Trump could fracture US and Australia's 'great alliance', experts say - CNN
This was the first time that Australian and U.S. troops had fought alongside each other—a practice subsequently seen in World War II, Korea. For more than 70 years, Australia and the United States have been inseparable allies. For the US, the Australian alliance is one of many, and by no means the most important, but . Pre-Federation and until World War II, the Australian colonies and the nascent 'Messy naval games with Uncle Sam', Australian, 12 July
President Roosevelt ordered that the visit of the Atlantic fleet should be in the 'character of a practice march'. Roosevelt felt it necessary to ascertain the sentiments of Australia and New Zealand. On a more practical level, Rear Admiral Sperry, the commander-in-chief of the fleet ordered that during the fleet's visits intelligence be gathered to compile war plans for the capture of New Zealand and Australian ports. The hospitality of the local population undoubtedly made it easier for the fleet's officers to gain insight into Australia's strengths and weaknesses, and probably direct access to the information necessary to prepare plans to capture the new nation's major cities.
Once completed and approved by the fleet commander-in-chief and submitted to the US Department of the Navy, the plans appear to have spent the rest of the century in storage. How seriously should the preparation of these plans be taken as evidence of American intent?
The friendliness of the welcome and the evident similarities between the two peoples made a positive impression on the fleet. The hospitality of the Australian authorities and the people was an indication of Australian sentiment towards the US, and the 'invasion plans' were apparently never updated. With the benefit of hindsight, the uneven, even opposing motives behind the developing relationship between the visitors and their hosts is instructive when examining the Australian-American relationship and alliance in the latter half of the 20th century and beyond.
It is indeed a reminder of Palmerston's wise advice that nations do not have permanent friends or permanent enemies, only permanent national interests. The remainder of this paper deals with the benefits and costs of Australia's US relationship.
Advantages and Benefits of the Alliance The ANZUS Treaty has contributed to a security environment and to circumstances which have meant that in the last half century Australia has not faced a direct threat to its security.
Through its alliance with the United States, Australia has also benefited from having preferential access to US intelligence, to US technology, and to the US military and government on a scale far greater than would appear appropriate for a country of Australia's size or power.
Popular support for the alliance in Australia indicates that the Treaty has also provided Australians with a sense of security which has had domestic benefits as well as benefiting the nation's regional relationships.
Some believed that NATO would wither without the Soviet threat, and so it might have, if its members had not-after some perilous hesitations-given it renewed credibility by their involvement in quelling Balkan conflicts. The case for a post Cold War Asia is somewhat different. Stephen Walt argues that lingering historical enmities in Asia and the absence of strong multilateral regional institutions have meant that Washington's bilateral security arrangements with Japan, South Korea and Taiwan have 'offered both an impediment to regional competition and a hedge against a rising and increasingly assertive China'.
The Historical Relevance of the Alliance to Australia Europeans in Australia have always felt the need to look to a great and powerful ally for protection. Pre-Federation and until World War II, the Australian colonies and the nascent nation depended on Great Britain and its navy for defence and Australia considered itself as independent within the framework of the Empire.
This dependence and need to belong were quite unremarkable given what Coral Bell describes as Australia's 'essential strategic dilemma', that is, a small population wanting to maintain its primarily Western identity 'on the fringe of a society of [Asian] giants'. Successive Australian colonial and federal governments have viewed 'the national situation as inherently one of long term insecurity.
It found this dependence hard to resist when given the opportunity in the early s to negotiate a treaty which would secure the United States to supplement or replace Britain as an ally, especially as the US had proved so able and useful an ally in comparison to Britain during World War II when Australia was under direct threat.
Australia was represented at the negotiations for the ANZUS Treaty by External Affairs Minister Percy Spender who used the United States' desire for a non-punitive treaty with Japan to get the Americans to agree, albeit reluctantly, to enter into a security agreement with Australia and New Zealand to ensure their security against a resurgent Japan.
Australian sentiment was against leniency, but Spender used the carrot of a peace treaty and emphasis on the connection between Australia's regional security concerns and the role expected of it by the US and Britain in the defence of the Middle East to get US agreement to an alliance. In other words, the alliance has been 'threat insensitive'. Although the similarities between Australia and the US can be overstated, 13 they are far greater than exist between the US and its other allies in the region.
Australia is also not a great consumer of US defence assets, and the Australian connection has caused the US less trouble than its relations with Japan over Okinawa and the Philippines over the Clarke Air Base. According to the current Australian defence white paper, with the Asia-Pacific region emerging 'as a focus of global security in the coming decades, Maintaining the balance between gain and loss, maximising the benefits of the alliance remains a major challenge for Australia.
