Sunday, 5 February 2017

Calls for US bases in Australia to be re-evaluated

Margaret Beavis, head of the Medical Association for the Prevention of War, has an opinion piece in the Sydney Morning Herald calling for new thinking on the Australia/US alliance. The position we find ourselves in now with a reckless narcissist in charge of the biggest military in the world is ominous in light of how freely we've followed them into war until now.

Do we really want to be a part of a nuclear exchange? Trump's temperament and his new people he has running the show doesn't inspire confidence of avoiding another US war. Pine Gap in Australia is of course a target in any such exchange.

If the alliance is to remain relevant we need a leader in charge who can stand up to the US when it's needed. Australia first if you will. Not a Turnbull spineless yes man that he is. If our friendship is so strong, then friends tell each other when one of them is about to make a big mistake.

Surely avoiding a nuclear war is high stakes. Pine Gap and the rest of the US bases here should surely be in play in such a high stakes game, and Australia should realise this. If avoiding a nuclear war means shutting down Pine Gap and other US bases here, then so be it.

Australia has US marines based in Darwin, multiple surveillance bases and about 40 senior Australian Army officers working in US Pacific Command. This includes an Australian Army Major-General serving as the deputy commanding general – operations, US Army Pacific. This intense enmeshment reinforces Australia's past behaviour; when the US goes to war, we have little option but to follow. With the US building up its military bases around China, American threats of blockades in the South China Sea are reckless and provocative. A war between China and the US is not in Australia's interests or anyone's interests.

Another example of US influence has been Australia's behaviour at recent UN talks regarding the nuclear weapons ban treaty. Australia has acted as US proxy in trying to thwart these negotiations. So much so that the Australian delegation was dubbed the chief of the "weasel states". Despite Australia's efforts, negotiations for a treaty will go ahead this year. Australia has not committed to participating, which calls into question our government's commitment to the UN.

Australia urgently needs to re-evaluate its American bases and promote steps that defuse rather than intensify regional tensions. Having senior Australian defence personnel integrated into the US defence force hinders Australia acting independently. Do we want Australia to be capable of making strategic decisions in the national interest? New Zealand clearly acts in its own interest and remains an ally.

With Trump now the new US Commander-in-Chief, is it wise that we allow ourselves to be so automatically tied to American foreign policy? War in our region would be a humanitarian catastrophe for all involved. Sydney Morning Herald


"president"? Oh FFS :s