Security is an important factor to be considered by any serious leader who has the good of his/her citizens in mind. Australia is not exception, and it is important to note that Australian citizens also require good security to be able to carry out their daily chores without any threat or fear. This essay is going to narrow down to Australia’s international policies with regard to Britain and the United States and check whether these relations are truly primarily driven by the people’s security needs.
First of all, it is true to say that Australia’s international policies with regard to Britain and the United States is to some extent driven by its security needs. To support this statement, Australian former Minister for Foreign Affairs, Hon. Alexander Downer in one of his speeches in the year 2002 remarked that the relations with the United States and other countries such as Britain were aimed at fighting terrorism. He further remarked that the security challenges, which were facing them especially after the September 11th terrorist attack in the United States, were also affecting their economic worth, not forgetting the social policies.
On the same note, it is equally important to point out that Australia’s foreign policy is also aimed at securing and protecting their interests. These interests are not only of security but also of economic character. Moore (2002) in his article “Priorities in Australia’s Foreign Policy” says that it is important for Australia to be ready to offer military and moral help to United States as well as accepting its actions and policies. This, therefore, means that the relations between the United States, Britain, and Australia are not entirely driven by security needs but also common interests, which may include economic.
Moore (2002) further states that Australia’s collaboration with the United States is based on deterring other countries from issuing their territorial complaints against others. These are the likes of China; to the Australian government, it would be better to support the United States so as to cover up her past deeds than to see China win. This further underscores Australia’s international foreign policy with the United States as one that is driven by some other issues apart from security needs.
Some observers have remarked that Australia has been one of the forces behind the war on terrorism due to the support they have been giving the United States of America. Beeson (2007), thus, says that, “one of the most striking features of the ‘war on terror’ has been the support given to the U.S. by a number of key allies like Australia and Britain”. Australia, thus, appears to have a similar belief to that of Britain and the United States that insecurity is a threat to any country. This is the reason why Australia finds it easy to accommodate both Britain and the United States in its international foreign policy.
Australia, Britain, and the United States have relatively similar culture and traditions. This makes it easier for these countries to associate with each other (Beeson, 2007). Among the key reasons is to protect their interests, which incorporate not only security needs. These interests may involve culture, believes, and common understanding among the three nations apart from security. However, when, for instance, Australia faces any security threat, its allies can come to its rescue. It is true, though, that key among the reasons for Australia’s international relations policies with Britain and the United States is “the centrality of Asia-Pacific region to our security” (Department of Defense, 1997). Priority in these relations is given to security needs to ensure the citizens of these three nations are safe. It is a relation based on mutual interest. Mutual here means that it is the hope of Australia that the U.S. and Britain can help it pacify its region.
Australians view the economic growth in Asia, especially East Asia, as a factor affecting their country due to their physical location. They view this growth as a major challenge to their security, and thus, there is a need for the collaboration with Britain and the United States. They, therefore, relate with an aim of ensuring that economic and security needs of every part of the region are not at risk due to this growth. Therefore, Australia, the United States, and Britain have their wider Foreign policies that help each country keep its security abilities and actively participate in the regional activities. It can be, therefore, said that Australia aims at using its relationship with the United States and Britain to enhance its position in its geographical region by ensuring that as a country, it remains at the top of both the security and economy of the region.
One of the key reasons why the Australian government ties with the super powers is to ensure that it combats and prevents any armed aggression to their territory by the enemies of peace. According to the Australia’s strategic policy, the international relations policy is aimed at reducing the possibilities of any attack either directly or indirectly.
As mentioned earlier, one of the concerns of Australia is the competitions among “the region’s powers” (Department of Defense, 2007). It wants to ensure that these competitions do not turn too unhealthy to bring instability in the region. This is also driven by Australia’s fear that the region may be dominated by a country whose interests are contrary to those of Australia. This, therefore, explains why Australia finds it easier to relate with Britain and the United States; it expects to be helped to be in control of their region.
Australia’s aim is also to ensure that any other external powers do not influence some countries in the region by giving them military support which may be used by such countries to attack Australia. This explains why Australia, Britain, and the United States view countries like China as common enemies, and they monitor closely any country associating itself with China.
The United States and Britain are in the fore front in ensuring that they help prevent countries from engaging in manufacturing of dangerous weapons which may cause harm to human kind. Being aware of this, Australia finds it easier to associate with these like-minded countries to combat this practice.
The interests mentioned above are said to help Australia in advancing its policies, which are inclusive of sustaining the relationship between the United States and Britain. Australia clearly knows that without an alliance with other like-minded countries, driving forth its agendas may not be easy. Australia, in its turn, has been providing support to the United States for its participation in the area surrounding their territory (Walt, 2011).
In the recent past, Australia had been enjoying great dominance in the Asia-Pacific, and currently, this may not be guaranteed with the growth of other countries such as Indonesia. This makes them almost lose their grip of the region. It, therefore, explains the reason why Australia desperately needs the support of countries like the United States: it wants to ensure that it continues having the control it was initially enjoying in this region.
Australia is a country that is passionate about the environment. It is this policy which forces it to include Britain and the United States, the countries which are also passionate about the environment. This is because there are numerous disasters, which are normally caused by environmental degradation, that need to be addressed since they are sometimes dangerous for the human life. For example, the Tsunami which hit the United States had to be supported by the likes of Australia and Britain among other countries. Thus, it is not hundred percent correct to say that Australia’s international foreign policy with regard to Britain and the U.S. is entirely driven by the security needs (Korkchi & Rombaut, 2006).
Critics also say that the relationship between Australia and the United States, not forgetting Britain, appears to be parasitic, with the United States appearing to benefit more, especially because many other countries appear to be accepting to relate with America not only out of will but out of lack of another choice. If not have pledged allegiance to the United States, these countries appear to be looking for ways to do it due to “American military dominance and assertiveness …which will cause any state that is even thinking of challenging Washington to throw up its hands and jump on the American bandwagon” (Mearsheimer, 2002). These critics wonder how countries should continue to relate with the US, a country which appears not to respect other countries. In other words, the United States foreign policy is questionable, and Australia and any other country should remain warned to ensure that they do not fall into a trap of being controlled by another country in the name of foreign policy.
In conclusion, it can be asserted that Australia’s international foreign policies with regard to Britain and the United States are not entirely driven by people’s security needs but are also motivated by other factors. These factors include culture and traditions, political, economical, and political needs, not forgetting social factors.