This paper aims to briefly discuss the foreign policy implications of Howard’s quick response to revoke the ANZUS treaty after 9/11 terrorist attack and the election of the Rudd government. With the new government, Australia will position itself to balance the pursuit of its national interests, its continued alliance with the US, and its partnership with Asia and the United Nations to make a positive difference. Australia’s Identity in the International Perspective Introduction
This paper aims to briefly discuss the implications of Howard’s quick response to revoke the ANZUS treaty after 9/11 terrorists attack, and the election of the Rudd government, in shaping Australia’s identify in the global and regional arenas. Political Events ANZUS Treaty After 9/11 The Australia, New Zealand and United States (ANZUS) Treaty of 1951 binds these three countries to recognize that an armed attack on any of them would be construed as an attack to all (Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs [BEAPA], 2008).
However, the US suspended its contribution to New Zealand after the latter refused to allow US nuclear-armed or nuclear-powered ships to enter its ports in 1985 (BEAPA, 2008). In response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the United States, the Australian Federal Government has consolidated its security alliance with the US by invoking the 50-year old treaty on September 14, 2001, such that the Article IV of the ANZUS Treaty applies to the said terrorist attacks (AustralianPolitics. com, 2001).
With bipartisan support, the ANZUS treaty remains the keystone of Australia’s foreign policy on defense. Australia participated in the Operation Enduring Freedom (US military response to the 9/11 attack), Operation Iraqi Freedom, and training of security forces and reconstruction of Iraq. It redeployed forces to Afghanistan to help secure the country’s 2005 elections. Furthermore, Australia will augment its defense budget to purchase military aircrafts, and increase army and personnel (BEAPA, 2008). Election of the Rudd Government
In the 2007 election, Kevin Rudd of the Australian labor party won over John Howard of the Liberal/National coalition. Although his campaign focused more on domestic issues, particularly industrial relations, he made commitments on addressing climate change and the gradual withdrawal of Australia’s combat troops from Iraq (Bateman, 2007). Australia signed the Kyoto Protocol on combating global warming and limiting greenhouse gas emissions (AustralianPolitics. com, 2007). This first official act underlies Australia’s new focus on protecting the environment.
However, this will isolate the US as the only industrialized country not supportive of the Kyoto protocol. This might as well rile the alliance since Australia stood alongside with the US, for many years, to withhold support for the Kyoto pact. The Rudd government will negotiate with the US on the phased withdrawal of Australia’s combat forces from Iraq in 2008, but will leave support forces in place. Meanwhile, the Rudd government has pledged to maintain Australian troops in Afghanistan.
Conclusions These two policy actions may indicate changes in the foreign policy resulting from the change of government. But the Rudd’s government affirmation of the importance of the ANZUS alliance in the region indicates Australia’s belief of the treaty as the foundation of the long-standing alliance with the US, in coordinating policies, optimizing regional prosperity and security, and complementing US alliances with Japan, Korea, China and other Asian countries (Ayson, 2007, pp. 1-2).
In his first foreign policy speech in March 2008, Rudd emphasized Australia’s position of a “creative middle power diplomat” to engage globally and regionally to effectively pursue its national interests and be active in international policies where Australia can “make a positive difference” (Maiden, 2008). This means continued alliance with the US; and acting in partnership with Asia (APEC, ASEAN Regional Forum and East Asia Summit) and the United Nations as regards challenges on climate change, millennium development goals, and nuclear weapons proliferation.