Saturday, September 27, 2003

Why we're all the way with the USA: Paul Sheehan tries to defend the 'all the way with USA' foreign policy of Australia. Firstly, he claims that Australia is 'altruistic', which explains why it has been involved in so many foreign wars over more than a century. A better explanation would be that Australia is 'colonial', ie that it is brought up to believe that it has a duty to serve the mother country, whether Britain or the new empire, USA.

The core of his argument, however, is that 'we need a great and muscular ally if the satay hits the fan.' This notion has certainly guided Australian foreign policy for a long time but it is an elementary fallacy that dies hard. Nations or empires do not act our of loyalty, friendship or past services. They operate on the basis of national interest, or self interest. The US will 'aid' Australia on the basis of its perceived national interest, and nothing else. The notion that Australia putting loyalty donations in the US bank means that we can make a withdrawal when we need to is simply juvenile. The second that it is not in the US' national interest, Australia will be abandoned just as fast as Britain abandoned us after Singapore, and we'll keep a couple of your divisions, thank you.

Finally, Sheehan repackages the old 'yellow peril' fantasy, only this time it is not communist gooks, but brown-skinned Islamic fanatics (Indonesia), who are a scary threat of invasion of our country, and the only policy is alliance with the US at the cost of antagonizing the whole of East and South East Asia. Antagonizing and insulting our neighbours is a stupidity, made doubly so by the fact that the US in the unlikely event of 'invasion' would not lift a finger to help if it was not in their interest.

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