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Global jigsaw: ASPI's strategic assessment 2008

By Rod Lyon and Christine Lea

This Assessment argues that Australia will increasingly have to find its security in a world of power shifts and greater interconnectedness. Despite its current financial difficulties, the US will remain the world’s strongest power. But we are witnessing a gradual relative dilution of US influence. 

Moreover, warfare is evolving, and we must be prepared for both the possibility of interstate warfare and the probability of other forms of conflicts, including a ‘long war’ on catastrophic terrorists. Proliferation remains a serious worry in coming decades: we are likely to be living in a world of more nuclear-armed actors rather than fewer. 

In Asia, we need to help construct a new regional order, enticing the local great powers to become ‘security contributors’ in a more Asian-centred security system. 

And we must learn to take the challenges of the South Pacific in our stride. We can’t have an exit strategy from our own neighbourhood, of course, but nor can we spend all our energies there. 

As we look to the future, Australians are likely to find themselves working with more partners in order to build security in more creative ways in more parts of the world.