US Studies Centre touts significance of US-Australian investment ties
4 July 2017
The US Studies Centre (USSC), a prominent think-tank at the University of Sydney, launched a major research project in April to highlight the economic ties and investment flows between the US and Australia. The project, to involve reports, “case studies” and public events, is being jointly sponsored by the USSC and the American Chamber of Commerce in Australia (AmCham).
Rather than a scholarly examination of indices and economic trends, the project is a profoundly political exercise. Its purpose is to send a clear message to the Australian political and business establishment that, despite its important trade ties with China, there can be no equivocation on the US military alliance as Washington accelerates its war plans against Beijing.
The project was launched in the context of ever-greater US demands that Australia play a frontline role in Washington’s preparations for military conflict with North Korea, and above all, China.
Australia has already been integrated into the massive US military build-up in the Asia-Pacific, formally announced by US President Barack Obama from the floor of the Australian parliament in 2011. The Labor government of Julia Gillard agreed to a new US Marine presence and expanded access to other bases in northern Australia as well as greater military “interoperability”—policies deepened by subsequent governments.
The Australian ruling class, however, confronts a fundamental dilemma between its strategic dependence on the US and its economic ties with China, now Australia’s largest trading partner. The tensions in ruling circles have been sharpened by worsening geo-political tensions in Asia and globally, compounded by the…