AUKUS and the Return of Balance of Power Politics

This policy outlook examines the enhanced trilateral security partnership (AUKUS) signed by the US, the UK and Australia through the lens of balance of power politics and aims to analyse its implications for the regional order in the Indo-Pacific.

Scholars have long debated the reasons for the absence of balancing coalitions among regional countries against Beijing. Yet, the relative decline of the US and simultaneous rise of China has been shifting the regional dynamics. The historic security pact appears to be the beginning of the return of balance of power politics in the region. Canberra’s growing perception that China is becoming more aggressive seems to have played a critical role in leading Australia to more forcefully side with the US in its effort to counter China’s growing influence in the region. Additionally, the recent revival of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (QUAD) among the US, Australia, India, and Japan can also be considered as one of the critical components of the overall US strategy in the region to maintain the US-led regional order vis-à-vis China.

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