From Gough Whitlam to Tony Abbott, Australia has pursued a pragmatic, national interest-based China policy that, in John Howard’s words, set differences to one side and worked on the things we could agree on. Under Howard and earlier Labor Prime Ministers Australia told China that nothing in our alliance obligations would drive us into conflict with China. Other US allies implicitly take the same approach. But does China’s rise and America’s decline now make that too hard? Especially as the US appears to be embracing trade war and a Cold War against a China it now defines as strategic rival. Diplomacy provides the key to being a US ally and a partner of the Chinese, and that includes tough talk with China when necessary. It will also require saying “no” to US requests to recruit Australia to a strategy to curb China’s rise - something we do already - and in a context where we can no longer parrot “We don’t have to choose.”
More information on the lecture can be found on the event page.