By Nicole Brzozowski
On November 18, 2015, the Australian Embassy hosted the World Affairs Council-DC and a number of distinguished guests to honor His Excellency Kim Beazley on his commitment to global education and international affairs.
The event began with a general reception in the main ballroom of the Australian Embassy, where guests were viewed a special showing of works by the Japanese-Australian artist, Hiromi Ashlin. Opening remarks were made by WAC-DC President and CEO, Tony Culley-Foster. He highlighted the recent closeness of US-Australia relations, citing Australia’s work on the TPP as well as Australia’s joint work with the United States in combating global terrorism.
Amb. Beazley spoke about his last five years as ambassador to the United States and his observations on issues regarding the United States and Australia, specifically about the United States’ long term plan regarding ISIS, global rebalancing, and the TPP.
With the Australian military investing heavily in US defense companies, its cooperation in US military operations, and its history in the Middle East, the success of the US military is of great interest to Australia. He spoke on the deep consciousness of the American public to understand the developing world and constantly question the role of leaders. On the political level, however, he recognizes the difficulties the United States faces. As a former defense official, he sees logical solutions to the tensions in the Middle East. Despite simple solutions, the interests of the parties involved do not align with the solutions set forth and because of this, he sees the US role in the Middle East as one that “keeps the game afloat.”
With the US playing such a large role in combatting terrorism, Amb. Beazley wants to remind Americans that they should not be consumed with it. There are currently 500 million middle class citizens on the Asian continent that will rapidly grow to 3 billion in the coming years. If the United States is not engaged in this changing global demographic, they will lose out on opportunities in the future. For this reason, he believes the United States should reconsider its position regarding the TPP. From his perspective, the United States does not sacrifice anything by agreeing to the partnership but stands to gain global representation in issues such as copyright management. In looking to the future, Amb. Beazley believes that the American middle class cannot continue to rely on manufacturing for their prosperity, but must embrace and protect America’s greatest global commodity: its ideas and innovations.
Amb. Beazley took questions from guests regarding the minimum wage debate, why Americans might distrust the TPP, and the Australia-New Zealand relationship. After taking questions, the ambassador and guests enjoyed the buffet set in the ballroom.