• read the article paying attention to the words in bold
  • summarize the main ideas
  • comment on the ideas expressed by the author
  • compose 3 questions for discussion


intertwineпереплетать, переплетаться, сплетать
impending предстоящий, грозящий
ambivalent двойственный, противоречивый, противоположный
suspicion подозрение, подозрительность
facetгрань, аспект
reprisalрасправа, ответная мера
evokeвызывать, пробуждать 
alignвыравнивать, ставить в ряд, вступать в союз; объединяться
caveatпредостережение, протест
plungeпогружать, стремительно продвигаться, бросаться, врываться


  1. destined for
  2. distinct from
  3. plunged into
  4. enshrined in
  5. ambivalent about
  6. accountability for
  7. aligned with
  8. in multiple arenas
  9. associated with
  10. attention to

The ANZUS Treaty at 70

As their alliance turns 70, Australia, New Zealand, and the U.S. now face different challenges from China.

August 25, 2021, Patricia O’Brien


Patricia O’Brien is a historian, author, analyst and commentator on Australia and Oceania. She is a faculty member in Asian Studies at Georgetown University and in the Department of Pacific Affairs, Australian National University, and is Adjunct Faculty in the Pacific Partners Initiative at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), Washington DC

Seventy years after Australia, New Zealand, and the United States signed a treaty committing them to defend one another and work together to ensure a peaceful Pacific, the alliance has assumed new and crucial relevance as all three countries face economic, political and diplomatic challenges from China.

The ANZUS Treaty, named with the initials of the three countries, emerged in 1951 from the nations’ shared history and became an important element of post-World War II international relations. Now, as the Pacific region is ominously poised on the brink of war, the alliance is again a key part of international relations and power struggles.

Deep Shared Pasts

Beyond the ancient connections between Indigenous Hawaiians and New Zealand’s Maori people, the three nations’ stories have been intertwined for centuries.

Britain began colonizing Australia in 1788 because of the loss of the American colonies. Some advocates wanted to relocate American loyalists, as well as indentured servants once destined for North America, to the South Pacific instead. Exiled British loyalists scattered around the empire, with only some reaching the South Pacific. But for 160,000 convicts, Australia’s colonies became their place of banishment over the next 80 years.

At the end of the 18th century, New England whalers and sealers began arriving in New Zealand and Australia. Complex ongoing connections spanned the Pacific over the subsequent years from trade, idea flows, and movements of people, fueled especially by Pacific gold rushes. All three societies developed similar nation-founding myths out of their parallel experiences of conquering Indigenous peoples to form their respective “White nations.”

Complex interconnections reached new heights during World War II. In 1940, spurred by impending war, the United States recognized Australia as an independent nation, distinct from the United Kingdom. Two years later, the U.S. did the same for New Zealand, while the three nations’ military forces were joined in fighting a war against imperial Japan.

The Cold War Birth of ANZUS

All three nations played critical roles in bringing about Japan’s 1945 surrender, and all were transformed by that experience. More than a million U.S. troops were stationed in Australia and New Zealand to defend those countries against feared Japanese invasions. The sheer numbers of U.S. soldiers, among the countries’ combined 8.6 million residents, reshaped the provincial societies, Americanizing their music and romantic rituals. Australia and New Zealand were also transformed by 17,000 women leaving their homelands to become American wives and mothers.

Then from 1949, when Communists took over China, the Pacific region was plunged into the Cold War. The outbreak of the Korean War in 1950 further escalated anxieties about communism’s spread. Yet Australia and New Zealand still felt threatened by a rearmed, “aggressive” Japan.

There was a complication, though: The U.S. wanted to rapidly rebuild Japan to help defend democracy and peace in the North Pacific. This objective was to be enshrined in a proposed mutual security alliance with the former bitter enemy.

The U.S. had been ambivalent about formalizing security arrangements with only Australia and New Zealand. As the U.S. advanced its Japan treaty in 1951, however, Australia and New Zealand met this development with what the U.S. State Department called “great suspicion and disapproval.” So the three nations devised a compromise to placate Australia and New Zealand’s concerns.

That compromise was a trilateral agreement, the ANZUS Treaty. It guaranteed each nation’s security and set up ongoing regional cooperation to protect peace in the Pacific. The ANZUS Treaty was signed in San Francisco on September 1, 1951, seven days before the signing of the Japan-U.S. treaty.

ANZUS Strained and Repaired

In the U.S., ANZUS is little known. But in Australia and New Zealand, the treaty has been a defining part of national security for 70 years. Its popularity has shifted based on public opinion about the U.S. president at the time, or his wars.

In the 1980s, stark differences over nuclear power led the pro-nuclear U.S. to suspend its alliance commitment to the anti-nuclear New Zealand. Tensions eased during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and bilateral ties, including security cooperation improved markedly. New Zealand and the United States signed the Wellington Declaration in 2010, followed by the 2012 Washington Declaration, which “strengthened the defense relationship by providing a framework and strategic guidance for security cooperation and defense dialogues.” These steps, however, fell short of a full restoration of the alliance.