An illustrative example of this balancing act relates to the image rather than the substance of alliance relations. ANZUS has enjoyed the support of successive Australian governments which have invested much energy, time and many resources over the years in maintaining and promoting the Treaty and in cultivating the image of the closeness of the Australian-American relationship.
Many of the perceived costs and negatives arising from Australia's participation in ANZUS might have been avoided by the exercise of more restraint and better judgement, and by less reliance on unquestioning promotion of the Treaty as the solution to all of Australia's security dilemmas. Nevertheless, occasionally excessive enthusiasm cannot detract from the central consideration: The foundation stone is the Treaty document for the text of the Treaty see Appendix 1which at 11 articles is quite short in length and, it has been argued, so vague in meaning that it lacks certainty for the parties.
The section of the Treaty which is central to the alliance is the first paragraph of Article IV: Each Party recognizes that an armed attack in the Pacific Area on any of the Parties would be dangerous to its own peace and safety and declares that it would act to meet the common danger in accordance with its constitutional processes.
The unspecified action which would be taken by the United States to meet common danger under Article IV has been the subject of much interpretation by Australian governments, the defence bureaucracy, academics and analysts over the life of the alliance. Australian defence policy papers have interpreted possible US assistance in relatively similar fashion, albeit with different emphases over the years. These differing emphases have echoed the increasing weight that successive Australian government white papers and policies have placed on the ability of Australia to defend itself.
Thus in the s and s the alliance was seen as 'the guarantee of Australia's defence', albeit not an automatic guarantee, but one which required Australia to ensure that the US remained focussed on the region by sending Australian troops to Vietnam and by hosting US defence, communications and intelligence installations 'critical to US global strategic programs and operations.
What all these interpretations have in common is the continuing recognition by Australian governments of differing ideologies that the alliance was critically important to Australia's security, and hence that the Treaty remained relevant.
And despite shifting official interpretations, the underlying nature of the Treaty as an insurance policy against aggression remains important, especially in the public consciousness. It has been argued that Australia's dependence on the US alliance is a sign of foreign and defence policy weakness, that only when Australia is willing to rid itself of ANZUS will it be able to develop truly independent foreign and defence policies, policies that it is assumed would inevitably be better for Australia than those developed as a dependent ally.
This gives no credit to the alliance for providing an environment of security which allowed Australia and Australians to look at the region and their place in the region with a growing sense of confidence rather than with suspicion.
There is no guarantee that without the security that ANZUS has provided Australia would not have developed as an inward looking, less open and secure, more xenophobic society, a sort of apartheid-era South Africa in the South Pacific. There is no guarantee that without the security that ANZUS has provided Australia would not have developed as an inward looking, less open and more xenophobic society, a sort of apartheid-era South Africa in the South Pacific.
AUSMIN gives Australian governments a formal mechanism for regular bilateral access to the US government at ministerial level and has been judged by successive Australian governments to be a valuable opportunity for wide ranging discussions on a number of issues, and to gain insight to US thinking, especially to changes in its defence policy.
Could Trump fracture US and Australia's 'great alliance'?
Without the alliance relationship it would be difficult for 'a geographically remote, medium-sized country to secure and keep the attention of a superpower. The practical and tangible aspect of the alliance is the network of some bilateral legal arrangements, 22 agreements and memoranda of understanding which the ANZUS Treaty has fostered, especially under Article II of the Treaty which deals with effective self help and mutual aid in the maintenance and development of individual and collective capacity to resist armed attack.
As a result of ANZUS, Australia has privileged access to US military equipment, logistics and technology, as well as the opportunity to train and exercise with the US military and its other allies in the region. Australia is also part of a quadripartite arrangement known as ABCA America, Britain, Canada and Australia which aims to 'achieve agreed levels of standardisation necessary for two or more ABCA armies to cooperate effectively together within a coalition.
The Joint Declaration 'Sydney Statement' which reaffirmed the US-Australian alliance commitments expanded combined exercises and opportunities for training which cover the full range of operational and tactical cooperation and interoperability. Success in such exercises gives the ADF confidence in its abilities and highlights areas in need of improvement.
ADF personnel who acquire knowledge of US defence force practices while on exchange postings or during exercises such as Tandem Thrust gain skills which enhance interoperability between Australian and US forces, as demonstrated most recently during the Interfet operation in East Timor. Timor In the case of East Timor, the US alliance did not result in the US offering combat troops or 'boots on the ground' for a peace-enforcement mission, as the Australian government reportedly expected.
Instead US assistance came in the form of diplomatic and economic pressure on Indonesia to allow the troops of the Australian-led 'coalition of the willing' to enter East Timor without resistance from Indonesian armed forces. The support that the US gave Australia over East Timor was quite in accordance with ANZUS parties' responsibilities under the Treaty, and Australian planning for the mission was assisted greatly by the close Australian-US military ties developed under the Treaty over the last half century.
