Taking the Potential Costs of the Quad Seriously

Debating the Quad

Author/s (editor/s):

Benjamin Zala

Publication year:


Publication type:

Policy paper

Find this publication at:
Strategic and Defence Studies Centre

Benjamin Zala, ‘Taking the Potential Costs of the Quad Seriously’, in Andrew Carr, ed., Debating the Quad, Centre of Gravity series 39, Canberra: Strategic and Defence Studies Centre, ANU, March 2018, pp. 19-22.

Australia’s decision to engage with the Quad must be judged against a clear understanding of the initiative’s intended purpose and potential costs. In the absence of a persuasive rationale that would bring these four particular states together to the exclusion of others, the perception of the Quad as an exercise in balancing against China’s rise is not only difficult to avoid but entirely logical. As China rises in a region in which an extra-regional power (the US) is the militarily dominant actor, the early formation of a balancing coalition is unnecessarily provocative and therefore ill-judged. The lack of clear military commitments between the Quad’s members so far may not be as stabilising as its proponents claim.

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