Anzus, shared values and sovereignty: not what it seemsMar 27, 2023
Recently, Australia’s Defence Minister, Richard Marles said “Our alliance with the United States is completely central to our national security and to our worldview”.
This raises three questions:
1. Does our relationship with the US enhance Australia’s sovereignty?
2. Does Australia share US values?
3. Does Australia face a “China threat”?
The Australian government gives assurances that the ANZUS Alliance is necessary for Australia’s protection. That is false and misleading. The ANZUS Treaty is only an agreement to consult and it is far from a security guarantee. A security guarantee was always resisted by the US. Australians dare not assume that America will provide military support in the case of an attack.
In Vietnam, Iraq, Korea, and Afghanistan, Australia was “buying” protection by participating with the US in its wars. The ANZUS Alliance has perpetuated a craven unquestioning fealty to the US. In 2019, Scott Morrison said that Australia and the US had “the most perfect of relationships”. In 2002, John Howard talked about Australia being “the best kind of friend” the US could ask for, and in 2017, Malcolm Turnbull told Trump, “We are joined at the hip.”
As Malcolm Fraser wrote in Dangerous Allies, “The most likely reason that Australia would need to confront an aggressive foe is our strong alliance with the United States. We need America for defence from an attacker who is likely to attack us because we use America for defence.”
Abrogation of Australian sovereignty
Australia’s 2014 Force Posture Agreement (FPA) with USA states that US materiel and facilities based in Australia are for the exclusive use of US Forces which have exclusive control over, access to, and the use of such materiel. Marles suggests that Australia has “enhanced” its sovereignty by allowing US military forces and weapons into this country under exclusive US control. That is nonsense! The FPA plainly undermines Australia’s sovereignty.
Despite talk in Australia about our “shared values” with America, there is a huge gulf on many issues between Australian values and those of the US. Canberra does not describe itself as Reagan’s “shining city on a hill” nor Madeleine Albright’s “indispensable nation” and, unlike America, Australia does not imagine that it has a “special covenant” with God.
American incarceration rates are the highest in the world and its adherence to capital punishment results in one of the highest rates of execution in the world. Gun control in America is out of control! Too many families grieve for the loss of their children gunned down while attending school.
After WWII, the US played the leading role in making the rules for the international community, but it almost immediately began breaking them. Donald Tusk (President of the European Council 2014-19) has expressed concern that “The rules-based international order is being challenged, not by the usual suspects, but by its main architect and guarantor, the US.”
The China threat
There is no evidence that China poses a threat to our liberal democratic system or our values. In 2017, Xi Jinping said “We will not import a foreign model. Nor will we export a China model, nor ask others to copy Chinese methods.” While the US has 800 military bases around the world, China has only one, located in Djibouti on the Horn of Africa. The US fears that China will overtake it and America will cease to be the sole superpower, a status to which America is addicted.
The US is responsible for generating the “China Threat”. There is bipartisan consensus in the US that China represents a challenge that must be contained. Foreign Policy has reported that Biden is Now All-In on Taking Out China and the Australian Financial Review wrote that Containing China is Biden’s Explicit Goal.
The US has been at war for 93% of the time since it was founded in 1776, while China has not been at war with any country since a brief three-week border war with Vietnam in 1979 (from which China withdrew). At the age of 94, former US President, Jimmy Carter described the US as “The most warlike nation in the history of the world.”
The US 2024 budget proposals would increase military spending to a record $842 billion. On 9 March 2023, The White House issued a Fact Sheet saying the Budget builds on proposals to “continue outcompeting China”. Rather than containing China, there is a need to engage with China about ways for coexistence. Détente requires reciprocity.
The scary clowns are in charge of the circus
In March 2023, the Sydney Morning Herald published a series labelled Red Alert, justifying Australia going to war with China. One “expert”, Peter Jennings goes so far as to say “I want us to think about what we can do which gives us a capacity . . .. to be able to sink the Chinese Navy and to bring down their aircraft?” That is not just anti-China bias, it is sheer lunacy. While China has no plan to attack Australia, if Australia does act as these “experts” suggest, China must retaliate. In that event, the US can be expected to come to Australia’s aid with arms and ammunition but NO BOOTS ON THE GROUND.
However, none of Australia’s political leaders, not Albanese, nor Marles, nor Wong has said a word to discredit this ghastly nonsense. Instead, our Prime Minister, talking of Aukus, described this as “the single biggest leap in our defence capability in our history”.
The AFR reports Marles as saying, “The true intent of this capability is to provide for the stability and for the peace of our region” and our Prime Minister argues that the submarine capability is about ensuring a “ more peaceful, secure world.” The White House Fact Sheet claims that the massive US Budget supports a “safe, secure, and effective nuclear stockpile; and reduces nuclear risks”.
Now, we know the truth. Nukes are about a safer and more secure world.
The clowns have taken charge!