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Australia: an independent foreign policy? « Previous | |Next »
March 9, 2012

I've been on the road to Tasmania and experiencing poor connection from Telstra's mobile broadband on the journey. So I haven't had much chance to read the newspapers online or to post. I'm currently in Tunbridge, the service is barely okay (it's limited) and I'm able just able to post.

I'm just catching up with what has been happening since last Friday--eg., Gillard's cabinet reshuffle and Bob Carr becoming Foreign Minister. I see that Hugh White in The Age has nailed the core international relations issue for Australia:

MoirACarr.jpg

White says:

The issue is how Australia positions itself between the United States and China as the strategic rivalry between them grows. Our biggest trading partner and Asia's leading power faces our traditional ally across a widening gulf of mutual antagonism....The orthodox view is that we have no choice but to support Washington in whatever policy it decides to adopt towards China. As an ally it is unthinkable for us to do anything else. We just hope that America gets it right, and that China either doesn't notice, or doesn't mind.

I've always suspected that to be the case: the little Americans rule Australia's foreign policy and Gillard was firmly in their camp. They advocated a policy of containment against China to ensure that the US remained the dominant power in the Asia-Pacific.

White comments that Carr rejects this view. He believes:

that America should turn away from Obama's containment policy and explore ways to accommodate China's ambitions where possible while constraining them where necessary. On this view, America should continue to play a central role in Asia, but not necessarily the dominant role. It should be willing to share power with China.

Does this imply that the Gillard Labor Government is going to shift to a more independent foreign policy? One that is critical of the old Pax Americana doctrine defended by the little Americans in Australia.

We can but hope.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 10:22 AM | | Comments (7)
Comments

Comments

I wonder if this should connect with some very quiet news indeed abroad concerning something upcoming called the TPPA, something following along the lines of the dreaded AUSFTA of a few years ago?
Christine Milne's site has stuff up on it, looks another Silesian annexation treaty, 1938, on the way, the way it's all shrouded in secrecy.

So.... it's just the yanks and their deputy-dawgs in Canberra charged with holding back the Chinese tide? Surely there a bunch of other countries in this region who have a say in the matter.

It's time for our pollies to have realistic look at which way the wind is blowing.

Oh the irony!
Mark Latham now writes regularly for the OZ Spectator which is edited by Oz's most prominent USA suckhole Tom Switzer. Tom is also an associate of the US Studies Centre (suck-hole central) here in OZ.

The current issue features a long essay in defense of the uber blow-hard suck-hole Mark Steyn as the quintessical "dissenter". Of course the OZ Spectator likes to pretend that it is a "dissenting" voice. Never mind that it is essentially an OZ franchise of the USA right-wing "coonservative" noise machine.

A concise summary of the zeitgeist of right-wing USA politics, especially as promoted by Gingrich and Santorum.

http://tpjmagazine.us/adams29

Plus this important perspective too.

http://www.tomdispatch.com/post/1304

Given that Carr is in the process of denying a lot of things he has said about the US and its policies in the past, I'm a bit surprised that White thinks Carr has any beliefs at all:

http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=13343&page=0

This feeling is strengthened by his frank abandonment of any kind of "socialism" in favour of - well, whatever is politically sellable at the time:

http://www.afr.com/p/lifestyle/review/carr_what_labor_leaders_need_u4r0mQqk1HtVucGGM3Y2jJ

Carr calls it being "nimble-footed". It's all about "improvise and experiment". I think that means it's all about expediency. Carr brings no ideas or principles to the Foreign Affairs portfolio. That means he has no aims or objectives, no vision. Survival in office is good enough for him.

I'm a post WW2 baby.
All my life the American government's armed forces have been attacking and killing people, millions of them, around the globe.
Frequently with Australian government support.

Time for a change.

"I'm a post WW2 baby."

Has to be a little irony in that one.