Australia has never encountered an Asian country as powerful as China is today, and we have no idea how to deal with it. We still assume that America will be there to manage China’s rise and save us from choices we’d prefer not to face. But that assumption is no longer credible, so Australia must prepare to deal with a powerful China without US support. And to do that we must first think more carefully about the nature of Chinese power and what it means for Australia. That means exploring how China’s economic weight translates into military, political and diplomatic power, understanding how China wants to use that power, considering how all this affects us, and deciding what we can do about it. And that implies a revolution in our foreign and strategic policies, which will not be comfortable. Indeed it is one of the biggest challenges we have ever faced as a country.
Hugh White is Professor of Strategic Studies at The Australian National University. He has worked on strategic, defence and foreign policy issues related to Australia since 1980. He has been an intelligence analyst with ONA, a journalist, a ministerial adviser to Kim Beazley and Bob Hawke, a senior official in the Defence Department, and was the first Director of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute. His recent journal articles include 'Power Shift: Australia’s Future between Washington and Beijing' published in September 2010, and 'The China Choice: Why America should share power', first published in 2012. In the 1970s he studied philosophy at Melbourne and Oxford Universities.
Reception at 5.30pm followed by the lecture at 6.00pm.
Photo credit: Jimmy Walsh