boat in South China Sea The Asahi Shimbun/Getty Images

Respecter les règles en Asie

CANBERRA – L’aventurisme chinois en mer de Chine méridionale est à l’origine d’une évolution de la politique étrangère australienne qui mérite l’attention de la communauté internationale. Faisant de la défense d’un « ordre mondial fondé sur des règles » une priorité stratégique essentielle, le nouveau Livre blanc de la défense australienne adopte un langage qu’on ne trouve guère, ailleurs, au cœur des chartes de défense nationale. C’est d’autant plus surprenant venant de la part d’un gouvernement conservateur habituellement enclin à suivre les États-Unis sur tous les chemins qu’ils empruntent.

L’Australie voulait pouvoir défendre lisiblement sa contestation des revendications chinoises, sans qu’on puisse lui reprocher de prendre une fois de plus à son compte la position américaine. Pour un pays qui tente, à l’instar d’autres pays de la région, d’éviter les choix à somme nulle entre son partenaire stratégique, les États-Unis, et son partenaire économique, la Chine, les termes du Livre blanc sont opportunément choisis et méritent de trouver un écho.

Ce qui fait l’intérêt, pour partie, d’un « ordre mondial fondé sur des règles », c’est qu’il oblige tous les acteurs impliqués. Les responsables politiques américains, à la différence de ceux de la plupart des autres pays, n’en trouvent pas le concept particulièrement attirant. Si, comme tout le monde, ils y sont rituellement attachés, la propension à se lier par des règles internationales ne fait pas partie de l’ADN des officiels américains.

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