Australian Foreign Policy: Australia’s Foreign Wars
In the period since Federation, Australia has engaged in the Boer War, two World Wars, the Korean War, the Malayan Emergency, Confrontation with Indonesia, the Vietnam War, two wars against Iraq, and one in Afghanistan – a quite formidable list given the relatively short period of just over 112 years since Federation:
What is the evidence for, or against, the proposition that valuable lessons have been learned from these experiences?
-The task will be to provide an essay of 1,500 words that answers the question about the key ideas from the course.
-In this assignment you are not bound by the evidentiary requirements of the normal essay in so far as providing abstracts and bibliographies, and citing sources, authors, etc., in footnotes (except when using a direct quote, or referring to data that might not be commonly known).
-The exam is not a research task – the purpose is to demonstrate your understanding of the themes of this course and link it back to the essay question.
-The question is a vehicle for you to demonstrate that you understand the key concepts that you use in your answers and that you can apply those concepts to a specific issue.
-You will need to do this by reflecting on the core themes that have been prevalent across Australian Foreign Policy: Australia’s Foreign Wars, and using them in the context of this question.
-It is not sufficient to answer the question in a way that does not utilize these themes and concepts.
-Do not write a narrative/descriptive essay. This essay needs to have underlying arguments, needs to have reasoning or evidence to back up the arguments, this essay needs to demonstrate a strong level of analysis.
Themes of Australian Foreign Policy: Australia’s Foreign Wars:
*The real purpose of these themes is to help ‘unpack’ the question. *
-National (territory, economic, social, people) Interests.
• Do these national interests change? High degree of autonomy & activism.
• Are national interests objective or subjective?
• 2009 and 2013 Defense White Paper, role of China, has there been an objective difference towards China?
• What wars Australia went into, the alliances Australia has, how Australia operate on an International stage?
• Security and insecurity is a major driver in Australian Foreign Policy.
-Alliance & Wars.
• Has the alliances increased security; has the Wars fought increased security?
• How has these increased Australia’s security?
• Australia’s ‘Great & Powerful friend’
• How has threats shaped Australia’s Foreign Policy?
• Threat perception as distinct from real threats
• How has threats fit into Australian Foreign Policy over the last century?
• How Australia see her place in the World?
• How does Australia see other states?
• How does Australia see the relationship with other states i.e. Asia?
-Decision making / Policy development
• Issues of accountability, e.g. Iraq War
• New emerging threats, threats towards Australia might be cyber terrorism, cyber war etc.
• National security environment has grown in the last couple of decade
• Where decisions are made, can we isolate specific development how rational and how well informed
• Does Australia have a history of making good decision?
• How well is Australia archiving national objectives?
• Cost-benefits of ANZUS treaty.
-Future / Asia
• How does Asia fit in?
• Considering the Asian Century White Paper
• Australia’s economic growth is in Asia
-Foreign vs. Defense Policy
This course proceeds from both the assumption and
presumption that the decision by a government to engage in foreign war –
to order its military forces to fight, to kill, and maybe to die – is the most
serious that a government can take. Inter alia, it embodies concepts of
identity, otherness, enemy, threat, punishment, vengeance, morality, selfimage,
international law, justice, sacrifice and tolerance. It therefore goes
to the heart of the state in question and presents an occasion for
examining its understandings and practices of international politics.
To this end, Australia’s international history in the twentieth, and
twenty-first centuries, which is frequently marked by decisions to wage war
of one type or another, will be examined in terms of the implications it has
for, and the insights it gives into the country’s role as a political actor.
Accordingly the focus will be on Australian policy with respect to major
conflicts – the First World War, Second World War, the Vietnam War, the
Gulf War of 1990-91, the war in Afghanistan following 9/11, the war in Iraq
since 2003, and what has become known as the Global War on Terror.
Finally, within this course’s overall perspective, particular attention will be
paid to both Australia’s system of alliances, and its concepts of peace – in
which name, presumably, the former are established, and ultimately, the
wars were fought.
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