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13 - Reassessed: Australia’s Relationship with the United States

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  04 May 2024

James Cotton
Affiliation:
University of Tasmania
John Ravenhill
Affiliation:
Australian National University, Canberra
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Summary

Australia’s relationships with the United States and the wider North American region were redefined in the era of intense international change following the Cold War and short-lived optimism about the so-called ’new world order’. The rise of the Asia-Pacific region as the dominant centre of global economic activities, along with the more fluid international environment that displaced the Cold War, reshaped the external policies and aspirations of both Australia and the United States. But these broad forces had very differential effects on the two states. Australia found increased political and economic latitude in the altered Asia-Pacific environment. In contrast, the United States adjusted uneasily to its declining status as the global hegemon, and found the promise of the post–Cold War world difficult to identify or manage. The long-dominant authority of the United States was compromised by the uncertainties of a more decentralised international environment. This change reduced Australia’s deference to its powerful Pacific ally, and permitted the Keating Government to exercise greater autonomy in pressing its separate interests abroad, especially in the economic arena.

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Australia in World Affairs 1991–1995
Seeking Asian Engagement
, pp. 150 - 166
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
First published in: 2024

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