Dual Dilemma: US Allies Balancing between China and America

Dual Dilemma: US Allies Balancing between China and America

Programs Available


Reference Number


Opening Date

01 Jan 2018 12am AEDT 

Closing Date

30 Apr 2019 11pm AEST 

Scholarship available to



Allies and friends of the United States around the world face a similar “dual dilemma.”  On the one hand, they struggle with how to obtain the benefits and deflect the challenges of dealing with a rising China.  At the other, allied capitals cannot be confident about American leadership to counterbalance PRC influence and sustain the liberal political and economic order and the U.S.-led alliance system which has helped underpin it for 70 years.  This project will examine the debates within key U.S. allied capitals in Europe and the Asia-Pacific about relations with China and the United States and assess the strategies being developed for breaking out of this “dual dilemma.”

Completion of this study will result in several important theoretical, empirical, and practical outcomes, including:

  • Further clarifying the debate as to the “fungibility” of China’s economic power—i.e., its ability to translate economic strength to strategic power and influence—to affect the alignment decisions of secondary states.
  • Examining the degree to which realist theory, as opposed to internal ideational factors and/or liberal institutionalism, best explains how U.S. allies are coping with the “dual dilemma.”
  • Extensive comparative empirical assessment across multiple U.S. allies of the extent and nature of the “dual dilemma” and the unilateral and multilateral responses coming out of those allied capitals.
  • Lessons learned and in-depth policy prescriptions for the United States and U.S. allies.
  • Fundamental strategic conclusions about the future for U.S. allies in the context of contested U.S.-China relations.

Other Important Information

Candidates should have high-level to native fluency in reading, writing and speaking English.  Strong ability in Mandarin Chinese, as well as other European and Asian languages would be a plus.

Department: Security Studies and Criminology


This scholarship is available to eligible candidates to undertake a direct entry 3-year PhD program.

To be eligible for a scholarship, applicants are expected to have a record of excellent academic performance and preferably, additional relevant research experience and/or peer-reviewed research activity in line with the University’s scholarship rating guidelines. Refer to the Rating Scholarship Applicants section for more information about these guidelines.

Scholarship Components

The scholarship is comprised of the Tuition Fee Offset funded by the Research Training Program (RTP) and a Macquarie University Research Excellence Scholarship (MQRES) Stipend.

The value and tenure of the scholarship is:

  • RTP Tuition Fee Offset; and
  • MQRES Stipend (living allowance)

This scholarship provides a stipend currently valued at AUD $27,596 per annum (tax exempt). The scholarship has been approved for a maximum of 3 years.

Contact Details

Name: Professor Bates Gill
Email: bates.gill@mq.edu.au
Phone: 0481 033 530

How to Apply

New applicants to Macquarie University will need to complete the Online HDR Candidature and Scholarship Application via the Online Application System and arrange for two academic referee reports to be submitted to the Office of HDR Training and Partnerships. Further information can be found on the How to Apply page.

Applicants who are currently enrolled in an MQ HDR program or applicants who hold a Macquarie University candidature offer LESS than 12 months old:

  • Complete and submit the HDR Application for Scholarship Only form (available on the OHDRTP Forms) and include supporting documentation, such as:
    • any additional information or research output since original application and commencement
    • updated CV
    • offer letter and/or research student profile
  • Indicate the reference under the scholarship details question
  • Email the application to hdrschol@mq.edu.au in ONE pdf document and MUST indicate in the subject line the MQ ID, full name and reference
  • Request their referees to send the Academic Referee Reports directly to hdrschol@mq.edu.au.

While current candidates are eligible to apply, any consumed prior enrolment will be counted as advanced standing and will reduce the maximum scholarship duration offered.

Please note, at the start of your application you should select the scholarship type of "HDR Strategic and Project Specific".

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