatly enhance Australia s national security through an alliance with the United States. This strategic calculus has remained consistent across successive Australian national governments. The present Australian government, under Prime Minister John Howard, is in broad agreement with U.S. security policy. Both countries have international terrorism at the top of their security agenda, particularly after the Bali bombings in September 2002 which took 88 Australian lives. The Howard administration also supports U.S. action against Iraq. Although Australia was reluctant to commit publicly to the possibility of military action without United Nations UN approval, a break down of the UN process on Iraq has led to Australia s decision to back President Bush s ultimatum. Possible war in Iraq has sparked enormous controversy within Australia about the Howard administration s seemingly unquestioning support for the Bush administration. Although Prime Minister Howard faces strong domestic opposition, it will not have any impact on Australia s relationship with the U.S. in the long-run. The opposition Australian Labor Party ALP, were it to be in office, would maintain the alliance with the United States with only minor differences. Important divergences between Australia and the U.S. involve multilateralism and international regimes. As a middle power, Australia is far more enthusiastic than the U.S. generally about the value of multilateralism.

Subject Categories:

  • Government and Political Science
  • Defense Systems

Distribution Statement: