Wednesday 06 Oct 2021 | 19:19 | SYDNEY
Wednesday 06 Oct 2021 | 19:19 | SYDNEY


Fergus Hanson


23 November 2007 13:40

In a recent CFR analysis on Changing the Aussie Guard, Jayshree Bajoria writes:

...within its Asia-Pacific neighborhood, a Rudd Government might bring a change in tone. This could include a move away from the muscular diplomacy that led to an Australia-India defense agreement last summer. Australia has also deployed troops for peacekeeping in Papua New Guinea in 1998, to East Timor in 1999 and 2006, as well as a force in the Solomon Islands that aims to quell the violence that erupted after national elections in April 2006.

Whether a Rudd Government moves away from a more muscular diplomacy might in many cases be beyond its control. When Solomon Islands and East Timor collapsed, Howard had little choice but to act. A glance at the 2007 Failed States Index shows both of these neighbours ranked in the world’s top 30 failed states. That level of instability precludes withdrawing too many of Australia’s almost 1,000 ADF personnel and hundreds of Australian Federal Police any time soon.

Beyond our immediate region, while Rudd has committed to withdrawing some of Australia’s troops from Iraq, in the defence debate hosted at Lowy last week, Shadow Minister for Defence Joel Fitzgibbon flagged the possibility a Labor Government might even increase Australia’s presence in Afghanistan. A Rudd Labor Government might take a different approach to conducting Australia’s diplomacy, but it would appear we shouldn’t expect too much change to Howard’s reliance on our military and policing capabilities.

Photo of Chinatown, Honiara by Flickr user d-online, using a Creative Commons licence.