The central question now is whether the US build-up is transforming Australia into a base for offensive US operations into Asia.
A greater presence of American forces brings with it the “need for mutual respect of rights and obligations”. It will be for Canberra now to outline how freedom of policy manoeuvre is not constrained. This is no straw man argument. It cuts to the very core of Australia’s ability to act independently, particularly if at some future point US and Australian interests do not align.
The change from the mid-1990s has been nothing short of staggering.