The Emerging Global Conflict: Australia’s Strategic Challenge

Russia’s protracted conflict in Ukraine is evolving into a broader, globally impactful struggle, with implications for the international order. Historically, dominant powers have shaped geopolitics, and the current multipolar world reflects this legacy despite the post-WWII dominance of the United States. Today, rising powers challenge this US-led order through “grey zone” warfare and alternative economic and strategic alliances.

China and Russia, leading this pushback, aim to alter the global status quo. China, driven by historical grievances, and Russia, entangled in Ukraine and supported by BRICS nations, seek to undermine US hegemony. The US, meanwhile, faces declining influence and internal challenges.

Hal Brands from Johns Hopkins University highlights this new “world war,” where alliances, including China, Iran, and North Korea, support Russia against Ukraine, framing it as a global conflict. Russia benefits from this network, receiving vital military and economic support. Conversely, the West’s unity in aiding Ukraine has galvanized opposing alliances, further intensifying global tensions.

This evolving landscape suggests a strategic shift, with nations like Australia needing to adapt. Australia must recognize the Indo-Pacific’s growing importance and build domestic resilience through “homeland economics” to navigate this multipolar world.

Australia faces a choice: remain a secondary power or embrace a more prominent, independent role amid great power competition. Policymakers must urgently address these challenges and opportunities to secure Australia’s future in this new global order.

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One comment

  • Ken.T. May 17, 2024   Reply →

    I don’t think that the current Government and the other hangers-on in the opposition have the stamina or motivation to build a meaningful defence system in this country. They are (both sides) more concerned about the sun and the moon and how it is affecting the nature of things. Climate change and so-called Clean Power. The two major Political Parties are now under the control of the Socialist Left and they see China as the Big Saviour of the World. One only has to watch the current P.M,’s eyes when that China man’s name is mentioned. They glaze over with the look of a love-sick puppy.

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