Australias International Alliances – time for a rethink?

japan-cherry-blossom

Australias International Alliances in the Understanding China series, 6 October 2015

In light of the free trade agreements recently published, we wanted to pose the questions, where does Australia tie itself? Where should it?

Clearly we need to examine the USA and China – as we have a foot in 2 camps. But what about …. Japan? In answering this lets look at China, US and consider Japan in a different way.

Japan

Japan is part of our region and Australia is historically more connected to Japan than China or America.

The cultural links with Japan are stronger than with China – as in the post war period we have relied on them. We have been more influenced by Japanese products and culture even though there aren’t that many Japanese residents in Australia.

As a people, Japanese are fiercely independent – and a competitor of China.

USA

Considering the US, a significant reason for our linkage is the perceived and actual Military Might of the USA. But realistically the Military is expensive for a country which is growing so slowly and so heavily indebted – ie really struggling. There are no doubts that Military Might needs to be supported by Financial Might – but in America it isn’t.

Is it time for a rethink ?

Anecdotally I hear more Australians questioning our Military presence in far away places. The reasons given are always about supporting America in case our time of need comes. But if the US can’t sustainably afford its Military, and it is one of the major reasons for our connection to America – why are we so aligned? ….. Isn’t it time for a rethink?

Australia should have a balance of trade to Japan and China – but of course this is a balancing act.

Currently we have a foot in the US camp and now one in the China camp. We believe it more appropriate to bind with China and Japan. In this we would achieve more balance and a more culturally equal society.

Japan is not out to Colonise any more. Australia has historically outsourced manufacturing to Japan who have knowledge and know-how. Australia could build significant partnerships with Japanese companies eg Ship Building.

Were we to re-build a Japanese relationship again, notwithstanding the war, we believe it would be more than acceptable to the Australian people …….can the same be said for China currently?

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