SCOTT BURCHILL. Decoding Australian foreign policy

Some assistance is required for those trying to understand contemporary Australian foreign policy these days, especially those looking for consistency, principles and ethics which seem all too illusive. Below is a brief guide, one that generally holds regardless of whether the LNP or ALP is in power.

Crimes we aren’t concerned about because they are committed by friends and allies

– French state violence against the gilets jaunes in Paris

– Indian state terrorism in Kashmir

– United Kingdom and United States-backed Saudi and UAE atrocities in Yemen

– Washington’s attempt to overthrow the government of Venezuela

Crimes we didn’t or don’t care about or quietly support

– Indonesia’s occupation of East Timor

– Indonesian military and police violence against West Papuans

– Israel’s bombing of Syria

– Israel’s bombing of Lebanon

– Israel’s bombing of Iraq

– Israel’s attacks on civilians in Gaza

– the consequences of our invasion for the people of Iraq

Crimes we have never heard about or pretend we haven’t

 Morocco’s illegal occupation of Western Sahara

– United States and European support for terrorists in Syria

– NATO’s attack on Libya

– Israel’s crimes in Gaza and on the West Bank

Freedom of navigation that must be upheld and maintained

– in the South China Sea

– in the Straits of Hormuz

Freedom of navigation that we aren’t interested in

– in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Gaza (illegal blockade by Israel)

Unacceptable racism and bigotry

– anti-Americanism

– anti-Semitism

Acceptable racism and bigotry

– Russophobia

– Sinophobia (more recently)

– Islamophobia

Media freedom, prisoners and journalists we support

– Peter Greste in Egypt

– Yang Hengjun in China

Media freedom, prisoners and journalists we oppose

– Julian Assange in the United Kingdom

– Edward Snowden in Russia

– Chelsea Manning in the United States

Foreign influence, spying and interference that concerns us

– from China

– from Russia

Foreign influence, spying and interference we don’t care about and never mention

– from the United States

– from the United Kingdom

– from Israel

– from Indonesia  

Countries we like to attack, invade and occupy

– North Korea

– Vietnam

– Afghanistan

– Iraq

– Libya

– Syria

Attacks on the ‘rules-based world order’ and international law that we oppose

Russia’s annexation of Crimea

– China’s repression of the Uighur in Xinjiang Province

– China’s building of air strips in the South China Sea

– Iran’s seizure of ships in the Straits of Hormuz

Attacks on the ‘rules-based world order’ and International law that we support or stay silent about

– Israel’s illegal siege of Gaza

– Israel’s violent colonisation of the West Bank

– Washington’s unilateral withdrawal from the JCPOA with Iran

– Washington’s withdrawal from the Paris climate change agreement

– Washington’s recognition of the Golan Heights as part of Israel

– Washington’s embassy move and recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital

– Washington’s withdrawal from the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty

– Turkey’s illegal occupation of northern Cyprus

– the ICJ ruling Israel’s separation wall illegal

– the ICJ ruling against the US for illegally mining Managua Harbor in Nicaragua

– US and UK ignoring ICJ opinion on Chagos Islands (aka Diego Garcia) 

– criticism of the United Nations

– Turkey’s invasion of Syria

Economic sanction we approve of

– against Iraq (previously)

– against Iran

– against Cuba

– against Venezuela

– against Russia

Economic sanctions we oppose

– BDS against Israel

Protests we support

– in Hong Kong

– the Uighur in China

– anti-Putin protestors in Russia

– the Rohingya in Myanmar

Protests we oppose and ignore

– those concerned about anthropocentric climate change

– freedom and self-determination for West Papuans

– anti-colonial protests by Palestinians

– self-determination for Kurds

– self-determination for Tibet

Terrorists and terrorism we oppose

– A Qaeda

– Hamas

– Hezbollah


– Syrian state terrorism

– Iranian state terrorism

– Taliban

– Boko Haram

Terrorists and terrorism we support

Free Syrian Army

– Israeli state terrorism

– US state terrorism

– Saudi state terrorism

– UAE state terrorism

– Turkey’s state terrorism against Kurds

Separation walls we oppose

– the Berlin Wall

Separation walls we stay quiet about

– the US-Mexico wall

Separation walls we support

– Israel with the West Bank and Gaza

– US embassy in Jerusalem

Free trade we like and support

– traded commodities 

– money 

– foreign investment 

– tourism
– foreign students (except Chinese spies)

– globalisation

Free trade we oppose

– asylum seekers 

– refugees

–  immigrants

– anything that undermines our sovereignty (all trade)

– “negative globalism”

Countries which can do anything to us knowing we will always remain faithful

– Israel

– the United States

– Indonesia


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5 Responses to SCOTT BURCHILL. Decoding Australian foreign policy

  1. Avatar Kien Choong says:

    Ha ha, you should send a new “balance sheet” every year! So we can assess if the balance sheet is improving or getting worse.

  2. Avatar Michael Delaney says:

    Just Brilliant. So good . So true. Thank you

  3. Avatar Kevin Bain says:

    The balance sheet is a sad document, if it was in corporate land there’d be much agitation, but in de-politicised Australia the masses are quiescent but for the climate issue. It omitted the Sri Lanka peace framework of 2015, stalled by their govt, but with Australia still providing aid, being compromised by their government’s cooperation in stopping Tamils fleeing.

    We robustly criticise politicians as the actors yet let off lightly the observers: the mainstream foreign policy media commentators and wonks in Lowy, AIIA and the universities. But should we expect more of them? The cast of eminent retired experts and leaders who offer this blog their swingeing critiques show distributed leadership, but those in authority bite their tongues too much. They seem so overwhelmed by realpolitik or their comfort in the rhetoric of diplomacy that policy egregiousness as a given. Too much reading of Machiavelli in times past?

    Is it only after some violent catastrophe that “sensible” experts rooted in the sensible centre will get agitated too? The extended quote from the film Network (1976) was ‘I’m as mad as hell and I’m not gonna take this anymore! Things have got to change. But first, you’ve gotta get mad!’

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