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Title: Australia as a rising middle power
Authors: Davis, Malcolm
Keywords: Social sciences::Political science
Issue Date: 2020
Publisher: Nanyang Technological University
Source: Davis, M. (2020). Australia as a rising middle power. (RSIS Working Paper. 328). RSIS Commentaries. Singapore: Nanyang Technological University.
Series/Report no.: RSIS Working Papers, 328-20
Abstract: This paper examines the key drivers shaping Australia’s role as a middle power in an era of intensifying US-China strategic competition. These drivers include the influence of strategic geography; its historical legacy in international affairs; the impact of its economic relationships with states in the Indo-Pacific region; the changing demands of defence policy, including the potential offered by rapid technological change; and, the impact of climate change, resource constraints and demographic factors. The paper considers three possible scenarios that will shape Australia’s middle power policy choices – a US-China strategic equilibrium; a “China crash” scenario that promotes a more nationalist and assertive Chinese foreign policy; and a third “major power conflict” scenario where competition extends into military conflict. The paper concludes that Australia cannot maintain a delicate balance between its strategic alliance with the US and trading relationship with China. It argues there is a need for Australia to adopt a deeper strategic alliance with the US while promoting closer ties with its partners in the Indo-Pacific and supporting the growth of a Free and Open Indo-Pacific region to counterbalance growing Chinese power. Australia needs to embrace an Indo-Pacific step up, and as a middle power, reduce the prospect of a Sino-centric regional order emerging.
Rights: Nanyang Technological University
Fulltext Permission: open
Fulltext Availability: With Fulltext
Appears in Collections:RSIS Working Papers

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