In more recent years, emphasis has shifted to the many unifying facets of the nations rather than points of difference. In 2021, as when ANZUS was born in 1951, the activities of China are reshaping the alliance. This has been evident in a renewed stress on long-standing friendships, cultural common ground and regional partnerships on defense matters.

New Tensions With China

Both Australia and New Zealand had been economic beneficiaries of the rise of China, both nations’ largest trading partner, while pragmatically maintaining close ties with the U.S. as well.

The balance shifted in 2020, when Australia led calls for investigations into Chinese accountability for the COVID-19 pandemic. China’s response was quick: It suspended economic dialogues, targeted trade reprisals on some Australian exports, and, most alarming, state media threatened missile strikes.

Amid these escalating tensions, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison made an ominous speech evoking a region “eerily haunted by similar times many years ago in the 1930s” that led to the Pacific war.

Even so, the value of Australia’s exports to China actually increased 33 percent over the past year, in part thanks to rising prices of Australian iron ore.

Though Australia is again closely aligned with the U.S., there is one major caveat. Australia’s ongoing fossil-fuel-friendly policies differ from the Biden’s administration’s sweeping climate agenda. Biden has pledged not to “pull any punches,” even with Australia, to solve a global problem.

New Zealand is still trying to balance Chinese and U.S. interests. Rapidly rising regional tensions over Taiwan, the South China Sea and China’s hand in eroding human rights and democracy, not to mention its treatment of Australia, are testing the nation’s leaders.

Shifting Focus to the Pacific Region

Because of China, the U.S. is increasing its attention to the Pacific at levels not seen since World War II. Two recent bipartisan congressional bills address Chinese influence in multiple arenas, including scientific research security and China’s economic, political, and military efforts.

In related efforts, the U.S. military has announced plans to build new bases in three strategically located Pacific island countries. The countries – the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and the Republic of Palau – were U.N. trusts administered by the U.S. but are now independent nations freely associated with the U.S.

ANZUS is fundamental in this U.S. strategy. Both Australia and New Zealand are substantially increasing defense spending in ways that further bind the three nations’ militaries together. Also key is the intelligence-sharing agreement dating back to World War II, “Five Eyes,” which also includes Canada and the U.K.

In addition, the U.S. and Australia are part of the “Quad,” a four-nation group, with Japan and India, building on Cold War security agreements to meet China’s rise in the Indo-Pacific region.

While military tensions in the mid-2021 Pacific are high around Taiwan, Hong Kong, and the South China Sea, the U.S. has just concluded Operation Pacific Iron in Guam and the Northern Marianas, a huge demonstration of air, land, and sea power. Also, biennial joint exercises called Talisman Saber recently concluded in Australia, involving 17,000 troops from U.S. and allied nations. These exercises were also aimed at demonstrating power and battle readiness. China watched these activities closely.

As ANZUS turns 70, the deep, entwined pasts of New Zealand, Australia and the U.S. will continue to fundamentally shape the Pacific’s uncertain future.


  1. What are the economic, political, and diplomatic challenges that Australia, New Zealand, and the United States are facing from China?
  2. How has the ANZUS Treaty evolved over the past 70 years to address new challenges?
  3. What are some examples of the shared history and intertwined stories between these three nations?




intertwineuncertain or unable to decide about what course to follow
impending place in a line or arrange so as to be parallel or straight; come into adjustment with
ambivalent a distinct feature or element in a problem
suspicion close in time; about to occur
facetcall forth (emotions, feelings, and responses)
reprisalspin, wind, or twist together
evokea warning against certain acts
alignaction taken in return for an injury or offense, a retaliatory action against an enemy 
caveatdash violently or with great speed or impetuosity, begin with vigour
plungean impression that something might be the case; doubt about someone’s honesty


intertwinedistrust, intuition, misgiving
impending launch, immerse, absorb, engross
ambivalent aspect, characteristic, feature
suspicion doubtful, dubious, unsure, incertain
facetcaution, warning
reprisalclose at hand, imminent
evokeadjust, aline, coordinate
alignarouse, elicit, provoke, raise
caveatblend, mix, combine, fuse, join, merge, entangle
plungeretaliation, revanche, revenge


intertwineattitude/ response/ remain
impending avoid/ questioned on/ of conspiracy  
ambivalent significant/ usual/ come with 
suspicion with mainstream/ politics/ deeply
facetmemories/ reaction/ sympathy 
reprisalwith one’s interests/ values/ agreement/ party leaders
evokeof argument/ proposal/ explain/ refer to
alignagainst the migrants/ by security forces/ provoke
caveatthe alliance into war/ an unprecedented crisis/ turmoil/ controversy
plungeconflict/ decision/ event


