Fear of Abandonment – Australia in the World since 1942
Published by La Trobe University Press/Black Inc
RRP $34.99 in paperback, 352pp • ISBN 9781863959186
This book attracted widespread attention on its recent release, almost certainly because of the credentials of its author.
Allan Gyngell was Director-General of the Office of National Assessments from 2009 to 2013. Prior to that, he was the founding executive director of the Lowy Institute. He was also foreign policy adviser to Paul Keating and worked as a diplomat, policy officer and analyst, all of which make him eminently qualified to write the story of Australia’s foreign policy.
In Fear of Abandonment, Gyngell tells the story of how Australia has shaped the world and been shaped by it since it established an independent foreign policy during the critical days of 1942.
Gyngell argues that the fear of being abandoned – originally by Britain, and later by our most powerful ally, the United States – has been an important driver of how Australia acts in the world.
But as Gyngell concedes in his very last paragraph, “this book has been prologue, not prediction. The question is: what comes next? Everything Australia wants to accomplish as a nation depends on its capacity to understand the world outside its borders and respond effectively to it.”
This book deserves an extensive readership, particularly among those tasked with setting Australia’s foreign policy agenda.