The ANZUS Alliance and United States Security Interests

  • William T. Tow

Abstract

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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Notes

  1. 1.
    George C. Schultz, ‘On Alliance Responsibility’, Department of State Bulletin 85, September 1985.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
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  3. 3.
    O’Flynn’s remarks are also covered in ‘O’Flynn Hopeful of Ship Ban Solution’, The Dominion (Wellington, New Zealand) 29 November 1984.Google Scholar
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  24. 36.
    Accounts of the Prime Minister Hawke’s visit to Washington in early 1985 and its ramifications for American-Australian strategic relations, based on his backing down on the MX commitment are by Michelle Grattan and Peter Cole-Adam in ‘ANZUS Is Still Valid’, The Age (Melbourne), 9 February 1985Google Scholar
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    Cited in John M. Goshko, ‘ANZUS Rift Not Healed’, The Washington Post, September 20 1985.Google Scholar
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    Garry Barker, ‘Weinberger’s ANZUS Doctrine: “We Would Welcome NZ’s Return Any Time”’, Pacific Island Monthly, vol. 56 (1985) p. 19.Google Scholar
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  44. 58.
    For assessments of New Zealand’s military vulnerabilities in the aftermath of such United States cutoffs, see John Beaglehole, ‘Labour’s Dangerous New Course’, Pacific Defense Reporter, vol. 12, December 1985/January 1986, pp. 14–16.Google Scholar
  45. 59.
    and analysis of Michael Pugh, ‘ANZUS on the Rocks’, The World Today, vol. 45 (1985), especially p. 80.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Jacob Bercovitch 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • William T. Tow

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