Realist Optimist: Coral Bell's Contribution to Australian Foreign and Defence Policy

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


    In a collection of essays dedicated to the memory of TB Millar, Coral Bell described Millar as a scholar ‘never given to provincialism: he was very much a citizen of the larger Western world, deeply fascinated by the problems of the East-West balance during the Cold War years’.2 This description is one that perhaps applies even more aptly to Coral and her work. Her preoccupation was very much the diplomatic and strategic relations between the great powers of what Coral liked to term ‘the central balance’. Yet like Millar, a significant portion of her career was also spent advancing the study of Australian foreign and defence policy. As this chapter goes on to demonstrate, much of her work in this area addressed the interplay between the central balance and Australian policy. It did so by bringing a formidable grasp of history together with an enduring desire to decipher the contours of the emerging international political landscape. And despite her realist proclivities, Coral was also—by her own admission—very much the optimist regarding Australia’s prospects in that emerging landscape.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationPower and International Relations: Essays in Honour of Coral Bell
    Editors Desmond Ball and Sheryn Lee
    Place of PublicationCanberra
    PublisherANU Press
    ISBN (Print)9781925022124
    Publication statusPublished - 2014


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