Our Exceptional Friend: Australia’s Fatal Alliance with the United States by Emma Shortis


In Our Exceptional Friend, Emma Shortis draws on history, current affairs and questions of morality to mount a compelling and unique case as to why Australia’s relationship with the United States needs a serious overhaul.

Australians are told that we have two choices in this world: the United States, or China. Faced with that choice, Australian governments of all persuasions have always sided with America – even if that means siding with a President like Donald J. Trump. While the election of Joe Biden has led many of us to hope that we might be heading for a calmer, more compassionate world, and a reset of Australia and America’s ‘special relationship,’ going back to ‘normal’ is not only a bad idea – it’s a dangerous and immoral one.

Our Exceptional Friend challenges the old assumption that we have no option other than to submit to one global power at the expense of another, and asks Australians to really examine why it is that we welcome American dominance. In this, our 70th year of the Australia–US alliance, historian Emma Shortis argues it’s time to take a fresh and unflinching look at our special relationship, and examine whose interests it really serves. We don’t have to make a binary choice between subservience to an increasingly broken democracy and abandoning the alliance. There are other options. How can we make it better for us, and make the world a better place for it?