Security Challenges
Volume 16, No.2 (2020)

A Plan B for Australia? Hard Truths and Political Realities in Canberra’s Strategic Policy Debate

When Coral Bell looked back at the attitudes and outlook of defence policymakers facing great change and uncertainty in Australia’s strategic landscape in the late 1960s and early 1970s she concluded that they were ‘Like a group of lost explorers marooned on an ice flow; the frozen surface was visibly breaking up all around them while they were insisting loudly that nothing really much was happening.’ At that time, Canberra was facing the reality of the British withdrawal ‘East of Suez’ and the announcement by Richard Nixon that henceforth Washington would look to regional allies to play a greater role in their own defence.

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