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Militarization of space « Previous | |Next »
July 9, 2004

Whilst the Bush administration was beating up the ALP for its Iraq policy, Australia and the US quietly signed a 25 year agreement on ballistic missile defence co-operation in Washington.

That means Australia withdraws behind the US defensive shield. That means Australia rejects the Anti Ballistic Missile treaty and becomes a party to the militarization of space.

Whose missiles are we defending ourselves from by joining the "Son of Star Wars"? Those of Indonesia? China? North Korea? Pakistan?

Does that Agreement mean the US will use Australian continental territory to test the missiles? What we do know is that the early warning signals of incoming missiles on the US will be relayed through Australia's Pine Gap ground station, so making Australia a potential target in any large-scale attack against the US.

News reports say that Robert Hill, the Australian Minister of Defence, is arguing that opposing the agreement is anti-American.

Is desiring to dominate the Asia-Pacific Rim from above a good thing? Will this defensive shield heighten the tensions of the region by putting Indonesia and China offside.

10 July
Adele Horin in the Sydney Morning Herald has a go at trying to explain Australia's grovelling foreign policy to some European friends visiting Sydney. Needless to say they were not convinced by the rationale.

11 July
An article by Mark Forbes in The Age on the Son of Star Wars. He says that "the Defence Department states the ballistic missile threat to Australia is negligible, with no potential foes possessing missiles that could reach our shores....Indonesia has condemned Australian involvement in missile defence, arguing against the need for such a shield and pointing out its potential destabilising impact on the region. China is also critical of the move, warning it could lead to missile proliferation, but Japan has backed the program."

The destablizing impact on the region is sketched by Mark in terms of an arm race. He says that regional critics argue that the missile defence system will increase missile proliferation:

"Put simply, if countries such as China believe their small stocks of ballistic missiles no longer present on effective deterrent to the US, then it will expand its missile fleet on the theory that some would penetrate the shield. Other potential rivals such as Pakistan or India may then push to increase missile stocks to counter the possible Chinese threat."

The consequences of Australia signing the Agreement is that it reinforces the perceptions of Australia being a "deputy sheriff" of the US, lacking an independent voice, and becoming ever more isolated from the region.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 1:47 PM | | Comments (0)