It is time to question the US alliance

Sep 17, 2022
Flags of China and Australia to illustate their trade relation
Image: iStock

The US wars for the most part have been concocted on lies, illegally declared, and mostly lost.

Three weeks after the simultaneous Japanese attacks on Pearl Harbour, Malaya and the Philippines, Australian Prime Minister John Curtin declared, ‘Without any inhibitions of any kind, I make it quite clear that Australia looks to America, free of any pangs as to our traditional links or kinship with the United Kingdom.’

This was in response to his becoming increasingly disillusioned with British Prime Minister, Winston Churchill’s lack of commitment to defending Australia. Little did he know that at the same time, at the Arcadia Conference, U.S. president, Franklin D. Roosevelt, in like mind to Churchill, believed priority should be given to the war in Europe over that of the Pacific. Curtin, defying Churchill, famously brought the 7th Division back to Australia to defend its own shores.

Little would he suspect that this turning to the U.S. in a situation of peril would still be the defining aspect of Australian foreign policy 80 years later. A whole mythology has grown around the alliance it dares not be questioned.

The foundation of that myth is the premise that, the Americans saved Australia in World War II. While U.S. assistance was most helpful in turning back the Imperial Japanese Forces the idea that Australia was a helpless victim, just ready for the taking, is a gross exaggeration, diminishing the bravery and skill of Australian troops, the first to blunt the Japanese advance and force their retreat in New Guinea during the last part of 1942.

The U.S.- Australia alliance has served the U.S. well, being a natural extension of that nation’s policies, expansionist and exceptionalist ideas contained in the Monroe Doctrine and the idea of Manifest Destiny. How well, however has that alliance served Australia?

I believe, not very well. We have been dragged us into unnecessary, aggressive wars, in South-East Asia and the Middle East which have cost Australian lives. The causes of these wars for the most part have been concocted on lies, illegally declared, and mostly lost.

Conflict in Vietnam begun on the false claim of North Vietnamese gun boats attacking the U.S.S. Maddox. Australia’s involvement was essentially a down-payment on the alliance. As part of that conflict Australia was linked to further illegal un-declared wars in Cambodia and Laos with the terrible effects still felt in those countries until today.

Again, due to the alliance Australia was dragged into another war lacking legitimacy under international law, in the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Unable to form a coalition against Saddam Hussein through the proper agency of the U.N Security Council, the U.S. was able to cobble together a coalition of nations, including Australia, to serve its cause. Even at the time of the invasion the reason, Iraq having Weapons of Mass Destruction, was widely known to be false.

Recently Australia, along with the U.S. and other allies, have exited from Afghanistan following a 20-year fruitless campaign, having succumbed to a rag bag group of theological students, the Taliban. This, another down-payment on the alliance, has served us no end and has resulted in some of our troops charged with war crimes.

We often hear of the U.S. as being the main guarantor of the ‘rules based international order,’ yet as we have seen, illegal wars in South-east Asia and the Middle East clearly demonstrate the falsity of the claim. To that can be added, just counting in our neighbourhood, sustaining brutal dictatorships over many years in Indonesia and the Philippines, along with turning a blind eye to Indonesia’s brutal invasion and occupation of East Timor, leading to some 250,000 deaths from a population of under 1 million.

Currently in the U.S. facedown with China Australia has been called to do much of the heavy lifting on the US behalf, and when the Chinese retaliate by hitting our exports, our erstwhile ally has then stepped in to fill the contracts. While in Australia during 2019, the then U.S. Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo declared, ‘you can sell your soul for a pile of soybeans, or you can protect your people,’ before going back to assist the U.S. in taking the China market for a range of exports Australia had lost, among them soybeans. This arises from the U.S. negotiating the ‘Phase One’ deal requiring the Chinese to take $80 billion of U.S. agricultural exports in 2020-21. Australia exported $200 million of beef to China in January 2020 this crashing to $35 million by July 2021 while U.S. beef exports rose from $15 million to $110 million. U.S. President Joe Biden recently said, concerning China that the U.S. is at Australia’s back. One worries what they are holding!

This anti-China stance taken by Australia, at the behest of the U.S., is costing Australia greatly. Twenty years ago China took just 5% of Australian exports. With its enormous double-digit growth, China now takes around 36% of Australia’s exports, much the same as the next 8 nations combined. That market is now imperilled.

There comes a time when the long-accepted needs be questioned. With the unthinking and assumed acceptance of the U.S. alliance that time has come.

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