Miller, Geoff: White Paper versus White’s paper: some questions about Australian policies

Geoff Miller

White Paper versus White’s paper: some questions about Australian policies‘, Pearls and Irritations, 23 January 2018

Former senior Australian diplomat compares the official government publication with the recent Quarterly Essay by Professor Hugh White. The former is essentially a status quo document while the latter recognises the realities of the rise of China and the retreat of the United States from the Pacific.

It is a fact [Miller concludes] that “change, unprecedented in its scale and pace, is the tenor of our times”, as the Prime Minister said in his Introduction to the White Paper. It’s also a fact that, as the Paper’s Overview states, “In the Indo-Pacific, the economic growth that has come with globalisation is in turn changing power balances”. It will be a great pity if, instead of accepting the reality of a changing situation, which it itself acknowledges, the Government locks itself into an almost certainly vain attempt to behave as if the pre-existing patterns need not change, and worse, eggs on the United States to resist them by force, in encounters in which, despite brave words,  we would only play a very small part.

Pearls and Irritations is a blog wrangled by former Australian senior public servant, John Menadue. Menadue is one of Honest History’s distinguished supporters.

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