Australia did not feature especially prominently during the early years of the Barack Obama Administration’s ‘pivot’ to Asia. Much of the focus of the administration’s energies during the period 2009-11 was on diplomatic re-engagement with Southeast Asia, arguably as a direct response to the perceived neglect of East Asian multilateralism that was seen to be a feature – and, indeed, a failing – of the preceding George W. Bush Administration. Canberra’s place as part of the pivot strategy did not become fully apparent until Obama’s ﬁrst visit to Australia as president in November 2011. Obama used this opportunity to begin putting some military ‘meat on the bones’ of the pivot strategy by announcing during this visit that up to 2,500 US Marines would be rotated through facilities in north Australia for approximately six months each year. This chapter tells the story of Australia’s place in the American pivot. It isdivided into three parts. The ﬁrst details the Obama visit of November 2011 and the strong expressions of Australian support that were apparent during his short stay and which were reinforced in three key policy documents launched by the Australian government during the 18 months after it: statements of support which, as the chapter demonstrates, obscured deeper strains beginning to emerge in Australia’s relationship with the United States. The second part details the Australian public debate that emerged duringthe same period and which supports the view that the Australian posture on the US pivot is indeed less uniﬁed in its support than oﬃcial pronouncements emanating from Canberra might initially suggest. Part three analyses Washington’s reaction to these developments, and contends that it, too, reveals strains in the US-Australian alliance which will require careful monitoring in the years ahead.
|Title of host publication
|The New US Strategy towards Asia: Adapting to the American Pivot
|William T. Tow and Douglas Stuart
|Place of Publication
|Abingdon and New York
|Routledge Taylor & Francis Group
|Published - 2015