BLUF

The recently declassified (Jan 2021) US policy document on the Indo-Pacific shows the importance that the US attaches to the views of Australia, Japan and India.

Summary

The US Government has declassified—thirty years earlier than required—its 2018 strategic framework for the Indo-Pacific. Interestingly this document shows that the US does not regard Australia as 'America's Deputy Sheriff'. Instead, Australia appears to have had considerable influence in shaping America's Indo Pacific Strategy. Possibly this resulted in the US recognising the importance of the Quad. However, other parts of the strategy have been undermined by a lack of funding and lack of support from President Trump. Release of this document shows that the US is trying to achieve policy continuity into the Biden Administration by stressing the following:
  • South Korea, New Zealand and Taiwan are important. 
  • The US should regard Australia as the leading power in the Southwest Pacific. 
  • Regional allies need to coordinate information operations, advanced technology, and infrastructure investment. 
Read the article and then think about how the release of this document benefits Australia.