Rules-based global order: be alert and alarmed

By Richard Menhinick*

It’s time for Australia’s leaders to wean themselves off the overused and increasingly meaningless expression, ‘rules-based global order’. Australia’s strategic policy establishment is captured by the allure of this phrase.

The 2016 Defence White Paper was full of it and the 2017 Foreign Policy White Paper followed suit, although it was a little more nuanced, perhaps due to the uncertain trajectory of the United States. Our prime minister and foreign minister, among others, still manage to utter the term in just about every speech, doorstop or media opportunity where foreign or defence policy is mentioned. But why?

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