The successive Howard Governments sought not only to make foreign policy in response to new regional and global agendas, but to respond to and to seek to manage new forms of electoral challenge with new forms of nationalism. This has resulted in a set of important departures from the major Liberal tradition in international affairs, the claim to a realist approach to foreign policy, and has led to the need to manage the consequences of those departures. The boundary that realism sought to draw between the domestic and international politics, as the spheres of values and interests respectively, became increasingly blurred. In relations with the Asian region the expression of strong domestic (nationalist and internationalist) agendas led initially to distancing from Asian engagement. However, from 2002, a more realist-focused external policy led to new forms of state to state re-engagement in pursuit of national interests. In the commitment to military operations in Iraq, the Anzac legend is interpreted to supply nationalist legitimation which would not normally be required for wars fought for realist (i.e. defensive) reasons. A future Liberal prime minister would lack Howard's touch here. In the debate in the Liberal Party over defence doctrine, an attempt by the Defence Minister to reformulate the realist doctrine of Defence of Australia into an expeditionary construct was rejected.
Field of Research
210399 Historical Studies not elsewhere classified