Ron Huisken

Ron Huisken joined the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre at The Australian National University in 2001, after nearly twenty years working in the Australian government departments of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Defence, and Prime Minister and Cabinet. His research interests include US security policies, multilateral security processes in East Asia, alliance management and non-proliferation. Dr Huisken has authored numerous works, including a number of working and Canberra papers published by the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre.

Introducing China »

The World's Oldest Great Power Charts its Next Comeback

Authored by: Ron Huisken
China’s transformation has been patiently, methodically and very deliberately constructed by a leadership group that has equally carefully protected its monopoly on power. Today’s China is proceeding with great seriousness and determination to become a first-rank state with a balanced portfolio of power and no major vulnerabilities. China takes itself very seriously and is inviting the world to overlook the formidable hard power assets it is determined to acquire in favour of simply enjoying the fruits of its market and trusting in the sincerity of its rhetoric on being determined to become a benign and peaceful new-age major power.

The Architecture of Security in the Asia-Pacific »

Edited by: Ron Huisken
We cannot expect in East Asia over the foreseeable future to see the sort of conflation of sovereign states that has occurred in Europe. We must anticipate that, for the foreseeable future, the requirement will be for the sensible management and containment of competitive instincts. The establishment of a multilateral security body in East Asia that includes all the key players, and which the major powers invest with the authority to tackle the shaping of the regional security order, remains a critical piece of unfinished business.

Rising China »

Power and Reassurance

Edited by: Ron Huisken
Asia looks and feels very different now compared to the days of the Cold War. The sense that Asia now works differently can be traced to a single source – the re-emergence of China. China was the dominant power in greater Asia for most of recorded history. This historical norm was interrupted from the early 19th century, too far into the past to be recognisable and readily accommodated by the actors in today’s international arena. A powerful China feels new and unfamiliar. Arriving peacefully at mutually acceptable relationships of power and influence that are very different from those that have prevailed for the past half century will be a demanding process. The world’s track record on challenges of this kind is not terrific. It will call for statesmanship of a consistently high order from all the major players, and building the strongest possible confidence among these players that there are no hidden agendas.

History as Policy »

Framing the debate on the future of Australia’s defence policy

Edited by: Ron Huisken, Meredith Thatcher
The fortieth anniversary of the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre’s founding provided the opportunity to assemble many of Australia’s leading analysts and commentators to review some of the more significant issues that should define Australian defence policy. In the first 20 years after its establishment, SDSC scholars played a prominent role in shaping the ideas and aspirations that eventually found official expression in the 1987 Defence of Australia White Paper. This policy sustained a coherent balance between strategy, force structure and budgets for well over a decade. In recent years, however, the cumulative effects of the end of the Cold War and watershed events like the East Timor experience; the attacks on New York and Washington, D.C., in September 2001; the Bali bombings in October 2002; and the invasion of Iraq in March 2003 have fractured the former consensus on defence policy. These developments have eroded acceptance of the core judgements underpinning defence policy. This has led to a more tenuous connection between some recent major equipment acquisitions and declared policy. The unravelling of the consensus on the ‘defence of Australia’ policy means that we must again undertake a balanced, long-term assessment of the nature of Australia’s strategic interests. Only by doing so can we determine the kinds of armed forces that would contribute most effectively to protecting those interests. The papers collected in this volume are not informed by a common view of where Australia should focus its defence policy, but all address themes that should figure prominently in this difficult but essential task.