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Australian Foreign Policy


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Table of Contents

Introduction 1. How Do We Explain Australian Foreign Policy? 2. Australian Strategic Culture as Theory 3. The Making of the Unbreakable Alliance with the United States 4. Alignment with the US in the 21st Century 5. Background to China as a Threat and Trading Partner 6. China as a Strategic Competitor in the 21st Century 7. The Evolution of Japan from Threat to Trading Partner 8. Japan as a ‘Special’ Strategic Partner in the 21st Century 9. The Fractured History of Diplomacy with Indonesia 10. Indonesia's Proximity and the Unrealisable Potential of Dissimilar Neighbours 11. The Legacy of Colonialism in Australia's Relations with the Diverse South Pacific Region 12. Australia’s ‘Hegemonic’ Credentials in the South Pacific Under Challenge in the 21st Century 13. The Politicisation of Official Development Assistance (ODA) as a Foreign Policy Tool 14. Realism and the Limits of Climate Securitisation in Australian Foreign Policy 15. Asylum Seekers as a Threat to Australian Sovereignty: Buttressing Realism and the Intergenerational Appeal of Strategic Culture 16. Overview and Conclusion

Promotional Information

Using a strategic culture framework, covers changes and continuities in Australia's unique foreign policy approach, and the messy reality of foreign policy decision-making.

About the Author

Dr Michael O’Keefe is Senior Lecturer in Politics and Director of the Master of International Relations at La Trobe University, Australia.


The comprehensive interpretation of Australian foreign policy makes this book one of the finest accounts of the subject to have appeared in a long time. It will be an invaluable resource for students, lecturers, policy analysts and media commentators focusing on Australian foreign policy.
*University of Melbourne, Australia*

This richly documented study goes beyond realism and liberalism to explain how strategic culture has shaped Australian foreign policy, and now challenges those who seek new directions for the nation.
*Macquarie University, Australia*

This book reveals a surprising degree of continuity in how Australia has engaged internationally. O’Keefe’s passion for enriching our understanding and analysis of Australian foreign policy permeates this book—a desire matched only by the contemporary need for such analyses given the rapidly changing geopolitical environment.
*Australian National University, Australia*

O’Keefe skilfully highlights Australia’s distinctive strategic culture as a critical driver of its foreign policy. This well-structured, pragmatic analysis offers significant insight for students keen on understanding the practicalities of foreign policy making – an invaluable addition to any bookshelf.
*Bond University, Australia*

Building on the concept of strategic culture, this book provides a much-needed, theoretically informed and empirically rich analysis of contemporary Australian foreign policy.
*University of Queensland, Australia*

Australian Foreign Policy provides an accessible and essential primer for students of Australia's foreign relations, challenging us to think more critically about the significant events, relationships and ideas that shape Australia's future.
*Deakin University, Australia*

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