Australia a "Middle Power"

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Re: Discussion - Reading: White (Australia a 'middle power?') by Susan Stone 8 September 2013, 6:08 PM
- What does it mean to claim that Australia is a ‘middle power’ (White 2011, 92)? What do you think about this idea? - What does White say are some of the barriers to maintaining ‘middle power’ status in the region?

An obvious point made is that to be a 'middle power' "In military terms, that means being able to impose enough costs and risk on the forces that a major power could deploy in our approaches to outweigh whatever benefit it was trying to gain" (White, 2001, pg 92). But aside from the military aspect, White also mentions that if we had have "tried to achieve anything serious internationally without the support of America" (White, 2001, pg92) we would have evidence supporting our claim to being a middle power. I think that to be a middle power, it is not solely based on military influence. Australia has a great economic and trade influence in Asia. Our major trading partners being Asia and India. Given Australia's strong economy, and the amount of rice and other exports we send to China, we are influential on the global scale. Not as a major, but as a middle power. As John Howard and Kevin Rudd saw an importance for, we have the potential to influence the major powers with which we are allied to (America) and who rely on us greatly in trading (China). As they both benefit from strong relations with Australia, they will be inclined to consider Australia's Government's opinion, and Australia's prosperity as it is linked directly to their own well-being.

Although Australia currently thinks of itself "as a middle power today" we have certain barriers that may take that status away from us. "American withdrawal from Asia" (White, 2001, pg90) would force "Australia to choose between our great ally and our economic future." This would jeopardise our alliance or our strategic independence, effectively taking away our 'middle power' status and making...
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