IPAN calls for a public discussion on neutrality for Australia “in the face of continuing uncertainty towards the alliance and global rules-based order”.
Speaking at the invitation of the Independent and Peaceful Australia Network (IPAN), historian and author Peter Stanley agrees with recent calls that Australia should respond to global instability by developing a Plan B for our defence strategy.
“Peter Jennings and Paul Dibb of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI), have recently published articles (online) arguing that the uncertainty over Donald Trump’s policies obliges Australia to devise alternative strategies – but basically within the ANZUS alliance,” Stanley said.
“I’m glad ASPI is coming to this realisation (if belatedly), of the need for a strategic review. The ANZUS alliance has been problematic for Australia for some time. I think we need to discuss the option of neutrality for Australia – Australians should be talking about what they want, not simply accepting the alliance as a given,” said Stanley.
“Our current military strategy doesn’t prioritise the defence of Australia, but rather support for US strategy. We should instead focus on capability for the defence of Australia in case of attack, development of good relations with our neighbours and an increase in our soft power through a re-invigorated aid program,” he said. “Peter Jennings’ hope in relying on the US could take us in the wrong direction and contribute to an arms race in the region,” he continued.
“Australia has been like a child, hiding behind the skirts of the US, when there has been no guarantee that it would come to our aid in the event of a crisis for Australia, and that is even more evident today under Trump’s America. A re-evaluation of our defence strategy is long overdue,” he said.