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The Prospects for Economic and Military Security in Australasia

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Australasia consists of the two modern western states, Australia and New Zealand, the many small and developing states of Oceania, and the 'internationalized' Antarctic continent. Relations between the states within the sub-region are generally good. The diversity within the sub-system combined with its relative geographic isolation has generated wide variations in definition of national security. Australia and New Zealand have regionally significant armed forces and robust economies. For those countries security is seen through the traditional realist lenses, although neither defines any immediate threat. In Oceania, however, security is defined by the Pacific island states almost without any concept of defense against a military threat. Rather, security involves preventing or mitigating the effects of economic vulnerability, resource and environmental degradation, and, to a lesser extent, ensuring national stability. Only New Caledonia and Bougainville are potential albeit unlikely sources of wider regional instability. Barring significant activity in those places, Australasia will not become a major factor in wider Asian security considerations.

Affiliations: 1: International Relations Programme, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand


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