Hugh White meet the author

28 Jun 2022

ANU/Canberra Times. Meet the Author. Hugh White

 6 -7 PM Tuesday June 28 Cinema . Kambri Cultural Centre ANU


Hugh White will be in conversation with Allan Gyngell on his new quarterly essay, Sleepwalk to War. Australia’s Unthinking Alliance with America. In this gripping essay, Hugh White explores Australia’s fateful choice to back America to the hilt and oppose China. What led both sides of politics to align with America so absolutely? Is this a case of sleepwalking to war? What tests might a new government face?


White assesses America’s credibility and commitment, by examining AUKUS, the Quad, Trump and Biden. He discusses what the Ukraine conflict tells us about the future. And he argues that the US can neither contain China nor win a war over Taiwan. So where does this leave our future security and prosperity in Asia? Is there a better way to navigate the disruption caused by China’s rise? This is a powerful and original essay by Australia’s leading strategic thinker.


“Canberra’s rhetoric helps raise the risk of the worst outcome for Australia: a war between China and America, in which we are likely to be involved. Over the past decade, and without any serious discussion, Australian governments have come to believe that America should go to war with China if necessary to preserve US primacy in Asia, and that Australia should, as a matter of course, go to war with it.”—Hugh White,


Hugh White AO is Emeritus Professor of Strategic Studies, Coral Bell School of Asia Pacific Affairs, ANU. His work focuses primarily on Australian strategic and defence policy, Asia-Pacific security issues, and global strategic affairs. Hugh is the author of The China Choice and How To Defend Australia, and the acclaimed Quarterly Essays Power Shift and Without America. He is emeritus professor of strategic studies at ANU and was the principal author of Australia’s Defence White Paper 2000.


Allan Gyngell AO , who has had an extensive career in Australian international affairs, was the Director-General of the Office of National Assessments (ONA) from 2009 to 2013. He is the National President of the Australian Institute of International Affairs (AIIA) and on an honorary professor with the ANU’s College of Asia and the Pacific and a director of China Matters.


Allan Behm , Director, International & Security Affairs Program at The Australia Institute, will give the vote of thanks. He was senior advisor to the then Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs, Senator Penny Wong (2017-19).


This event is in association with Harry Hartog Bookshop. Books will be available for purchase on the evening in the Cultural Centre foyer. Pre-event book signings will be available from 5.30pm, and available again after the event.



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  • podcast will be made available after the event.

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