Great Powers, National Interests, and Australian Grand Strategy
AIR UNIV MAXWELL AFB AL SCHOOL OF ADVANCED AIR AND SPACE STUDIES
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This study comprises an analysis of the relationship between great power dynamics and Australian grand strategy. Using Regional Security Complex Theory as a methodological basis, the study examines how global and regional power dynamics have influenced Australia s definition of its national interest, and how these interests have been reflected in the development of Australian grand strategy. The aim of this analysis is to assess whether Australia can pursue a grand strategic path independent of the great powers. To answer this question, the study uses two case studies of key periods in the evolution of Australian grand strategy 1919 to 1941, and 1971 to 1991. These periods cover major shifts in great power dynamics in the Asia-Pacific region, as well as significant changes in Australian grand strategy. More specifically, they represent periods of willful dependence on great power patronage and the development of an independent grand strategy, respectively. Drawing on the analysis from these two case studies, the final chapter assesses how Australian grand strategy may develop in response to the emerging dynamics of the Asian Century. Taking guidance from recently published Australian government documents and official statements from government officials, the study concludes that Australia s grand strategy that is taking shape presently is displaying signs of incoherence that could prove ultimately damaging to Australia s national interests. The study concludes that Australia has demonstrated the ability to pursue an independent grand strategic path. However, when a culturally or politically aligned great power engages in its region, the importance of grand strategic independence is de-emphasized. As the United States begins its rebalance to the region, Australia must balance its tendency towards great power dependence with its desire to maintain an independent grand strategy.
- Government and Political Science