Security Challenges
Volume 15, No.1 (2019)

Shaping Australian Foreign Policy in the 21st Century - Thoughts on a Reflective Framework of Analysis

In the twentieth century, foreign policies of nations have rarely evolved gradually, let alone smoothly. In fact, the present international system is more a product of shocks than design. Whereas these shocks were somewhat spread out over the previous century, the present century can claim to be more eventful than its immediate predecessor, judging by the variety and magnitude of shocks it has experienced in the first two decades. The significance of these events, the underlying trends they indicate, and the multi-level challenges they pose to Australia have been described as a state of “accelerated warfare” by the Chief of the Australian Army in his 2019 Strategic Guidance. Like other countries, near and far, Australia has to prepare in order to cope with the combined and unfolding effects of such changes and adapt to an external environment through a foreign policy that connects the tactical with the strategic in a timely and efficient manner. The blueprint of Australia’s response can be found in the 2017 Foreign Policy White Paper.

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