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Yet another war to fight « Previous | |Next »
July 12, 2003

Its like a rerun off an old movie. Alexander Downer has begun to make the case for Australia's next war as Australia joined up to a US-led plan to intercept North Korean ships and aircraft suspected of trafficking in weapons of mass destruction in international waters. Urgent action is necessary against the menace of maverick states.

And the menace? There is a beat up about North Korean nuke missiles falling on Darwin or Cairns. The very possibility is enough for Australia to agree to the US plan to stop North Korean ships and planes carrying nukes, missiles, drugs with military force.

With Downer and Howard we have a new foreign policy based on overt hostility as a response to security threats. It is one that works outside the UN and as it premised on a dismissal of the UN. And the security threat to Australia? Here is Downer:

"We need to send an unambigous message to proliferators: acquiring and pursuing weapons of mass destruction violates basic standards of responsible international behavior and will not be tolerated. We have a shared responsibility to hold cheats to account."
(no link AFR, July12-13, 2003, p. 48)

There needs to be a qualifier here. Downer's 'we' is the interantional community. However, it is 'basic standards of responsible international behaviour' as interpreted by the US. After all there is no suggestion of holding Israel to account. Or Pakistan or India.

Downer's statement, that the "international community must work together to reinforce adherence to non-proliferation norms---take firm action to counter proliferation whenever and wherever it ocurs" has to be taken with a grain of salt.

Would not North Korea see the blockade of its ships on the high seas and the forcing down of aircraft in airspace as a threat to its national sovereignty? I cannot see Japan, South Korea and China going along with this military adventurism. (subscription required, AFR)

No matter. Australia's security interests are now identical with those of the US. Australia's participation in US military operations around the globe is the price Australia must pay to preserve the US alliance. Australia now sings Washington's tune. So we have to expect lots more song on the airwaves about needing to protect Australia from missiles with nuke warheads. The chorus will be about the missiles falling on us coming from northern Asia.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 4:39 PM | | Comments (0)