Sydney: No Enemies No Friends at The State Library of NSW

Tue, Mar 22, 2022 6pm AEDT State Library of NSW, Macquarie Room

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Join Allan Behm, Director of The Australia Institutes International & Security Affairs Program, in conversation with the Hon Greg Combet AM at the State Library of NSW to discuss Allan's latest book: No Enemies No Friends. 

The orthodoxy that increased defence spending will deliver increased national security confirms the status quo. But it does not help us to deal with shocks and surprises. How should Australia re-calibrate its national security settings to deal with global disruption?

Australia’s cultural and historical experiences have shaped our security thinking. Our mindset is built around interlocking pathologies: racism, misogyny, isolation, insecurity, a brashness that masks a deep lack of self-confidence, and the perverse effects of the cultural cringe. 

This book is not about why Australia has become so good at getting things so bad. Rather, it suggests we have every capability to improve. It is less a lamentation for what might have been than a meditation on how to learn sure-footedness in our international affairs, in a new and less predictable world. We need to maintain a credible defence force, and invest in diplomacy to reduce our dependence on military force and defence alliances. This is crucial for the maintenance of our long-term security and confidence to become a significant international actor.

Allan Behm has been thinking about international relations, national security and defence matters in the service of a strong democracy over his long career in public policy.

Allan Behm specialises in political and security risk evaluation, policy analysis and development, and negotiating the policy/politics interface.

Hon Greg Combet AM is a former Australian politician and trade unionist. He retired from politics at the 2013 election. In 2020, Combet was appointed to the National COVID-19 Coordination Commission to "provide strategic and policy advice" for the Morrison Coalition Government.


Tuesday, March 22, 2022 at 6:00pm - 7pm AEDT


State Library of NSW, Macquarie Room
1 Shakespeare Pl
Sydney, NSW 2000
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