Australian External Policy under Labor: Content, Process and the National Debate

By Henry S. Albinski | Go to book overview

5 External Policy: Diplomatic Dimensions: II

The preceding chapter examined some of the Labor government's broader concerns, such as regional co-operation in Asia and the Pacific, and colonialism and racialism. Our analysis of Australian diplomacy continues under a somewhat different format. Firstly, we will consider a few representative issue areas, both for their intrinsic interest and for their wider policy process and outcome implications. We will then bring into perspective Australia's approaches to and relations with communist nations, with the Asian region and such world bodies as the United Nations, and finally with the United States.

Issues relating to the Indo-Chinese region were a highlight of Labor's foreign policy and of domestic party politics. We suggested earlier how, before December 1972, Vietnam had become a point of acerbic partisan differences. When it came to office, Labor was persuaded that its own formulations had been proved right. Emotional as well as rational considerations affected the party. Involvement in the conflict had been a major miscalculation. Military reactions to complex socioeconomic problems were seen as having exacerbated rather than solved. The conflict in the region had been wasteful in blood and treasure. Western-supported régimes had shown themselves to be corrupt and lacking in popular base. These reactions stimulated a feeling that an ALP government could not be indifferent to developments in the region. Also evident were feelings that, on Indo-China as on other issues, it was desirable to demonstrate quickly, and firmly, the new government's independent turn of mind. Moreover, wider considerations were taken into account. Continuing warfare in the region meant unsettled conditions in Asia generally. There were dangers of renewed great-power friction and threats to the evolution of détente. Also Labor's objectives for Asia, such as an inclusive Asian-Pacific

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Australian External Policy under Labor: Content, Process and the National Debate
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • 1 - The Liberal Inheritance: I 1
  • Notes 25
  • 2 - The Liberal Inheritance: II 28
  • Notes 57
  • 3 - Australia and the International Scene 60
  • Notes 89
  • 4 - External Policy: Diplomatic Dimensions: I 92
  • Notes 120
  • 5 - External Policy: Diplomatic Dimensions: II 124
  • Notes 173
  • 6 - External Policy: Economic Dimensions 178
  • Notes 219
  • 7 - External Policy: Defence Dimensions 225
  • Notes 268
  • 8 - The External Policy Process 274
  • Notes 317
  • 9 - Electoral Politics and External Policy 321
  • Notes 352
  • Bibliography 355
  • Index 359
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