Friday, December 19, 2003

Buddies with the US at all costs, and wide open to attack: "The foreign policy of the Howard Government over the past 18 months has been one of unhesitating, unqualified and - given the attitude of many other states - conspicuous support for the United States in its wars against terrorism and against Iraq. It is a policy that can be defended both on Menziean grounds - that is, protecting one's security and paying one's insurance premium to a great and powerful friend - and in terms of our values, given that it was tyranny and terror that were being attacked. I would like to explain why, on realist grounds, I do not find it a compelling argument."

"By being an early, unqualified and high-profile supporter of US policy, when so many others were expressing serious reservations, Australia may well have increased rather than decreased its chances of becoming a terrorist target. In international politics, expectations of gratitude rest on shaky foundations. It was George Washington who observed that "no nation can be entrusted further than it is bound by its interests" and that "there can be no greater error than to expect or calculate on real favours from nation to nation"... These words of Washington's are just as relevant when considering the assumption that a great deal of weight should be attached to cultural affinity. The whole notion that cultural affinity can be the solid foundation of a relationship needs to be treated warily."

The concept of an 'insurance premium' paid to a 'great and powerful friend' is pure folly. These comments from a conservative thinktank illustrate how Howard's policy is not only extreme but absurd.

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