Australia and the East Timore crisis: Some critical comments

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    In this article I want to argue that the tragic events of September 1999 in East Timor resulted in part from severe miscalculations in the Australian foreign policy process, and require a fundamental reappraisal of how Australian foreign policy is shaped. Given the triumphalism accompanying the return of INTERFET, one would have to be an optimist to expect such a reappraisal. Too many key actors have too much to hide. However, if we ignore the lessons of this episode, we can expect to make similar mistakes in the future. The following remarks are divided into four sections. First, I examine the dimensions of the foreign policy disaster in East Timor. Second, I appraise some of the arguments advanced by Australian Government spokesmen in defence of Australia's policy actions. Third, I discuss the litany of errors which marked the evolution of Australia's East Timor policy in the months before the August 1999 consultation and finally, I offer some brief conclusions
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)151-161
    JournalAustralian Journal of International Affairs
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2000


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