Publication Details

G. H. Allan, 'South Pacific Security and the Emerging Doctrine of 'Co-operative Intervention': the Pacific way or Howard's way' (2005) 1 Rhizome 125-144.


The end of the Cold war catalysed considerable recalibration in the world's security architecture. In Australia, whilst this entailed a closer embrace of Asia, the South Pacific did not initially engage Australian security interests. However, post 11 September 2001 and post the terrorist attacks in Bali of October 2002, much has changed. The notion of 'comprehensive security'—in which Pacific security is seen as a function of a wide variety of social, political and strategic phenomena—has assumed such prominence it has ushered in an expanded justification for one state to intervene in the affairs of another. Although, as in the case of the Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands, such intervention has required invitation and multinational coalitions under the rubric 'cooperative intervention', the extent and nature of Australian-led initiatives in the South Pacific has raised concerns. Key amongst these concerns is the extent to which policies such as tied-aid and 'extended cooperation' might erode South Pacific sovereignty and the consensus politics of the Pacific Way. This article considers these issues against the backdrop of very significant changes to the region's key political body, the Pacific Forum. It suggests that although Australia is commendably active in strengthening the Pacific's security net, greater sensitivity to Pacific concerns might better effect her longer-term security objectives.

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University of Wollongong Postgraduate Association

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