Denis Bright continues discussion of three scenarios for the future of Australia’s international relations in 2051.
Scenario 2 is the steady state view of international relations. Incremental changes have occurred as the US shares its strategic influence with other responsible middle powers like Australia, China, India, Japan and Indonesia. The old Australia-US Alliance has been re-branded as the New Coalition of the Willing (New Coalition).
Once positive change is the formation of a unified and Unified Korea thanks to a pragmatic Five Power Agreement as the momentum towards armed conflict had to be avoided.
This is probably the most likely scenario on current trends in both Australian and US Politics if humanity survives the Trump Presidency. This possibility was reinforced in 2020 by the return of the US to its former role as bastion of mainstream modernism within contemporary globalization with opportunities for new power sharing.
Hopes for the militarization of the Indo Pacific on terms favourable to US strategic realists were certainly on the rise in 2017 as the Aircraft Carrier the USS Ronald Reagan headed off to Japan from its participation in the Talisman Sabre Exercises in Central Queensland and a goodwill trip to Brisbane.
The Twenty-Year War on Terrorism (2001-21) had ended favourably. Strong steady states across the Indo Pacific were eager to do more to stabilize the Indo-Pacific Hemisphere. Even China wanted to throw in its lot with the new shared hegemony. Its leadership was still basking in its role as co-facilitator of the neutralization of the Korean Peninsula.
With the strategic profile of the US reduced across the Indo-Pacific Hemisphere, the Australian electorate clung to Centre-right governments with their high market-led growth strategies and proactive foreign policies of working with new great and powerful friends.
Political instability was a recurrent challenge in Papua-New Guinea (PNG) and Melanesia. Freedom of migration remains an unresolved issue and a source of tension in these underdeveloped regions adjacent to Australia.
The Draft Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons did not receive endorsement from the nuclear weapons states.
Australia was now spending 5 per cent of its GDP on defence and working co-operatively with key regional strategic players from Israel to India, Japan and Indonesia.
Understandably, Australia was pleased to stay under the nuclear umbrella which was shared equitably to the most trustworthy members of the US Alliance.
High defence spending to control regional tensions and internal regional unrest was still an imperative right up to 2051. Australia’s centre-right republican leaders eulogize our manifest destiny across the Indo-Pacific Hemisphere.
Close to Australia, naval patrols are still active to control illegal migration in the fine traditions of John Howard.
Australia was also particularly active in assisting regional governments to control social unrest and the enforcement of a Pax Australiana with training programmes for military and police operations particularly in PNG.
Deployment of Australian troops to the region was an ongoing possibility and defence units always on stand-by for deployment in the Near North and across Melanesia.
Changes of government do occur very occasionally in the Australian Republic but bipartisan commitments are articles of faith for the media and the wider society.
Welcome to the Brave New World of predictable Steady States across the Indo-Pacific Hemisphere. May our republican force be with you in these peaceful waters of our strategic seas whose various entry points are carefully patrolled by the New Coalition.
Tomorrow … Scenario 3 in Indo Pacific Futures 2051: Reaching for Aquarius
Denis Bright (pictured) is a registered teacher and a member of the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA). Denis has recent postgraduate qualifications in journalism, public policy and international relations. He is interested in promoting discussion to evaluate pragmatic public policies that are compatible with contemporary globalization.