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France and Australia are two middle powers, one global and one regional, engaged in a process of mutual empowerment to strengthen their respective national interests and face the traditional and non-traditional threats of the current global order. This book analyses the actors, mechanisms and outcomes relevant to the transformation of the French–Australian bilateral relationship between 1985, a moment of strong tensions between both countries because of France’s Pacific policies, and the present time when Paris and Canberra are closer than they have ever been since World War I. This study mainly demonstrates that the construction of the French–Australian genuine strategic partnership has been conceived by Australian and French policy-makers as a process of mutual empowerment. Canberra and Paris have increasingly and mutually supported each other in order to modernise their own diplomacies, thanks to a new alliance and new practises, and to answer together new regional and global challenges. This book also demonstrates, this progressive empowerment has been possible because of the settlement of three main conflicts between France and Australia pertaining to, primarily, the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), then French nuclear testing as well as Australia’s opposition to French policies in New Caledonia. However, this study demonstrates that the progressive rapprochement between France and Australia has primarily been possible because French and Australian policy-makers have instituted numerous opportunities for dialogue and cooperation in order to overcome their ongoing misperceptions and misunderstandings. The improvement of the French–Australian bilateral relationship and their mutual empowerment serves as an instructive example of the positive outcome that can result when middle power diplomacies show a willingness to innovate and develop trans-regional partnerships while facing an increasingly unstable international order. The growing French–Australia partnership offers an original answer from two middle powers to implement smart power strategies and reinforce their diplomatic narratives, their means of action, their protection from threats and, finally, their regional and global influence.
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