"Australia's Regional Security" brings together 12 specialists in Australian foreign policy and regional affairs who critically review the new regional security agenda in the Asia-Pacific of the 1990s. As Australia considers its approach to regional security, there are few familiar landmarks to guide its policy. The end of the Cold War is not only transforming the political landscape in the region; it also poses a fundamental challenge to the principal assumptions that have governed the Australian approach to regional security for the past 40 years. In particular, the demise of the Soviet Union as a perceived threat creates a completely new security agenda for Australia's policy-makers. Is this new agenda to be seen as simply constituting a new set of potential threats and dangers, and possible alliances and arrangements, or does it pose a fundamental question about the framework itself - about how "regional security" is conceptualized in Australian policy? To what extent has Australia's recently developed, relatively self-reliant, defence capacity liberated Australia's regional security doctrine? To what extent can it now serve other foreign policy objectives?
The Australian government's response to such questions is contained in a ministerial statement on Australia's regional security, released in December 1989. The complete text of this original document is reproduced here. In it, the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Senator Gareth Evans, advocates new doctrines of "comprehensive engagement" with Southeast Asia and "constructive commitment" with the South Pacific. "Australia's Regional Security" aims to be a valuable source, for both students and specialists in international relations, strategic studies, security issues and Australian foreign policy. This book is intended for students and researchers in foreign policy and defence studies, as well as Asia-Pacific scholars.