BLUF

The American withdrawal from Afghanistan, closely followed by AUSMIN talks, provides an excellent opportunity to strengthen Australia’s security through ANZUS.

Summary

  • ANZUS is now 70 years old.
  • Few alliances last this long.
  • Members "consult" and "act" if another party is attacked.
  • What sort of action is unclear.
  • ANZUS suits Australian and US national interests, not sentimentality.
  • Afghanistan shows self-help in defence is required of US partners.
  • For Australia, the alliance remains vital.
  • With Japan, we need to sustain American engagement in the Indo-Pacific and dramatically improve our military.
  • The US ANZUS value proposition is having Australia lead stability in the Pacific island community and Timor-Leste and help shape Southeast Asian security, countering China.
  • Pine Gap, broad Asia–Pacific intelligence, on the ground, small, capable military forces, and Australia's geography make us useful to the US.
  • AUSMIN provides the opportunity to step up the alliance by:
  • Basing a Marine Air-Ground Task Force in Darwin.
  • Australia is encouraging a permanent US air force and navy presence in northern Australia through refitting bare bases.