Friday, 3 February 2017

Australian "alliance shock" with the US (video)

US military bases in Australia

With the rise and election of Trump, questions about our alliance with the US have been rumbling along for quite a while now. Given the completely inappropriate way Trump had a hissy fit at our inglorious leader over hardly anything, the questioning of the alliance has become much louder the last few days here.

Particularly for Trump's callous disregard for the lives we've shed over decades along side the US in war, or the weight we pull as a nation ourselves. Regardless of the politics of war, our troops and special forces gain much admiration in Iraq and Afghanistan. Australians were being sent to Vietnam before they could vote. US has multiple bases in Australia, including Pine Gap which is vital for missile targeting. Yet Trump seems not to recognise this and is presently treating Australia like shit.

The truth is the alliance with the US isn't worth the paper it's written on, as any New Zealander would tell you. The US won't automatically come running if we're attacked. It's all up to the leadership of the day and what they decide.

In Australia's critical moment of need in a crisis with Indonesia in 1962, the US refused even to go that far. The Kennedy administration declined Australia's request to invoke the treaty.

Richard Nixon put Australia on what he called his "shit list" because of Gough Whitlam's robust nationalism.

John Howard suffered a jolting disappointment when he asked the Clinton Administration for ground troops in the East Timor crisis of 1999 and was rebuffed.

How does today's ruction rank? The veteran Australian diplomat Dick Woolcott, who has witnessed the entire life of the 65-year-old alliance, says that this "is right at the top of the list" of difficulties.

Because, says Woolcott, it seems to be a symptom of a fundamental problem with the US under Trump: "I don't think he much cares about US allies." Sydney Morning Herald