Australia’s daft Foreign Policy

Blog 197. A New Zealander with Australian grand-children, looks askance at Australian foreign policy. To help preserve its global economic dominance, your American ally appears prepared to fight China to the last dollar in your treasury. 

As a New Zealand resident and citizen, with two young grand-children being brought up in Australia, I look on with trepidation and amazement as the government of Australia actively pursues policies that can have no other outcome than grievous self-inflicted injury to the whole nation.

In his “Island off the coast of Asia,” Clinton Fernandez convincingly ascribes Australia’s self-defeating foreign policy to a post-imperial cringe. Having been brought up as a colony habituated to the protection of a benign imperial power, Australia’s leaders found intolerable the thought of continued survival without such a protector. When Britain’s power faded, Australia had to swap loyalties to the USA, as the next best father-figure. However, whereas Britain looked on the colony through the indulgent eyes of a parent, the USA looks on through the eyes of a significantly less-doting and more manipulative step-parent. Australia has to work hard to ingratiate itself with and maintain the affection of its new parent.

Defense analysts, such as Hugh White, convincingly advocate an Australian defence policy that is not reliant on military alliance with a super-power. He is sufficiently paranoid in his appreciation of Australia’s geo-political situation to be more than generous in his consequent budgetary recommendations. Those with fortunes and careers invested in the defence complex have no cause for alarm that such an independent policy might work to the detriment of their livelihoods.

Provided shipping lines remain open, everything that China would want from the Australian continent is already available for a far lower cost than an attempted invasion. It would only be if Australia could jeopardise China’s entire economy, as the USA envisages doing to China’s, that China might feel forced to embark on such an hazardous adventure – and look at the obstacles the USA is facing over similarly vast distances! Nevertheless, as things stand, the Australian leadership looks most unlikely to change its stance in regard to its current, superpower-dependent, foreign and defence policies.

Machiavelli advised the Princes of weaker states to only ally with much stronger states in the direst of emergencies. On alliance, the weaker state, which probably has relatively few enemies, automatically assumes the enmity of the partner’s many more enemies. Though a defence pact might give guarantees of the larger power’s assistance should the weaker come under attack from a third party, when the time comes, the smaller power has no sanctions with which to enforce observance of those guarantees. The stronger state will decide whether or not such assistance is, at that moment, in its national interest and will act accordingly. This is exactly as it would behave, irrespective of whether or not the smaller state had inflicted upon itself the liabilities of a treaty.

Since WWII, Australian policy makers have been so blinded by the need to retain their new step-parent’s interest, that they have been repeatedly prepared to sacrifice Australia’s other interests to the preservation of this one dangerous liaison. Australians cannot blame the USA if consequently, to help preserve its global economic dominance, it is prepared to fight China to the last dollar in Australia’s treasury. Given this obsequious policy:-

  1. Australia has to treat any US enemy as though it were its own. Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq and now China were all enemies Australia would not have had to engage were it not for its US dalliance. The latest enmity with China is now looking as though it will prove by far the most expensive.
  2. Australia is now asked to contest China’s position in the South China Sea through which passes 66% of Australia’s’ foreign trade. It is overwhelmingly in Australia’s national interest (as it is in China’s) to ensure that the Sea remains conflict-free and open to all vessels with pacific intent.  Current US policy would appear to be to reduce China’s trade to a minimum. With their over-anxiety to appear useful to their demanding ally, Australia’s leaders are prepared to back the side acting in despite of their national interest. Australia’s leaders seem prepared to jeopardise trade with their main trading partner ($240 billion p.a.) to please the USA ($60 billion p.a.)
  3.  In doing so, Australia cannot avoid making itself and its supply lines a target for Russian and Chinese missiles, nations with whom it has no direct quarrel, other than via the US proxy. To make such targeting more certain, Australia has added multiple US intelligence and military bases to its territory.
  4. To ensure interoperability with the aggressor’s forces, Australia has to buy the most expensive weapons on the market. Were it to shop elsewhere, it would be able to find equivalent equipment at far lower prices.
  5. Complacent, behind the US shield, Australia is not obliged to build up and empower its own diplomacy with Asian and Pacific neighbours, nor seek its own solutions to the management of its security and defence requirements. Alternative and preferable opportunities are therefore closed off.
  6. Australia is a nation most at risk from climate change. Were it to introduce effective climate and environmental regulations, it would give offence to a US Administration that doesn’t believe in placing environmental matters before economic advantage.
  7.  At great cost to itself and to other industrially underdeveloped states, as consumers, rather than producers of patentable materials, Australia has supported the USA’s successful attempts to expand the protection offered by international patent and Intellectual Property Agreements.
  8. Australia has had to limit its access to Asian technology (such as Huawei), with all the long-term costs that potential technological backwardness will entail. At the same time, it has to restrict the trading options of its own companies, by scrupulously enforcing US sanctions on other potential markets.
  9. To support the intelligence network its US alliance depends on, Australia has to sacrifice the privacy and the rights of its own citizens, such as Julian Assange, at significant and incalculable political cost around the world.
  10. In order to enable this march of folly, Australia has to leave its media wide open to manipulation by American and Zionist influences that do not have Australia’s best interests at heart. Thereby, it awakens within its multi-racial community all the disharmonies of xenophobia and possible conflict with its natural Asian and Pacific neighbours.
  11. To pursue the above policies, Australians have to appoint as their leaders alliance-friendly idiots and  ideologues, apparently unable to address the real problems their nation faces
  12. Finally, Australians’ should be under no illusion of an overlapping, kinship with their American counterparts. Given the major differences in national values (of the people, if not of their leaders) It is not a natural alliance. These differences of national character and values are summed up by George Browning, Anglican Bishop of Canberra and Goulburn 1993 -2008

Belief in untruths is the only and unjustifiable reason for the above conflict. South China Sea

(This blog was published in Australia’s Pearls & Irritations 21/8/20)

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