Naval War College Review


Karl Walling


In this excellent monograph, Michael Evans argues that Australia has a dis- tinctive way of war that focuses on con- tinental defensive strategies. These strategies, for most of its history, have been abandoned by statesmen uphold- ing Australia’s extended vital interests in a favorable regional and world order. In other words, Australian military strategists instinctively think about homeland defense, especially of the air and sea-lanes connecting Australia to the world, but their political leaders in- evitably require them to adapt their strategies to intervening around the world as a member of coalitions of like-minded liberal democracies. In the United States, we call this a “policy- strategy mismatch,” but Evans calls it the “tyranny of dissonance,” with the interventionist tradition of Australian foreign policy pulling one way and the more isolationist official Australian military strategy pulling another. In that respect, Australia resembles Britain and the United States, which have also been torn between “splendid isolation” and foreign intervention in different periods of their histories.