I came across an interesting article while some of my military friends were considering retirement. They were thinking about doing their time in the U.S. military, retiring and then joining the Australian military to continue serving while getting two pay checks and a new experience.
According to the article, the Australian “government plans to increase defense spending — estimated at $26.5 billion this year — to $50 billion by 2023.”
This means that they have increased recruiting efforts to include foreign troops, as the U.S. military is being cutback. However, there hasn’t been much media attention to the increase of hard power in Australia and the rest of the world seems OK with this. They generally view the Aussies as a decent nation. How did this come about?
While reading Joe Johnson’s views on how Swedes promote their culture and Yul Sohn’s article about Korean soft power and networked power, nothing really comes to mind about the public diplomacy efforts of the Aussies. Those middle countries used branding to increase their public image, but I don’t think Foster’s beer is making the same soft power strides as Ikea and Samsung.
The Australians have been close allies to the Brits and Americans, and have fought in both Iraq and Afghanistan. However, the Aussies haven’t been condemned as much for doing so as their allies. And now they are doubling their defense budget and recruiting foreign troops. So what’s the lesson to take away from this? Make sure you’re isolated in the middle of the Pacific Ocean and you’ll seem harmless? Hardly. But I would be interested to hear anybody else’s opinion on how the Aussie’s have a better international image than their allies while continually increases their hard power stance.