Asia & the Pacific Policy Studies

Australia’s role in the Pacific

By Malcolm Fraser

For all its history, Australia has been dependent upon a major power for security. Before federation, the colonies looked to Britain. That attitude continued until World War II. Britain was then unable to defend us, and Australia was vulnerable. Strategic dependence upon a major power was in the Australian psyche. A necessity forced us to transfer that sense of dependence to the United States. This was a justifiable policy until the fall of the Soviet Union. Now, changes in the United States itself, the absence of a global threat, and changes within the Pacific theatre all point to the need for Australia to abandon its traditional policies, to stand more independently, and to carve out a future for itself.


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