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We need the US for defence, but we only need defence because of the US

Australia has always been reliant on ‘great and powerful friends’ for its sense of national security and for direction on its foreign policy—first on the British Empire and now on the United States. Australia has actively pursued a policy of strategic dependence, believing that making a grand bargain with a powerful ally was the best policy to ensure its security and prosperity.

Dangerous Allies examines Australia’s history of strategic dependence and questions the continuation of this position. It argues that international circumstances, in the world and in the Western Pacific especially, now make such a policy highly questionable. Since the fall of the Soviet Union, the United States has also changed dramatically, making it less relevant to Australia and a less appropriate ally on which Australia should rely.

Malcolm Fraser argues that Australia should adopt a much greater degree of independence in foreign policy, and that we should no longer merely follow other nations into wars of no direct interest to Australia or Australia’s security. He argues for an end to strategic dependence and for the timely establishment of a truly independent Australia.


one of the most original and timely contributions to a debate that, with a few honourable exceptions, tends to be sterile, predictable and unchanged since the end of World War Two.

Professor Mark Beeson, The Conversation

a thoughtful and nuanced history of Australian foreign policy.

Books + Publishing

Dangerous Allies is a sorely needed contribution to debate on Australia’s foreign policy and its future independence. Extremely well researched, with all the force of a tightly argued academic treatise.

The Saturday Paper

This powerful polemic should go a long way towards debunking the consensus that Australia should always support US interventions.

Tom Switzer, The Saturday Age

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Formats & editions

  • Hardback


    May 1, 2014

    Melbourne University Press

    372 pages

    RRP $49.99

    Online retailers


    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

  • Paperback


    November 14, 2014

    Melbourne University Press

    RRP $34.99

    Online retailers


    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

  • EBook


    April 12, 2016

    Melbourne University Press Digital

    520 pages

    Online retailers

Awards and Recognition

  • The John Button Prize
    Winner, John Button Prize

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Malcolm Fraser


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Stepping Up to the Plate
My Story
Wars, Guns and Votes
A History Of Australia (Volumes 1 & 2)
Rusted Off
The Last 100 Days
The Drover's Wife