China's Rise and Australia–Japan–US Relations
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China's Rise and Australia–Japan–US Relations

Primacy and Leadership in East Asia

Edited by Michael Heazle and Andrew O’Neil

One of the most pressing policy challenges for Australia and Japan today is ensuring that China’s rise does not threaten the stability of the Asia-Pacific, while also avoiding triggering conflict with their largest trading partner. This book examines how Australian and Japanese perceptions of US primacy shape their respective views of the Asia-Pacific regional order, the robustness of Asia’s alliance system, and the future of Australia-Japan security cooperation.
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Chapter 5: Building a Pacific Order: binding the liberal spokes

Zack Cooper


After the Second World War, the United States established a remarkably successful hub and spokes system that has persisted for more than half a century. Today, for the first time in recent memory, the hub and spokes system is in question not because of the spokes, but because of the hub itself. Without the hub, this ordering system would inevitably collapse and would be replaced by an alternative system. Two often discussed alternatives – a Chinese-led order and an unled order – would be so damaging to the interests of Asia’s liberal states that they should be avoided at all costs. Instead, it is preferable that the region’s states bind themselves together, transforming the US-led order into a Pacific Order. Doing so would require urgency from Asia’s leading liberal states, but the alternatives are dire. To safeguard their own interests, Asia’s spokes must become hubs.

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