US-Australian cooperation in the East Timor operation can also be viewed as a positive example of 'burden sharing', one which the US will possibly use as an example for its other allies. Such 'burden sharing' is quite compatible with the Treaty and the recognition that the two allies have shared and complementary competencies gives the alliance credibility.
This is of course no more than a latter-day development of President Nixon's Guam Doctrine, which in essence stated that US allies were expected to make meaningful contributions to their own security and not to 'freeload'. As has been suggested, albeit in another context, from each according to their abilities, to each according to their needs. The support that the US gave Australia over East Timor was quite in accordance with the ANZUS parties' responsibilities under the Treaty, and Australian planning for the mission was assisted greatly by the close Australian-US military ties developed under the Treaty over the last half century.
Access to US Military Equipment and Technology Under agreements flowing from Article 2 of the Treaty, Australia receives preferred status in the purchase of military equipment from the US which means that Australia has continuous access rather than having to negotiate approval on a case by case basis.
Agreements with the US 'also provide for the supply of munitions and equipment in an emergency, alleviating the need for large-scale stockpiling by the ADF. But no nation, apart from possibly the US itself and especially a nation of Australia's size and population, can expect to be truly self-reliant, especially when 'the reality of modern warfare demands that allies technology fits well together.
The Defence White Paper confirms the continuing relevance of this dependence, stating that 'the kind of ADF that we need is not achievable without the technology access provided by the US alliance. The Australian Government gives credit to 'US Navy assistance with hull, mechanical and propeller technology' for 'improving acoustic performance and overcoming significant shortcomings in the Collins Class'.
In the case of the combat system, the Government maintained that the decision to terminate the tender process was made on the basis that cooperation and inter-operability with the US was 'of overarching strategic importance to Australia'. Some found fault with 'the shambolic policy-making process' which 'has sent the wrong signals about Canberra's ability to formulate its own policy within the US-Australia alliance'. Australia would not have been able to develop or acquire the technical edge in the region that it has enjoyed without access to US military technology.
For instance, the Defence white paper argued that 'privileged access to the highest level of US defence technology helps us to develop our own technical capabilities for control of the approaches to our continent,' citing the ability of Australian scientists to access US technology in the development of Australia's over-the horizon radar.
Ball points to this as the paradox of the US relationship being promoted in the white paper as indispensable to Australia's self-reliance. Therefore the most realistic solution is self-reliance within the alliance, especially as, although delayed by the Asian financial crisis, the ASEAN states and others in the region have narrowed the military technology gap between themselves and Australia. Any erosion of Australia's technical edge since the end of the Cold War would seem to make continuing access to US technology even more vital.
It is noteworthy that those who speak of Australia's dependence on the US do not say how dependence on external supply might be avoided if we were not a US ally.
It has been suggested that RMA will be too costly for US allies, and in falling behind, these nations will lose the capacity for effective interoperability. RMA might also make the US's allies less necessary to it.
The 'arc of instability' 39 to Australia's immediate north and the increasing likelihood that Australia will be 'involved in combined or coalition operations Currently the US has the edge on RMA and it will be in its own interests, as well as those of its allies, that it does not leave its allies too far in its technological wake.
Access to and Sharing of Intelligence Although predating ANZUS, the arrangements under which Australia has access to and shares intelligence with the US are an integral and very valuable part of the alliance and have recently been expanded.
- ANZUS After Fifty Years
- Australia-US Relations
- History of US – NZ Relations
Intelligence sharing between the US and Australia began during the war against Japan. Of these, only Pine Gap remains operational as a joint facility and its functions have been expanded.
The inevitable costs of being party to an alliance can be seen most clearly in the operations of these facilities. Their functions, communications and intelligence collection, probably made them 'high-priority nuclear targets' during the Cold War. Ball argues that the presence of the US facilities acted as a restraint on the development of Australian defence self-reliance and Australian arms control initiatives. Successive Australian governments, however, have judged these risks and losses to be in Australia's interest, given the function of the facilities.
Bearing these risks and costs 'represents Australia's most meaningful contribution to the alliance' which is reciprocated by the provision by the US of 'sophisticated technology necessary for Australian self-reliance in credible defence contingencies'. Approximately 90 per cent of the information flow is from the US to Australia, although Australia also contributes by providing intelligence on the Pacific and the south eastern fringe of Asia.
The Alliance in the Region and Beyond Although the ANZUS Treaty refers to events and threats in the Pacific, it is important in a global sense because it is one link in a chain of alliances between democratic nations.
