A new book by RMIT researchers examines how policy makers adapted key presidential doctrines from Washington to Obama to new eras and circumstances in pursuing the national interest.
Australia and the United States maintain a robust relationship underpinned by shared democratic values, common interests, and cultural affinities.
Economic, academic, and people-to-people ties are vibrant and strong. The two countries marked the 75th anniversary of diplomatic relations in 2015.
In addition, the U.S.-Australia alliance is an anchor for peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region and around the world.
The increasing popularity of presidential candidate Donald Trump has experts talking about how a Trump presidency would impact Australia, in particular the relationship with China and maintaining the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement.
So how important is US presidential doctrine to a holistic global economy?
RMIT’s Professor Joseph Siracusa and Dr Aiden Warren from the School of Global, Urban and Social Studies are the authors of Presidential Doctrines: U.S. National Security from George Washington to Barack Obama, a book that assesses and evaluates the key U.S. presidential doctrines from Washington to Obama.
It demonstrates that, in spite of differences between successive administrations, in most instances, presidential doctrines have articulated both the responses and directions conducive to an international order that best advances American interests.
Siracusa said that these interests encompass ‘democracy’, ‘open free markets’ for self-determining states that adhere to U.S. principles, and a secure global environment in which U.S. goals can ideally be pursued unimpeded.
“This is manifest through such policy goals as containment, interventionism, engagement, de-entanglement, and securing the region,” he said.
“Also, it shows that the current dilemmas facing the U.S. are a continuation of perennial policy challenges, from Washington’s warning to steer clear of permanent alliances, to George Bush’s radical doctrine of prevention and pre-emption and Obama’s ‘reluctant realist’ doctrine.”
Warren added that in navigating and assessing the key presidential doctrines, the book explains both the individual and defining themes American presidents have embodied in their respective doctrines in attempting to meet national interest goals.
“Ultimately, it shows that although each doctrine was formulated in reaction to immediate foreign policy concerns, each also addressed fundamental aspects of U.S. national security that led future statesmen to follow their broad objectives and prescriptions”, he said.
As for Trump’s potential presidency; his story changes from one day to the next, as do his promises and campaign lines.
Therefore, we technically we will not know with certainty what might happen under a Trump presidency until it becomes a reality.
Presidential Doctrines: U.S. National Security from George Washington to Barack Obama is published by Rowman & Littlefield.
Story: Petra van Nieuwenhoven