Washington's willingness to toss security guarantees about the globe like party favors has encouraged other nations to do little for their own defense. From the European, Japanese, and South Korean standpoint, why spend more when the Americans will take care of you?
But it looks like Australia takes a different view, and is willing to do more to defend itself and its region. Reports the Daily Telegraph:
The latest defence White Paper recommends buying 100 advanced F-35 jet fighters and 12 powerful submarines equipped with cruise missiles, a capability which no other country in the region is believed to possess.
The "potential instability" caused by the emergence of China and India as major world powers was cited as the most pressing reason for this military build-up. In particular, Australian defence planners are believed to be concerned about China's growing naval strength and America's possible retreat as a global power in the decades ahead.
Chinese officials say their country's growing power threatens no-one. Behind the scenes, Beijing is thought to be unhappy about Australia's White Paper, with one Chinese academic saying it was "typical of a Western Cold War mentality".
But the Chinese navy has almost doubled the number of secret, long-distance patrols conducted by its submarines in the past year. The reach of its navy is extending into Australian waters. China is also acquiring new amphibious assault ships that can transport a battalion of troops.
So instead of calling Washington to deal with Beijing, the Australians are building up their own navy. Novel approach! Now, how can we implant a bit of the Aussie character in America's other friends around the globe?