Security trumps prosperity. China, Australia, the US and the Asia-Pacific region. Many people think Canberra can still finesse the US-China dilemma and sit on the sidelines and enjoy the best of both worlds: unconstrained trade with China under the US security umbrella. Are those days over?
Has China’s persistent cyber-espionage, its growing intimidation of Hong Kong and Taiwan, its aggressive build-up of military outposts beyond its border in the South China Sea – has all this forced Australia into Washington’s anti-China coalition? How do we respond to Beijing’s threat to economically bully Australia?
Or are doubts about American staying power in Asia real? Why would a powerful China accept US-led military forces operating in its backyard? If Beijing tries to dominate Asia, are we confident that the Americans have our back? What are the risks involved in further antagonising our largest trade partner?