1. After the death of a Tunisian man led to …………. against the migrants, hundreds were deported to desert areas on the Libyan and Algerian borders.
2. President Biden and Republican negotiators are working on a deal to raise the U.S. government’s $31.4 trillion debt ceiling after the Treasury Department cautioned that an …………. default was likely without any action.
3. While Catholicism has been a long-ingrained …………. of Latino identity, the Pew survey shows the share of Latino Catholics is shrinking.
4. Senegal’s President Macky Sall appears to have saved his country from …………. into a deeper crisis by declaring that he will step down at the end of his two terms.
5. Among Israel’s Palestinian minority, which forms about 20 percent of the wider population, attitudes to the judicial plans are more …………..
6. As global supply chains become increasingly …………., the ecological impact of trade continues to grow.
7. The animosity and …………. was on full display as a congressional hearing probed the links between the Chinese government and the wildly popular social media platform, TikTok.
8. The ethnic separation also …………. a sense of disruption and loss.
9. With some …………., the new Canadian law would force search engines and social media companies to engage in a bargaining process — and binding arbitration, if necessary — for licensing news content for their use.
10. Seventeen other parties are participating in this year’s election, but almost all are too small, new or are …………. with the ruling party to be considered credible challengers.


1.  reshape a) anxieties about 
2.  to suspend b) close ties with
3. amid the escalatingc) nuclear power
4. assume d) over the subsequent years
5. pragmatically maintaine) alliance commitment to
6. further escalatef) to placate concerns
7. provide a frameworkg) the alliance
8. stark differences overh) tensions
9. spann the Pacifici) new and crucial relevance 
10. devise a compromisej) and strategic guidance for


E.g. _____________ impending membership _____________

Analysts say the high point of the Vilnius summit was the breakthrough on the impending membership of Sweden, which had initially sought to join alongside Finland.

  1. _________ is deeply intertwined with _________ 
  2. _________ was aware of impending events _________
  3. _________ the ambivalent response drew backlash _________
  4. _________ might raise suspicions _________
  5. _________ made a lasting impact on every facet of _________
  6. _________ for fear of reprisals _________
  7. _________ evoked destructive emotions _________
  8. _________ align with the interests _________
  9. _________ came with some problematic caveats _________

_________ plunge into controversy _________


  1. committing ___
  2. emerged ___
  3. destined ___
  4. distinct ___
  5. join ___
  6. plunged ___
  7. enshrined ___
  8. ambivalent ___
  9. based ___
  10. shift ___
  11. accountability ___
  12. aligned ___
  13. ___ multiple arenas
  14. associated ___
  15. attention ___


  1. Recent geopolitical events ________ the Arctic region’s transformation into a major theater of global geopolitical competition. 
  1. seemingly solidified
  2. were seemingly solidifying
  3. have seemingly solidified
  4. are seemingly solidifying

2. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government has been trying to promote closer political and economic ties with its neighbours, ________ back against China’s growing regional influence.

  1. being pushed back
  2. pushing
  3. pushed back
  4. having pushed back

3. The Army hopes the tools’ ease of use ________  soldiers more inclined to schedule training.

  1. will make
  2. would make
  3. should make
  4. is going to make

4. There are slight variations among subregions, and there are wide intercountry variations, with Tunisia and Morocco ________ higher trade volumes and export diversification.

  1. exhibiting
  2. exhibit
  3. is exhibiting
  4. will be exhibiting

5. The Air Force is looking to buy an all-new tanker that ________  fly deeper into contested airspace and plug into next-gen battlefield networks, called the next-gen aerial refueler, or NGAS. 

  1. should
  2. might
  3. can
  4. could

6. If ________ , BRI (Belt and Road Initiative) transport projects could reduce travel times along economic corridors by 12%, increase trade between 2.7% and 9.7%, increase income by up to 3.4% and lift 7.6 million people from extreme poverty.

  1. being completed
  2. will be completed
  3. are completed
  4. completed

7. The revolutions in technology and transportability ________ have occurred over the last 20 years have significantly changed the tradability of services and led to significant cross-border “disembodied” trade in services.

  1. , that
  2. , which
  3. where
  4. that

8. The disproportionately high costs of trading within the region arising from outdated trade policies, poor transportation and logistics infrastructure, ________  inefficient trade facilitation, are significant obstacles to closer integration.

  1. as long as
  2. as well as
  3. apart from
  4. moreover

9. The OECD maintains a so-called «black list» of nations that are considered uncooperative tax havens, ________ there are not any nations currently on the list since by 2009, all nations on the original list had made commitments to implement the OECD standards of transparency.

  1. hence
  2. although
  3. however
  4. therefore

10. Vietnam stands out with its high-quality basic education system due to its commitment to education reform and substantial public spending, ________ Singapore initiated successful schemes to retrain and employ older workers.

  1. since
  2. hence
  3. but
  4. while