US ‘Cold War’ with China puts Australia in risky waters

US-China relations have plunged into an era of risky geopolitical tensions with Australia ‘in the middle’ of a trade war, while concerns about foreign interference in the US election, and trust in media is disturbed by ‘fake news’- so what does our future hold?

Professor Don DeBats, Director of the Jeff Bleich Centre at Flinders University, will tackle the US side of this  geopolitical shift at the Brave Lecture: The State of the States: The US political climate in the leadup to the 2020 elections.

Professor Don DeBats

Professor Don DeBats, whose eminent scholarship in the field of American politics and political history stretches back more than 50 years, is Head of American Studies and Director of the Jeff Bleich Centre, a research centre for the US alliance in digital technology, security and governance.

“Australia has always followed its self-interest in foreign policy, so the federal government has made its own assessment of the situation and is  disturbed that Chinese economic connections are being used to influence Australian foreign policy. Australia has valuable export resources which are recognised by China. This may prove a difficult issue as there is now a bipartisan consensus in the US to fundamentally change  the US-China relationship,” says Professor DeBats.

“Threats of embargoes on Australian raw material exports are new as are China’s efforts to militarise the South China Sea. Old trade issues and new geo-political issues are causing both Australia and the United States to review their relationships with China.”

The US election is fast approaching with  many factors influencing voters. Will it be Trump or Biden? Professor DeBats will highlight the issues and trends.

“There was little on foreign policy in Joe Biden’s acceptance speech, which is an indication that the election will be based on the US economy – a strong economy that  was working  in President  Trump’s favour, until the COVID-19 pandemic.

“While there is no evidence of any collusion on the part of President Trump, the US Senate Select Committee on Intelligence recently determined there was a clear effort  on part of Russian government to influence the 2016 election in his favour. Whether this had any effect is less clear. What is clear is that there will be many foreign efforts made  to influence this election.”

This event will be recorded and includes Auslan interpretation and live captions.


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College of Business, Government and Law