Security Challenge
Volume 15, No.1 (2019)

Re-assessing Australia's Intra-alliance Bargaining Power in the Age of Trump

Strategic power shifts in the Indo-Pacific resulting from the rise of China, combined with the disarray provoked by the tempestuous policies of the Trump Administration towards its allies, have created complex challenges for Australian policy-makers in managing their alliance relations with the United States. To understand contemporary shifts in Canberra’s relative bargaining power position within the alliance over time this article conducts a net assessment through the employment of a specially designed framework taking the form of a ‘ledger’ that tallies Australia’s ‘assets’ against its ‘liabilities’. Through this exercise analysts can appraise how its advantages can be strengthened and weaknesses mitigated in dealing with Washington in future bargaining encounters. It also tangentially contributes to the International Relations (IR) literature of ‘intra-alliance politics’ by illustrating how allied ‘bargaining power indexes’ may be operationalised. through the empirical analysis conducted here.

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