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Howard's Long March

Howard's Long March: The Strategic Depiction of China in Howard Government Policy, 1996-2006 OPEN ACCESS

ROY CAMPBELL MCDOWALL
Volume: 172
Copyright Date: 2009
Published by: ANU Press
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt24h3pb
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  • Book Info
    Howard's Long March
    Book Description:

    Australia's strategic depiction of China has assumed increased importance as it attempts to harmonise economic interests (focusing on China) with security interests (primarily the United States). In this period of strategic transition, how Australia incorporates the rise of China into its existing security commitment under ANZUS has become a delicate issue. This investigation follows the intriguing evolution of the Howard Government's depictions of China, and reveals a complex and calculated strategy that successfully transformed a potentially volatile conflict of interests into a functional foreign policy.

    eISBN: 978-1-921536-45-8
    Subjects: Political Science
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Table of Contents

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  1. Introduction (pp. 1-6)

    With the electoral defeat of the Howard Government, it is timely to assess the Howard Government’s strategic depiction of China. The question of how to strategically depict China and its threat potential without arousing Chinese hostility or suspicion has been a taxing issue for successive Australian governments, including the Howard Government. During the past 30 years, as China’s place in the Australian economy has steadily grown, the issue of how to depict China has increased in importance and complexity. Today, China’s new status as Australia’s largest trade partner secures its importance in Australian strategic policy alongside the United States, Japan...

  2. Describing the Howard Government’s strategic depiction of China in 1996 is a complicated task because of two distinctly different factors at work within the Australia-China relationship, operating relatively independently of one another. On the one hand, the government was subject to a series of diplomatic disputes with China that saw the relationship sour to its lowest point in its 24-year history.¹ This compelled the government to depict China as a strategic problem. On the other hand, the government frequently cited its intent to engage and expand its ties with Asia more generally, and with China in particular. Thus China was...

  3. In contrast to 1996, the Howard Government’s strategic depiction of China throughout the period 1997–2002 is relatively uncomplicated. The government continued to depict China as an economic opportunity and strategic challenge simultaneously, although depictions of China as a strategic challenge were sparse. While the period is substantial in duration, a degree of consistency and coherence can be observed across it. The Australia-China relationship throughout this period is characterised by restoration and expansion and can be differentiated from 1996 for the remarkably positive mood of Australia-China relations throughout the period. Sensitivities in the relationship did surface on a number of...

  4. The Howard Government entered 2003 having presided over one of the most successful periods in the history of Australia-China relations. The period 1997–2002 observed a blooming trade relationship and the successful navigation of intermittent diplomatic disputes. The Howard Government depicted China as an economic partner and strategic interlocutor. Into this positive atmosphere the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT)’s second White Paper Advancing the National Interest was launched on 12 February 2003. It proved to be an extremely significant document, for coining one of the most debated phrases in Australia’s recent diplomatic history, ‘strategic economic partnership’, and indicating...

  5. Conclusion (pp. 47-58)

    As the 2005 US-China Economic and Security Review Commission’s report demonstrates, Australia’s depiction of China has an influence on regional strategy.¹ Studying the Howard Government’s depiction of China during the 1996-2006 period is important for gaining insight into how Australia may manage its dual interests of security (United States) and prosperity (China) in future. The Howard Government’s relatively successful management of this potentially volatile conflict of interest sets an important model to consider when deliberating Australian policy towards China. With the Rudd Government posturing towards innovation in its strategic depiction of China, it remains to be seen whether...