Saturday, 26 April 2014

End US alliance - Ex PM Fraser

If nothing else this illustrates just how far the US (and Australia) have gone from the values they held in the past. Malcolm Fraser is a prime minister from the early 80's, just when Reaganomics was starting to take off and at the height of the cold war with Russia. Those times required cool heads, something that is evidently lacking in the leadership today of both the US and Australia. Every time there's some conflict somewhere in the world, you get the drums of war coming out of Washington with Canberra nodding sheepishly in agreement (pun intended). We never used to be like this, virtually a satellite of the US. Fraser obviously remembers when we weren't.

Since Fraser's prime ministership he appears to have kept the values that he held back then, so much so that in recent years he's resigned from the Lieberal party in disgust. Particularly over the treatment of asylum seekers I think. Today's Lieberals don't represent the same party that he lead way back 30 years ago. 

Make no mistake, this will be bloody big news in Washington. No PM, or Ex PM, in recent decades, has dared to question our US alliance. Fraser has come out and seriously questioned the ANZUS alliance (Australia, New Zealand, US) going so far as saying the US troops in Darwin should be sent home. But even more disturbing for Washington will be his assertion that Pine Gap should be closed down. 

For those overseas who don't know, Pine Gap is described as Australia's most secret place. It's a joint US/Australian satellite facility, instrumental in any war the US takes part in now. Indeed, the current US drone strikes in various parts of the world would be heavily reliant on Pine Gap. Something about tracking things and targeting and all; I'm no rocket scientist :s
His answer is to pull back by closing down the US training bases in the Northern Territory and advising Washington that Pine Gap will also be shut down.

Hugh White, a strategic policy expert at the Australian National University, described Mr Fraser's position, which is set out extensively in a new book by the former Liberal called Dangerous Allies, as "the most radical position argued by a former Australian prime minister on a strategic question since Billy Hughes in the 1930s". Read more
What's more, he's highly critical of the current alliance generally, saying that over time Australia has given up it's defence autonomy to the US. And why now is he so worried? Because he doesn't want Australia being automatically dragged in to some stupid war with China, which it could be argued is quite possible given the US's new power projection efforts in the Pacific. Or to put it more plainly, the US's stance on China's dispute with Japan, where it's backed Japan.
The comments represent the most serious questioning by a current or past government leader of the dominant assumption in Australia's foreign policy since World War II – namely, that an ever closer US alliance is inherently in Australia's security interests. 

With US President Barack Obama visiting north Asia (although not China) and confirming the US would back Japan in any conflict over disputed islands in the East China Sea, Mr Fraser has called for a more basic interpretation of the ANZUS treaty, restricting its scope to consultation initially – rather than the assumption of automatic military involvement. 

He has also called for a new debate about Australian-American military-to-military ties, warning that the secretive Pine Gap facility would become a military target as it would likely be pivotal to the US capability to identify and neutralise Chinese nuclear weapons sites. Read more
Personally I think the alliance should have been chucked out over the Iraq war fiasco. If the alliance means that we have to follow a dieing superpower into a war based on lies, without the support of the UN, then surely it's time to start questioning just how "secure" the alliance is making us. As with the drums of war now banging in Washington over some latest conflict, is going into a dumb war with China actually in the interests of our national security? 

What beef have we got with China anyway? We get on OK with them, trade like mad with them. And Japan, why would we want to go to war to defend them? They didn't seem to give a fuck about us down here when they were coming and killing endangered whales in our southern oceans for decades. Let alone what they did to us in WW2. Now we're supposed to defend these people?

I feel a bit bad about mentioning-the-war so to speak, but you know sometimes memories take a long time to die. My father told me some of the things they used to do to prisoners, and I wonder how some of the WW2 diggers and their relo's would think now about defending Japan today after all we went through defending ourselves against them only decades ago. Kokoda trail anyone? What sort of an alliance would force us into something so perverse.

The ANZUS alliance isn't worth the paper it's written on anyway. The US says jump with it and we ask how high, yet if we needed help it's all up to what the US decides. There's no automatic US defence. New Zealand's experience of the ANZUS alliance has been a rocky one too, as evidenced when the US chucked NZ out of it for having a ban on nuclear warships docking in NZ harbours. Um, NZ did get the last laugh though as they didn't follow the US into Iraq. Hah!

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