U.S.-Australia Alliance Never More Important, Gates, Clinton Write

MELBOURNE, Aus­tralia, Nov. 8, 2010 — Asia’s secu­ri­ty envi­ron­ment presents a new and com­plex mix of chal­lenges that make the U.S.-Australia alliance as crit­i­cal today as any time in its his­to­ry, Defense Sec­re­tary Robert M. Gates and Sec­re­tary of State Hillary Rod­ham Clin­ton wrote in a joint­ly by-lined opin­ion arti­cle pub­lished in an Aus­tralian news­pa­per today.

“The diplo­mat­ic, mil­i­tary, and eco­nom­ic ties between our two coun­tries have nev­er been more impor­tant – to the secu­ri­ty and well-being not just of our own cit­i­zens, but region­al­ly and glob­al­ly as well,” they wrote in the Syd­ney Morn­ing Her­ald in advance of the 25th anniver­sary Aus­tralia-Unit­ed States Min­is­te­r­i­al Con­sul­ta­tions here.

Dur­ing the Nov. 8 sum­mit, Gates, Clin­ton and Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chair­man of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, will meet with their Aus­tralian hosts, For­eign Min­is­ter Kevin Rudd and Defense Min­is­ter Stephen Smith, to chart the way for­ward for their long­stand­ing alliance as it works to shape a more sta­ble, pros­per­ous region in light of cur­rent and emerg­ing threats and chal­lenges.

“Today’s secu­ri­ty envi­ron­ment in Asia presents a new and com­plex mix of secu­ri­ty chal­lenges: the emer­gence of ris­ing pow­ers; the pro­lif­er­a­tion of dan­ger­ous weapons and mate­ri­als; the age-old scourge of pira­cy; and the threat of vio­lent extrem­ism,” the sec­re­taries wrote.

“As a Pacif­ic nation, the Unit­ed States is com­mit­ted to meet­ing these chal­lenges and defend­ing our inter­ests in Asia,” they con­tin­ued. “Much as it has for the past cen­tu­ry, America’s future will con­tin­ue to be tied to Asia’s suc­cess.”

This, they explained, is why the Unit­ed States is strength­en­ing its defense pres­ence and pos­ture in the Pacif­ic, includ­ing mod­ern­iz­ing base arrange­ments and air, naval and mis­sile defense capa­bil­i­ties. At the same time, the Unit­ed States is for­ward-deploy­ing oth­er ele­ments of its nation­al pow­er: diplo­mats and devel­op­ment experts who are work­ing through­out the region to bol­ster rela­tion­ships key to long-term secu­ri­ty.

Gates and Clin­ton not­ed the chal­lenges the Unit­ed States and Aus­tralia share beyond their imme­di­ate hori­zons, in Afghanistan. They praised Aus­tralia which “is once more punch­ing well above its weight” as the largest non-NATO con­trib­u­tor of com­bat troops, with the lead role in help­ing the Afghan army and police in Uruz­gan province build capac­i­ty.

“We rec­og­nize, as do our allies and part­ners, that the road ahead in Afghanistan will not be easy – or short,” the sec­re­taries said.

They not­ed with agree­ment Aus­tralian Prime Min­is­ter Julia Gillard’s recent state­ment that even after the Afghan gov­ern­ment starts tak­ing the secu­ri­ty lead for some provinces next sum­mer, the inter­na­tion­al com­mu­ni­ty will remain engaged in Afghanistan for years to come to com­bat vio­lent extrem­ist net­works, strength­en the rule of law, and pro­mote eco­nom­ic devel­op­ment.

“This com­mit­ment is essen­tial to ensure that Afghanistan does not again become a safe haven for vio­lent extrem­ists of glob­al reach,” Gates and Clin­ton wrote.

Mean­while, the sec­re­taries not­ed that the U.S.-Australian alliance con­tin­ues to adapt to bet­ter address age-old chal­lenges and con­front new ones – a sub­ject to be addressed dur­ing the sum­mit.

Gates and Clin­ton not­ed improved col­lab­o­ra­tion in coun­ter­pira­cy, cyber­se­cu­ri­ty and dis­as­ter response, among oth­er areas. Today, they and their Aus­tralian hosts will sign a new Space Sit­u­a­tion­al Aware­ness Part­ner­ship State­ment of Prin­ci­ples that will pro­mote clos­er coop­er­a­tion on intel­li­gence, sur­veil­lance and recon­nais­sance.

“The U.S. mil­i­tary part­ner­ship with Aus­tralia will con­tin­ue to play a vital role, defend­ing against cur­rent threats while also prepar­ing for those on or beyond the hori­zon,” the sec­re­taries wrote.

But the impor­tance of the alliance, they said, extends beyond mil­i­tary pow­er. It includes all ele­ments of nation­al pow­er and inter­na­tion­al coop­er­a­tion need­ed to fos­ter a sta­ble, pros­per­ous region gov­erned by inter­na­tion­al norms and rule of law, they not­ed.

Gates and Clin­ton empha­sized the need to work mul­ti­lat­er­al­ly as well as bilat­er­al­ly, build­ing part­ners through­out the region and help­ing enhance their capa­bil­i­ties so they can work col­lec­tive­ly to tack­le region­al chal­lenges.

The sec­re­taries called the min­is­te­r­i­al an oppor­tu­ni­ty to reflect on the alliance’s strength and resilien­cy through its his­to­ry and to help shape it for what’s ahead.

“Draw­ing wis­dom and inspi­ra­tion from what we have achieved togeth­er, the U.S. and Aus­tralia stand ready to con­front the chal­lenges of this new cen­tu­ry, just as we over­come the threats and obsta­cles of the last,” they wrote.

Source:
U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs)

More news and arti­cles can be found on Face­book and Twit­ter.

Fol­low GlobalDefence.net on Face­book and/or on Twit­ter

Team GlobDef

Team GlobDef

Seit 2001 ist GlobalDefence.net im Internet unterwegs, um mit eigenen Analysen, interessanten Kooperationen und umfassenden Informationen für einen spannenden Überblick der Weltlage zu sorgen. GlobalDefenc.net war dabei die erste deutschsprachige Internetseite, die mit dem Schwerpunkt Sicherheitspolitik außerhalb von Hochschulen oder Instituten aufgetreten ist.

Alle Beiträge ansehen von Team GlobDef →