ANZUS in Crisis: Alliance Management in International by Jacob Bercovitch

By Jacob Bercovitch

The problems all in favour of this booklet are complicated and visit the guts of ways alliances, the fundamental devices of the present constitution of overseas safety, should still functionality.

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Example text

Although a compromise, the Treaty that was negotiated in 1951 did codify, if in generalised form, a statement of aims and expectations regarding future security co-operation between the United States, Australia and New Zealand. In essence this comprised (Treaty articles II-V inclusive) undertakings to further self-help to develop the capacity to resist armed attack; co-operation to develop individual and joint military capacity; consultation where any party considered its own or another party's security threatened in the Pacific; and action in accordance with constitutional processes to meet an armed attack on any of the parties in the Pacific area.

How much influence should each exercise? The conventional wisdom is that alliance influence reflects the distribution of capabilities among its numbers. Those who contribute the most have the most say in an alliance. This seems both fair and equitable, yet the empirical evidence summarised by Hosti et al. 18 and Ward 19 does not bear this out. Alliances, like other organisations, do not embody an optimal divisi'on of scarce resources. The costs of providing a collective good such as security are not shared in the same proportion as the benefits each member derives from increased security.

When the threat which gave rise to an alliance recedes, the alliance may experience strains which may well cause it to wither away by default. The crisis within the ANZUS alliance, for example, illustrates only too well how change in threat perception or the identification of the 'enemy' can be linked to decreased collaboration within an alliance. The experience of World War Two, especially the war with Japan, the fall of Singapore and British disasters in the Far East convinced both Australia and New Zealand of the need to maintain closer relations with the United States.

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