Is Australia the United States' "Deputy Sheriff?"
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A lot can be said about Australia: loyal, trusted ally, confidante, and friend. In the post-9/11 world, the long-standing relationship between the U.S and Australia continues to draw closer based upon: the threat of international terrorism, involvement in Afghanistan and Iraq, how to handle China, and the personal relationship between President Bush and Prime Minister John Howard. Amidst the close cooperation in each of these areas, Australia, the middle power is seen as America?s ?deputy sheriff? because Australia is a staunch, unwavering supporter of U.S. policy. It is this policy prerogative decided by Canberra, ardently supported by Washington that leads to the often unfair distinction of the U.S.-Australian alliance. In order to decrease its policy dependence and lose the deputy sheriff image, Australia must distinguish itself through policies independent of the U.S., and engage in open-ended dialogue with the U.S. at the highest levels. Above all, it is time for Australia to adopt its own national security strategy, to show its foreign policy independence, and distinguish its policy priorities. Additionally, Australia?s ability to ?box above its weight? because of its relationship with the U.S. is an advantage that must be used wisely. For Australia, it must realize its limitations as to what it can and cannot do. In the end, Canberra and Washington?s relationship is arguably the strongest in its history, yet America will accomplish more if Australia is seen as a global partner, instead of being perceived as its deputy sheriff.