In his first public speech since retiring in 2002, Australia's Admiral Chris Barrie, former Australian defence force chief, said that China's growing influence will force Australia to form stronger ties with Beijing over the next decades and likely distance itself from Australia's traditional ally the United States and the Anzus alliance.
Barrie noted that Australia's small population — it will be only 28 million in 2050 — would render it a “relatively insignificant country in the Asia Pacific region”.
Barrie further predicted that as Australia grows closer to China, Australians likely will feel “resentful and untrusting” of traditional alliances, including ANZUS (Australia-New Zealand-United States), leading to its possible fracture. One key tension that could destroy Anzus is the issue of Taiwan. .
He said, “And I can see a day when Australians will say to themselves, 'You know we've got to balance what we do with the United States with what we do with China'. It's not enough to say, all the way with the United States.”
The Stiftung would only note that the current hyper-militarization of American foreign policy overall, and across the Pacific Rim especially, (paralleled by our domestic society) will only strengthen the likelihood that Barrie's projection will come to pass. U.S. presence and influence in the region is sustainable over the long haul by our economic, cultural and diplomatic viability. Oh well.
Given this stunning erosion of our financial and economic position since 2001 — trillion dollar surpluses squandered — and nothing to show for it, how unrealistic is it to foresee both India and China begin playing the U.S. off each other as the 'Sick Man of the Pacific', albeit still armed to the teeth.
Sadly, the Administration has bet all our chips on black — force and coercion. Yet the game has changed. They have mortgaged our soft power assets heavily for their bet. And the table will only be red. We still have time to mitigate some of their recklessness, although alot of capital has been lost and can not be recouped.