Lee Hamilton: Although distant, Australia is a key U.S. ally

Australia might not be the primary nation to come back to thoughts once we take into consideration essential U.S. allies. It’s on the far facet of the globe, an space of the world we regularly neglect. Its largest metropolis, Sydney, is a 22-hour flight from New York. Most Individuals have by no means traveled there.

However, in truth, Australia is essential to U.S. overseas coverage. It’s “a significant ally, companion and buddy,” within the phrases of the State Division, and a bulwark of freedom within the area. With shared democratic values and customary pursuits, we now have had diplomatic relations for 83 years.

The connection was on show final month when Prime Minister Anthony Albanese made a state go to to Washington, the Australian chief’s ninth and highest-profile assembly with President Joe Biden. The 2 leaders stated in a joint assertion that they had been inaugurating “a brand new period in U.S.-Australia strategic cooperation” targeted on protection, the economic system and local weather change.

As is typical with state visits, Albanese and his companion, Jodie Haydon, had been handled to pomp and pageantry, together with a red-carpet welcome on the White Home garden, a 19-gun salute, a lavish black-tie dinner, a army band efficiency and the ceremonial trade of presents. However there was substance to the go to as properly. Biden and Albanese superior plans to companion in house exploration, synthetic intelligence, utilized analysis and regional finance. They pledged to work collectively to scale back greenhouse fuel emissions and strengthen provide chains for important minerals, that are essential for clear vitality.

The U.S. and Australia have an ideal deal in widespread. We’re each nations formed by immigrants with language and tradition that present the affect of British settlement. We’re each giant and various international locations, demographically and geographically. We had been allies in World Struggle I and World Struggle II. Australian troops fought with American forces in Korea, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan.

We’re additionally essential buying and selling companions, with two-way overseas direct funding totaling $261.5 billion, in line with the State Division. U.S. commerce and funding contribute 7% of Australia’s annual economic system, and greater than 1,000 American firms make use of 320,000 Australians.

Arguably essentially the most important U.S.-Australian partnerships are targeted on protection and safety. Biden and Albanese didn’t point out China of their ready remarks, however they didn’t need to. From the American perspective, Australia is a important deterrent to China’s aggressive efforts to extend its affect within the Asia Pacific area.

The so-called AUKUS nations, Australia, the UK and america, are implementing plans to equip the Australian army with nuclear-powered, conventionally armed submarines and improve defense-related commerce. The leaders welcomed Japan’s participation in army workout routines with American forces.

The U.S., Australia, India and Japan make up the Quad, a safety dialogue that features a give attention to peaceable house exploration and sustainable vitality improvement.

The Biden-Albanese assembly got here amid heightened international tensions. Simply over two weeks earlier, Hamas launched a brutal assault on Israel, killing greater than 1,400 individuals and taking a whole lot of hostages. Israel responded with airstrikes and despatched troops into Gaza. Biden and Albanese strongly condemned Hamas and supported Israel’s proper to defend itself whereas cautioning towards civilian casualties and a wider conflict.

Ukraine, in the meantime, has saved up its resistance to Russia’s brutal invasion and pleaded for extra worldwide help, and Australia introduced it might present $13 million in army help for Ukraine. Within the South China Sea, Chinese language vessels reportedly rammed a Philippine coast guard ship, and a Chinese language fighter jet almost collided with an American bomber in a night-time maneuver.

These are sobering reminders that the world is a harmful place, and there are potential flashpoints on each hand. In such a world, we Individuals want buddies, and Australia is as strong and dependable an ally as we’re prone to discover. The connection deserves to be celebrated.

Lee Hamilton is a senior adviser for the Indiana College Heart on Consultant Authorities; a distinguished scholar on the IU Hamilton Lugar College of International and Worldwide Research; and a professor of observe on the IU O’Neill College of Public and Environmental Affairs. He was a member of the U.S. Home of Representatives for 34 years. Ship feedback to [email protected].


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