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contradictions « Previous | |Next »
April 26, 2004

Australia under the Howard Government goes all righteous about Iraq by saying that it is doing the right thing there. A big play is made of the ethics. Then the Howard Government puts the ethics to one side when it is dealing with East Timor-Leste over shared seabed resources. Australia is seen to be doing the wrong thing by some.

CartoonPettyVH1.jpg
Bruce Petty

Of course, those who defend Australia's actions to limit East Timor-Leste's access to the oil and gas resources talk in terms of international law not ethics. But they continue to talk in terms of ethics not international law to justify the occupation of Iraq.

Funny the way that acting in the national interest is framed differently from issue to issue, isn't it? It makes you wonder if 'the national interest' is not just an empty container into which anything can be poured.

Some comments on the issue by Australian webloggers here and here.

Our foreign policy is meant to advance Australia's national interest. Conservatives talk about advancing the national interest; with the 'the' implying that there is only one real account of the national interest. For the conservative politicians that appears to mean economic security, border security and helping to shape a more secure world.

So we give East Timor-Leste a good kick to protect our economic security?

What does economic security mean? Getting the resources to ensure our economic growth? Is that what is meant by maximising opportunities to maximize our jobs, increase our standard of living and protect our way of life?Is the national interest framed in terms of a narrowly conceived utilitarian calculus of national welfare?Is it what the bean counters mean?

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 9:21 AM | | Comments (0)
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