The US-Australia Cooperation and Its Implications



In his article ‘An ally for all the years to come’: why Australia is not a conflicted U.S. ally, Bisley (2013) argues that the partnership between the United States and Australia, which has existed for an impressive amount of time, provides for economic and political safety of the latter and, therefore, should be viewed as an entirely reasonable choice for Australia to make (p. 404). Bisley starts by stating that Australia has always been an integral part of the U.S. defense policy, yet the state seems to have been attempting to gain more independence since the beginning of the 21st century (p. 405).

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Brief Notes

The U.S. alliance, which Australia is a member of, entails both significant benefits and major disadvantages for the country. As far as the advantages are concerned, the alliance has always been providing the basis for the safety of the Australian population and the security of the state. In other words, the alliance supported Australia by shielding it from the political and economic issues, which it would have had to face independently otherwise (p. 405). The access to the military hardware and training, which the U.S. provided Australia, can also be interpreted as a major advantage. Finally, the alliance contributed to the promotion of technological development of Australia (p. 406).

However, the alliance also spurred a range of issues in Australia, including the fact that the United States was not enthusiastic about including Australia into the alliance, hence the exploitative basis for the relationships between U.S. and Australia. Moreover, the fact that the alliance disrupted the regional relations of Australia deserves to be mentioned.

Nevertheless, the alliance based on the cost-benefit approach received strong support in both governments. While it creates obstacles for the political relationships between Australia and other countries, it provides the former with political and economic safety. Therefore, the alliance is not to be disregarded by Australia in the process of making a strategic decision concerning further partnership with China and other foreign states.

Problems and Questions

Nick Bisley argues that the alliance, which the United States and Australia have formed, provides very strong support for Australia in terms of economy and political affairs, yet it is also quite binding when it comes to defining Australia’s relationships with other states. Seeing that Australia is planning to build stronger relations with China, the significance of the alliance becomes rather questionable.

Bisley’s article provides an insightful overview of the relations between the United States and Australia, allowing the readers to evaluate these relations from two key perspectives, i.e., the political and the economic ones. While admittedly having a better focus on the political implications of the alliance (Gilpin, 2011), Bisley still manages to get across the significance of the economic ties between the two states. The author’s line of reasoning is very convincing, and the significance of the alliance for Australia can hardly be doubted when viewed from the perspective that the author suggests (Camilleri, 2007).

It is quite remarkable that Bisley does not shy away from mentioning some of the negative aspects of the alliance as well. Apart from stressing the positive effects, such as the political security and economic growth (Dunleavy, 2014), the author also mentions that the alliance blocks Australia’s political independence and, thus, impairs its communication on an international level (Langmore, 2005). Thus, the discussion that Bisley invites becomes objective, and the results provided sound very credible.

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One could argue, though, that the author overlooks some of the significant aspects of the problem, including the sociocultural ones (Katzenstein, 2012). The fact that the cultures of Australia and the United States share a range of elements deserves to be brought up as a major factor in locating the role of the alliance and the support of the USA in the lives of Australians. Through a partnership with China that may provide alluring expectations, the possible culture clash, as opposed to the mutual understanding between the USA and Australia, clearly makes the idea of defying the alliance rather undesirable for Australia.

Reference List

Bisley, N. (2013). ‘An ally for all the years to come’: Why Australia is not a conflicted US ally. Australian Journal of International Affairs, 67(4), 403–418. Web.

Camilleri, J. A. (2007). Asia-Pacific geopolitics: Hegemony vs. human security. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar Publishing. Web.

Dunleavy, P. (2014). Democracy, bureaucracy and public choice: Economic approaches in political science. New York, NY: Routledge. Web.

Gilpin, R. (2011). Global political economy: Understanding the international economic order. Princeton, UK: Princeton University Press. Web.

Katzenstein, P. J. (2012). Anglo-America and its discontents: Civilizational identities beyond West and East. New York, NY: Routledge. Web.

Langmore, J. V. (2005). Dealing with America: The UN, the US and Australia. New South Wales, AU: UNSW Press. Web.

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"The US-Australia Cooperation and Its Implications." StudyCorgi, 27 Oct. 2020,

1. StudyCorgi. "The US-Australia Cooperation and Its Implications." October 27, 2020.


StudyCorgi. "The US-Australia Cooperation and Its Implications." October 27, 2020.


StudyCorgi. 2020. "The US-Australia Cooperation and Its Implications." October 27, 2020.


StudyCorgi. (2020) 'The US-Australia Cooperation and Its Implications'. 27 October.

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