Australia's Regional & Global Links: Defence Essay

Since its discovery in 1770 and its colinisation in 1788, Australia has always had strong international ties with countries of great influence and power, especially with great britain as it was colonised by the british. It was towards the end of the second world war that we saw a shift in alliance; from Great Britain to The United States of America. In 1942 Japan was making its way down through Asia taking over small countries throughout it.

Four days after the fall of Singapore, and the fall of the british fortress an attack was launched and Darwin was bombed by over 180 Japanese aircraft. Australia turned to its last resort, the US, for support. Austalia made a valuable ally to the US for its geographical position in south Asia, the perfect place to launch its attack on the japanese. The “line in the sand” was drawn in Papua New Guinea, in the legendary kokoda trail. After this battle, US-Australia ties have always been strong. The US. irst suggested a pact to Australia in the wake of the US-Japan Security Treaty and fears of Japanese rearmament. This was called ANZUS (Australia New Zealand United States) and was formed on the 1st of September 1951. The signatories agreed to maintain a consultative relationship for their collective security. In the 1980s New Zealand refused to let ships carrying nuclear weapons dock at its ports; the US, refusing to identify its nuclear-armed ships, suspended its treaty obligations to New Zealand in 1986, and the treaty has since been non-operative with reference to New Zealand.

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Over the years, australia has followed america into many battles including the Korean War, Vietnam War, Gulf War and both Iraq Wars; all without the invocation of ANZUS. The alliance has only been been invoked once, for the invasion of Afganistan. The strenghth of the relationship has fluctuated over the years however, it has never been stronger than in 2001 after the september 11 attacks in America. John Howard, the Prime Minister of the time, was George Bush’s biggest international supporter and supported him fully in the invasion of Afganistan.


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