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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

Time will tell « Previous | |Next »
March 19, 2003

Accepting that the war will be over quickly American liberals are turning their attention to the long-term consequences of their actions. Paul Krugman in his 'Things to Come column' says:

"What frightens me is the aftermath — and I'm not just talking about the problems of postwar occupation. I'm worried about what will happen beyond Iraq — in the world at large, and here at home."

He makes two points. First the distrust of the Bush administration as a result of its actions over the past two years:

"Victory in Iraq won't end the world's distrust of the United States because the Bush administration has made it clear, over and over again, that it doesn't play by the rules. Remember: this administration told Europe to take a hike on global warming, told Russia to take a hike on missile defense, told developing countries to take a hike on trade in lifesaving pharmaceuticals, told Mexico to take a hike on immigration, mortally insulted the Turks and pulled out of the International Criminal Court — all in just two years."

Secondly, the consequences of the US strategy in the Middle East:

"It's a matter of public record that this war with Iraq is largely the brainchild of a group of neoconservative intellectuals, who view it as a pilot project...In February 2003, according to Ha'aretz, an Israeli newspaper, Under Secretary of State John Bolton told Israeli officials that after defeating Iraq the United States would "deal with" Iran, Syria and North Korea.

Will Iraq really be the first of many? It seems all too likely — and not only because the "Bush doctrine" seems to call for a series of wars. Regimes that have been targeted, or think they may have been targeted, aren't likely to sit quietly and wait their turn: they're going to arm themselves to the teeth, and perhaps strike first."

All this means more hostility and ill will towards the US. This will not go down well within the US once the cracks in the US media appear and US citizens begin to doubt the 'its all just anti-Americanism. story that was spun by the media.

And Australia as the loyal ally of the US? Well, the Howard Government's foreign policy of throwing our lot in with our powerful friend for the sake of the alliance means that Australia is definitely offside with our Asian neighbours. Australia is isolated in the region once more. It is useful to look at the Howard Government through Indonesian eyes:

"Australia's Prime Minister John Howard, who is a strong supporter of Washington's hardline policy towards Iraq and is contributing troops and warships, was not even invited to the meeting. This painfully reveals to Australians that in the framework of current American geopolitics, it only occupies a marginal position. "

So speaks the Jakarta Post

We Australians seem to have closed our minds to the conseqences of a stark defiance of the balance of regional opinion. Blocked it out. Somehow we don't live in the region anymore.

If the nation states in the region--Indonesia, Malaysia China---are the Other, then Australia has become a fortress in a hostile geopolitical landscape. That confirms the conservative view of the world as a nasty brutal place. They are convinced that their view of things reflects the fundamental furniture of the world.

What are Australian liberals saying about this? Are they "sleepwalking through history"? Do they have their finger on the fragile political order in Indonesia? Do they fear that this order will easily be destabilized in a serious manner?

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 8:14 AM | | Comments (4)


>>"...Australia is definitely offside with our Asian neighbours. Australia is isolated in the region once more. |||||| Gary, I don't know about this. While it is certainly true that hundreds of mllions of Muslims in Indonesia and Malaysia are upset with Australia, the major player in Asia, Japan, has quietly supported the USA. China is also eager not to get offside with the US, since that would severely harm their dream to become the richest country in the world. I suspect they are not happy to see Australia playing the deputy dawg role, but are not surprised this is the case.

yeah I'm not that sure myself. I agree about Japan--in favour of war with Iraq.
I found a bit of stuff in Indonesia latter which I put in. They are opposed, as is Malaysia.

China---My remarkss were based on China not supporting US action in the Security Council.

South Korea also came out in support of the US today.

It is not looking good for me.
I may have to revise the Australia isolated argument.