Australia’s China Dance

Australians recently remembered the September 11, 2001 attacks on NYC and Washington with solemnity, respect, and reflection. Responding as they did to this day of infamy undoubtedly further strengthened and reaffirmed the US-Australia alliance. Yet this year marks not only a decade since 9/11, but also the 60th anniversary of the alliance since the ANZUS Treaty (Australia, New Zealand, and United States) was signed in 1951. Following the 9/11 services, it was announced that US President Barack Obama is scheduled to visit Australia from November 16 to 17, in part to commemorate the ANZUS milestone. Will Obama find a changed Australia? This is the ‘new view’ emerging in Australian strategic circles. China is Australia’s largest trading partner, and in response this view argues that Australia must ‘choose’ a strategic future informed by the supposed power shift from Washington to Beijing. Yet the alliance with the US is unlikely to fracture, even with a more influential and powerful China. Supporters of the ‘new view’ misunderstand Australian identity and engagement with the region post-1945 (…..) The new view on China fails to understand the profound impact multiculturalism has had on Australian society and identity. Contemporary Australia is by definition ethnically diverse. Filial ties extend across Asia to Europe, the Pacific Islands, New Zealand, South Africa, the Middle East, and Africa. As in the United States and New Zealand, these ethnic groups have political lobbyists, constituencies, concerns, and political influence. This multiculturalism also reaffirms and strengthens support for New Zealand and the United States. Importantly, Australia remains a constitutional monarchy, with enduring affection for the British Queen and her successors. Despite several attempts, political elites have failed to sever symbolic ties with the Crown, the most recent being in 1999 (…..)

Link: http://the-diplomat.com/2011/09/28/australia%e2%80%99s-china-dance/

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