Products – The Centre for Independent Studies

The Need for U.S.-Australia Leadership to Counter China across the Indo-Pacific

Erik M. Jacobs
25 March 2021 | PP36
The Need for U.S.-Australia Leadership to Counter China across the Indo-Pacific

China’s recent actions – its trade coercion against Australia, border clash with India, maritime harassment of Japan, and military expansionism in the South China Sea – have compelled the U.S. and Australia to leverage their decades-long defence alliance and intelligence ties to deepen existing relationships and build new partnerships in the face of an aggressive China bent on asserting itself across the Indo-Pacific.

This paper assesses different ways in which Canberra can work with Washington as part of a broader coalition of like-minded nations rightly concerned about what a future of economic coercion, maritime border disputes, and contested resource rights and shipping lanes may hold.

While Japan and India have moved closer to the U.S. and Australia – most recently through the reborn Quad – other potential regional partners such as Vietnam, Indonesia and Singapore are either hedging or approaching the changing security dynamics in a more deliberate fashion. There are opportunities to enhance cooperation with these nations, but progress will likely be incremental.

Neither the U.S. nor Australia can allow themselves or their partners to become supplicants of Beijing, and greater bilateral coordination in conjunction with a broader approach in the region will be essential to countering China’s aggression and securing the future of a free and open Indo-Pacific.

Latest Publications

Resisting China’s Economic Coercion: Why America should support Australia
Alan Dupont
08 April 2021 | PP38

China’s unprecedented trade campaign against Australia is a case study in economic coercion for geopolitical purposes. Its aim is twofold: to bend Canberra to Beijing’s will and to decouple it from the US alliance system. Australia has withstood such pressure to date, but needs American support. This paper argues that the Biden Administration should lead in helping Australia and other…

READ MORE
Australians’ Attitudes to Social Media: Connection or Curse?
Monica Wilkie
29 March 2021 | PP37

Social media appears in the news cycle, almost daily, and the majority of the coverage is negative. Politicians from all sides, and bureaucratic agencies have been warning about the apparent danger social media pose to journalism, democracy, business, and civil society. But Australians are far more optimistic about social media than the alarmist narrative. The CIS commissioned YouGov to poll…

READ MORE
The Looming Iceberg: Australia’s post-pandemic debt risk
Robert Carling
28 January 2021 | PP35

After many years with low public debt, Australia is seeing a much higher debt burden as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. In the years ahead, according to recent budget estimates, it will reach close to $2 trillion in aggregate at the Commonwealth and state/territory levels of government. This poses a risk to economic growth in the longer term and…

READ MORE
Worlds Apart: Remote Indigenous disadvantage in the context of wider Australia
Jacinta Nampijinpa Price
25 January 2021 | PP34

Remote and very remote Indigenous communities have become victims of a ‘wicked problem’. A combination of high impact factors that, when pooled together, are having devastating effects on communities. Education and employment rates in remote and very remote Indigenous communities put them on par with countries such Afghanistan, a nation devastated by over 19 years of war. Poor health outcomes…

READ MORE
Planning restrictions harm housing affordability
Peter Tulip
03 December 2020 | PP33

Planning restrictions reduce the supply of housing and hence raise its price.  This paper summarises recent research on this topic, focussing on Australia’s largest cities. The severity of planning regulations can be gauged by the difference between sale prices and the costs of supply.  This wedge represents what people would pay for the legal right to provide extra dwellings at…

READ MORE