Essay Australian Labor Vs. Defence Policy

1993 Words Sep 11th, 2016 8 Pages
There is a strong connection between theory and policy: the former inspires policy and the latter provides examples to theory (Jervis, 2004). Building upon this correlation, this paper analyses whether Australian Labor and Coalition approaches to Foreign and Defence policy are biased towards two main theories of International Relations: Realism and Liberalism. To this extent, it will be argued that the Labor Party tends to adopt a Liberal lens in Foreign and Defence policy, while the Coalition has a more Realist approach. However, as pointed out by Walt, theories are ‘casual explanations’ that ‘invariably simplify reality in order to render it comprehensible’ (Walt, 2005: 26). Indeed, although they provide a useful tool for understanding different paths to the same strategic objectives, theories only provide the overall framework within which exceptions are admissible. This essay will begin with a brief summary of Realism and Liberalism main points. Then, it will proceed by evaluating Labor and Coalition approaches to three aspects of Foreign and Defence policy: multilateralism versus bilateralism, Australian military capabilities and the new challenge of a strong and powerful China. Due to words limit, the analysis extends throughout a limited period that goes from 2000 to 2016.

IR Theories: Realism and Liberalism
According to Realism, states are the unique units of analysis and anarchy, defined as the absence of an overarching power that controls the…

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