Allan Behm In conversation with

8 Mar 2022

ANU Meet the Author Series

Allan Behm will be in conversation with Helen Sullivan on Allan’s new book, No Enemies No Friends: Restoring Australia’s Global Relevance, a forensic analysis of the “pathologies” of Australia’s strategic mindset.

The orthodoxy that increased defence spending will deliver increased national security confirms the status quo. But it does not help us to deal with shocks and surprises. How should Australia re-calibrate its national security settings to deal with global disruption?

Australia’s cultural and historical experiences have shaped our security thinking. Our mindset is built around interlocking pathologies: racism, misogyny, isolation, insecurity, a brashness that masks a deep lack of self-confidence, and the perverse effects of the cultural cringe.

Allan Behm has been thinking about international relations, national security and defence matters in the service of a strong democracy over his long career in public policy. He is currently Director, International & Security Affairs Program at The Australia Institute in Canberra, following a career spanning nearly thirty years in the Australian Public Service. He was Chief of Staff to Minister for Climate Change and Industry Greg Combet (2009 to 2013) and senior advisor to the Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs, Senator Penny Wong (2017-19).

Professor Helen Sullivan is Dean, College of Asia and the Pacific at the ANU. From 2016 to mid -2021 she was Director of the Australian National University’s Crawford School of Public Policy. Helen’s award winning scholarship explores the changing nature of state-society relationships. She is widely published, the author of six books and more than 100 peer reviewed academic articles, book chapters, and policy reports.. Helen appears regularly in print, mainstream and online media commenting on contemporary public policy issues.

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