Monday, April 20, 2009

The New Zealand Option

I have yet to read Hugh White's Lowy Institute paper on Australian Defence Paper.

However I have listened to his recent talk at the Institute.

As I have noted earlier, White's analysis is that during the course of the coming century the growth of Chinese economic and military power will strain the international order in the Pacific and may lead to a significant danger of conflict.

White sees three options for Australia in this environment.

1/ To recommit to the US alliance and accept that this will require greatly increased military committments from Australia.

2/ To aim for a more self-reliant defence and a more independent foreign policy stance.

3/ The New Zealand option.

Now my readers outside Australia, particularly those in New Zealand, should note that this is a laugh line.

White is arguing that the first two options, which would see Australia retain its status as something called a "middle power", will require a much greater expenditure on defence as fraction of GDP. The third alternative is, for the moment, unthinkable.

(Are there any countries other than Canada and Australia that actually aspire to the status of "middle power"?)

If this analysis of China becomes widespread in Australia surely New Zealand's "independent" defence and foreign policy would come under much greater pressure from our nearest neighbour?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm sure that your mighty air force, unique in the world for choosing a flightless bird as its symbol, definitely forms a force to be reckoned with ;)