Former Foreign Minister emphasizes Australia’s global influence on ‘Talking Foreign Affairs’

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‘Talking Foreign Affairs’ with Adil Cader, which seeks to educate young people on key international issues, has concluded an interview with Gareth Evans, former Australian Foreign Minister .

The former Australian Foreign Minister opens up on a range of subjects, from climate action to Australia’s foreign policy. Mr. Evans expresses his concern for Australia’s current foreign policy, “I think a little bit of that energy has dwindled to the extent that we are not as prominent or as active in the wider regional and global scene as we had been at various stages in the past.” He maintains that Australia as a country has the potential to be a very influential power, not just in the Asia-pacific region but the wider world. In the 47-minute interview, Mr. Evans talks extensively about China. “China needs us at the moment of the indefinite future for iron ore”.

To Adil’s question with regards to “the nuclear umbrella” being a major factor in Australia’s alliance with the US and if we are close to achieving a nuclear weapons-free world, Gareth expresses his fear that “we are probably as far away from it as we have ever been.” The conversation also touches upon topics like cybersecurity and misinformation. Adil Cader brings up a question on whether under the Biden administration, there will be a new commitment to multilateralism. He further adds to whether a single term could bring the US back to where it stood with multilateral commitments in the past, particularly to Australia’s advantage. Mr. Evans responds, “I don’t think the world is going to go back to where it was exactly before. The reality is that America has lost a fair bit of ground with regards to soft power, credibility, and capacity”.

We are probably as far away as we have away been from a world free from nuclear weapons.
Gareth Evans

Towards the end of the interview, the Australian leader talks about the need for pragmatism in the business of politics. As a concluding note, he offers a message for Australian policymakers with regards to China, “We have to ride the horse of pushing back with us overreach but we also have to ride that horse of getting along with a country that’s absolutely critical of our future as it is to the future of the wider world.”

Gareth Evans served as Australia’s Foreign Minister from 1988-96. He was previously President of the International Crisis Group and Chancellor of the Australian National University.

‘Talking Foreign Affairs’ seeks to educate young people on key international issues and analyse key themes of foreign policy and current global affairs. Their offerings include hosting panels, addressing conferences, carrying out research and publishing. 

Adil Cader specialises in Australian Foreign Policy and Global Diplomacy. He is a Pacific Forum Young Leader is a Board Member of the Australia-Pacific Youth Dialogue and actively involved with diplomacy education.

Talking Foreign Affairs’ is incubated by MTI Consulting

Photo: Adil Cader of ‘Talking Foreign Affairs’ (right) with Former Australian Foreign Minister, Gareth Evans

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