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All the way with the USA? « Previous | |Next »
April 6, 2003

There are a couple of lines in thsi piece in Australian Financial Review that are of interest in trhe light of the previous post. The four paragraphs are:

"The top US military commander [Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff] has publicly asked for Australian forces to help stabilise Iraq after the war is over, even though the Howard government has ruled out a peacekeeping role...The potential tension between Australia and the US over a longer-term deployment to Iraq came as US forces seized control of Baghdad's international airport on Friday....Defence Minister Robert Hill has started to adjust the government's public rhetoric about Australia's postwar military presence, apparently in anticipation of a US request...

....After repeated government declarations that Australia would not participate in a peacekeeping force, Senator Hill said on Tuesday: "While we don't see a major role for the ADF in the postwar environment, Australia is committed to playing a worthwhile part in the rebuilding of Iraq." It was an ambiguous remark, but an apparent acknowledgement that a US demand was likely and that Australia would have to offer to play some postwar role in Iraq."

Note the little words 'have to'. It implies that Australia will be required to go along with US requests. The two journalists, Peter Hartcher and Geoffrey Barker, then say:

"Politically, the government is aware that its US ally is becoming more demanding as the world's hyperpower, and Canberra has shown no sign of daring to say no to any US demand."

Canberra has an opportunity to stand up to Washington by refusing to be part of an occupying force, limiting its role to humanitarian aid and advocating that the UN should be in charge of nation-building Iraq. Canberra does not have the courage to say no to the Bush Administration.

The lack of resolute political will of the Howard Governemnt will reinforce its image in the Asia Pacific Rim as the deputy sheriff of the USA posse.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 2:27 PM | | Comments (2)


Hell no Gary, I'm with the Yanks on this one. I don't see why the countries engaged in the heavy lifting in Iraq(relatively speaking of course) shouldn't be at the fore-front in its uplifting. If the coalition of the unwilling want a nice place of their own to liberate, let them start with that other axis of evil-North Korea. They have my blessing.

Fair enough. But the US occcupation will have problems of being accepted legitmately in the region by the other Arab states.
Once the military bit is over we come back to the politics of the region.