12 Aug, 2015
Australia is struggling with existential uncertainty. Is it part of Asia? Does it want to become part of Asia? Its economic future and hence prosperity, is increasingly tied to Asia.
China is by far its largest trading partner and Australia is also trading more and more with its Asian neighbors. But that is probably as “Asian” as Australia gets; that, and in addition to its geographic location and the rising Asian mix in its population.
Politically, Australia is still stuck in 20th century mode. It is a monarchy with a head of state in London, and all its security arrangements are Cold War relics, whereby they take orders from Washington.
Australia is out of sync with the emerging geopolitical environment of Asia today. Until Australia fixes this anomaly and moves into the 21st century, it is hard for Indonesia and the rest of Asia to take Australia more seriously.