Two months ago, as Prime Minister Abbott's globalist reflexes were becoming increasingly apparent, I offered a perspective from Washington that the US should welcome a more prominent role for Australia on the world stage.
I argued that America's steadfast ally had unique normative, diplomatic and geopolitical strengths that could advance our common interests, particularly if Australia escaped from the confines of outdated models of 'deputy sheriff' and the 'hub-and-spoke' alliance system.
This was already occurring with Australian leadership over the MH370 search, at the UN in the wake of the MH17 tragedy, and in helping to deepen military-to-military cooperation between the US and China with next month's trilateral 'Exercise Kowari' in northern Australia. I said at the time, with few reservations, that, 'greater Australian involvement in world politics — again, even in pursuit of its own aims — will ultimately advance American interests.'
Having just returned from a week in Australia that overlapped with the Abbott Government's one-year anniversary, I have to admit it was less clear than ever exactly what those aims are.