CANBERRA – Australia’s 2017 white paper on foreign policy sketches the global geopolitical transition with remarkable precision and elegance. The document is exceptionally strong on principles, rules and norms as the foundation of world order. The word “rules” is used 70 times, “norms” 22 times, “principles” 15 times and “international law” 26 times.
The paper documents how a connected world is becoming more competitive and contested, reshaping the world order and putting global rules and institutions under strain. These present opportunities alongside threats. The most consequential challenge for Australia is the growing power, wealth and influence of China enabling it to contest U.S. primacy.