The ANZUS Alliance and United States Security Interests

  • William T. Tow


The United States has reached an important crossroads in the conduct of alliance politics. The ANZUS crisis represents the latest in a series of tests of America’s post-war framework of collective security treaties which have materialised over the past decade within and outside the Asian-Pacific region. What was once perceived as, next to NATO, Washington’s most stable security agreement, ANZUS is currently faltering in response to the shifting strategic posture of New Zealand, one of the treaty’s three signatories. From an American perspective, ANZUS’ potential unravelling portends greater difficulties for the very stability of the overall Western security network, because if New Zealand is successful in converting ANZUS into an exclusively ‘non-nuclear’ alliance, the entire context of global US deterrence policy would become subject to serious question. Secretary of State George Shultz outlined such United States concerns in a recent, definitive policy address in Honolulu: Each of the Western democracies, he contended, has a share in maintaining the overall deterrent strength of the West, including the credibility of all military response levels, through helping to preserve the legitimacy of the United States’ global nuclear deterrent. Shultz concluded that while United States’ allies, ‘need not possess their own nuclear deterrent [but] if they undermine ours, as New Zealand has, they weaken their own national security’.1


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Copyright information

© Jacob Bercovitch 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • William T. Tow

There are no affiliations available

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