The removal of one link has the potential to weaken the whole and to destabilise the rest. This is especially so in the Asia-Pacific region where the US also has bilateral security arrangements with Japan and South Korea, and a US domestic law relating to the security of Taiwan. Membership of the alliance has not stopped Australia taking independent and sometimes leadership positions on a number of issues, such as Australia's initiatives in Cambodia and its role in promoting chemical weapons control.
Many regional nations which have not wanted to be allied with the US for domestic or ideological reasons are not averse to the Australian-US alliance because it has helped to ensure a US presence which in turn has assisted in maintaining regional stability by linking US power to Southeast Asia.
Overall Australia will be treated with more caution and respect in the region as a US ally than otherwise. However, such acceptance of the usefulness of Australian-US alliance as there is in the region has been predicated on the discretion that Australia uses at the interface between alliance and regional politics. The unfortunate 'deputy sheriff' tag, perceptions that Australia has 'pretensions of being a regional military leader', and understandable Australian pride in the success of its leadership of the peacekeeping mission in East Timor not unnaturally were resented and rejected by ASEAN countries, especially Indonesia.
Australia–United States relations
This resentment was probably increased by US Secretary of State, Colin Powell who made some complimentary and enthusiastic, if incautious, comments on the value of the alliance during his Senate confirmation hearing when he said: In the Pacific, for example, we are very, very pleased that Australia, our firm ally, has played a keen interest in what has been happening in Indonesia.
So we will coordinate our policies. But let our ally, Australia, take the lead as they have done so well in that troubled country. Challenges for the Future The ANZUS alliance has proved a worthwhile arrangement over the last half century, but no relationship between allies can remain the same over decades, especially when the strategic situation itself has changed so much.
In the next few years Australia will have to respond to US foreign and defence policy initiatives which will challenge the strength, the utility, and even the viability of its alliance with the US. The continuing value of the alliance to Australia will depend on the extent to which these challenges are compatible with Australia's national interests.
Tensions between the US and China over Taiwan pose a significant risk of conflict in the region. As its ally, the US would expect Australia's support in a confrontation over Taiwan, possibly dragging Australia into a conflict not of its own making or choice.
As the other Allied powers turned their attention to the reconstruction of postwar Europe and Japan in the post World War II era, the governments of Australia and New Zealand remained concerned about the possibility of future Japanese expansionism and grew apprehensive about the rise of communism, particularly in East Asia.
Even before the war ended, Australia and New Zealand signed an agreement stating that they had common goals and would work together in the international arena; at the time, the agreement was for both nations the first treaty negotiated independently, and it reflected the concern that the major powers of the United States and the United Kingdom may not take Australian and New Zealander issues into account in their postwar planning.
The signing of the North Atlantic Treaty inin which the United Kingdom, Canada, and the United States alongside the Western European powers committed to a mutual defense arrangement, further prompted the geographically distant countries of Australia and New Zealand to seek their own security guarantee and means of integration in the international system in the postwar order. Australia initially considered the idea of a regional pact in the Pacific in the s, and inat a meeting of the Commonwealth Prime Ministers, it suggested that the major powers of the British Commonwealth form a regional defense system.
If such an organization were created, the members could then invite the United States and other countries with strong interests in the Pacific to join. At that time, however, the United States was not yet prepared to commit itself to formal security arrangements in the Pacific. During the late s, the United States was heavily engaged in the rebuilding of Japan, but the United States did not extend its defense interests far beyond Japanese territory before the Korean War.
In response to Australian suggestions for a regional coalition, U. Secretary of State Dean Acheson stated that formal treaties with the South Pacific nations were unnecessary, as any real attack on Australia or New Zealand would elicit a U. The Pacific Ocean was much larger, and the nations that bordered it were far more culturally and linguistically diverse than the nations of the North Atlantic.
ANZUS After Fifty Years – Parliament of Australia
Other considerations led the United States to hesitate to commit to a regional organization in the Pacific as well. A number of the countries in Southeast Asia were still under colonial rule, or in the process of developing as independent states, and therefore neither they nor their colonial governments were in a position to make regional security commitments.
At this time, the United States was also faced with the critical situation in Europe, including the occupation and support of West Germany and West Berlin and facing what it saw as the Soviet threat on that continent. There were fewer immediate economic or political threats to force equal attention to the security of the Southwest Pacific. Several developments in Asia between and helped to change U.
The communist victory in the Chinese Revolution in seemed to confirm fears that communism was spreading in East Asia as well as in Europe. In s, the outbreak of the Korean War led Australia and New Zealand to commit troops through the United Nations and alongside the NATO allies, demonstrating both their concern over the threat of communism and their commitment to doing their part to help contain it in the region.
Most importantly, the U. In April ofU.