Critical Review of 'Power Shift: Rethinking Australia’s Place in the Asian Century'

Topics: Asia, East Asia, Australia Pages: 4 (1140 words) Published: October 9, 2011
In his article Power shift: rethinking Australia’s place in the Asian century Hugh White intends to outline that China’s rise as a major economic and military power in East Asia will have to result in the Commonwealth’s revision of Australia’s strategic interests, followed by corresponding alterations of the nation’s foreign policies. He argues that Australia’s interests are most likely to be met in the future if the major East Asian powers can agree on a shared regional leadership to guarantee continued security and economic growth, an outcome Australia should actively seek to facilitate. Although the review shares the opinion that the Commonwealth should aim to act as a mediator between China and the United States, it notices that White fails to take economic interdependencies and the role of international institutional frameworks into account.

White states that American military supremacy and its strategic leadership in East Asia throughout the past 40 years guaranteed security in the region, which provided the ground for political and economic development, the latter especially in China. While Australia also profited from this secure environment, the author advises the Commonwealth to reconsider its strategic positioning in light of China’s increasing strive for economic and military power (White 2011, p. 83). He considers the possibility of a future Chinese economic backlash, but comes to the conclusion that continued growth of the nation’s economy is the more likely outcome, which will result in greater economic interdependency of other Asian countries to China and continued growth of the Asian nation’s military capabilities. Despite the growing ability of China to influence other regional nations, White highlights that China also depends on the stability of the region to proceed its economic growth and would face stark opposition by the other regional powers if it attempted to establish Chinese hegemony in Asia (White 2011, p. 85). The author is of the...

References: Cheeseman, G 1991, ‘From forward defence to self-reliance: changes and continuities in Australian defence policy 1965-90’, Australian Journal of Political Science, vol. 26, no. 3, pp. 429-445

Dalby, S 1996, ‘Continent adrift?: Dissident security discourse and the Australian geopolitical imagination’, Australian Journal of International Affairs, vol. 50, no. 1, pp. 59-75
Rudd, K 2011, Australian foreign policy and the Asia Pacific century, speech, accessed 12 September 2011, <>
White, H 2011, ‘Power shift: rethinking Australia’s place in the Asian century’, Australian Journal of International Affairs, vol. 65, no. 1, pp 81-93
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