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Against the UN - the Unlikely Trinity.

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  • Against the UN - the Unlikely Trinity.

    Australia has joined the U.S., Israel, Palau and Micronesia in opposing the West Bank Barrier Resolution in the UN. Canada abstained (as did some others who's names I'm missing )

    While personally I don't think the ICJ should get involved in domestic affairs (which is how I view the Barrier) and Foreign Minister Alexander Downer's point about the Israeli High Court already ruling a route change is one I agree with, I am quite concerned that Australia is becoming America's shadow on the international stage - particularly now given the difference between the strength of Bush ally Tony Blair and Bush ally John Howard. (Blair is failing, whilst Howard is being challenged, but still looks strong).

    I'm concerned for a couple of reasons;

    1. China - Australia has a strict One China policy, going all the way back to Pig Iron Bob. They are our largest trading partner (asides from the US), and Australia is quite willing to step on other nations toes to support China.

    When (and as) Taiwan comes to a head (and it will eventually), Australia, whilst being the US "sheriff" in the Pacific, will have to choose between a Strategic Partner, and an Economic Ally. Realistically, Australia will side with the US, but what effect does this have on the economy, and is America going to make up the short fall? The other reality is to slowly distance ourselves from Chinese economic ties, and replace them with American ones, which binds the two countries even closer together.

    2. The War on Terror - the more we become visible as an American ally, the bigger the resentment (especially with decisions like supporting the Israelis) we build in our predominantly Islamic neighbourhood. 200 Million Muslims live right next to us, and until last year, Australia was not considered a South East Asian nation. They see us as Western Christian, which we are. Jemaah Islamiyaah boasts (supposedly) the largest number of Al Qaeda associated members - some of whom have fought in Afghanistan and Pakistan with the Taliban and Al qaeda, and subsequently returned to the region to train further JI cadres.

    There is the very real threat of a JI attack on Australian mainland, and should it happen, where do we go for recompense?The US.

    there are more things to add to this, but that's enough for now...
    Now listening too;
    - Russell Robertson, ruining whatever credibility my football team once had.

  • #2
    What do you think about Australia being more pro-active in forming a regional defence alliance and return to the 'engaging' with Asia philosophy of Labor, which has been reversed by the Liberal Government?
    Not lip service, nor obsequious homage to superiors, nor servile observance of forms and customs...the Australian army is proof that individualism is the best and not the worst foundation upon which to build up collective discipline - General Monash

    Comment


    • #3
      not much. Maybe with Singapore, but that's about it - the RMAF are ok, but anyone else is beneath our level in terms of regional alliance - too much difference, too much internal politicking.

      We should encourage SE Asian miliatry co-operation, but imo we shouldn;t be a part of it.
      Now listening too;
      - Russell Robertson, ruining whatever credibility my football team once had.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Ivan Rapkinov
        not much. Maybe with Singapore, but that's about it - the RMAF are ok, but anyone else is beneath our level in terms of regional alliance - too much difference, too much internal politicking.

        We should encourage SE Asian miliatry co-operation, but imo we shouldn;t be a part of it.
        I disagree, we have a very proffesional army, system of governence and democratic practice. Something that is lacking in parts of this region at different levels, though with some comparable 'establishments'. Take Singapore, it has a fine armed force in proffesionalism and arms but somewhat lacking in civil democracy.

        Australia is a country in a position to stand out as a local leader and 'benchmark' to others. However, moving too close to Washington and distancing ourselves from the region will be detremental to this. We can lead and interact by example and hopefully something will rub off on our nieghbours and a higher level of trust be attained. I can't see us affecting the region non-militarily by being the lick-spittle of the US.
        Last edited by Temujin; 21 Jul 04, 21:35.
        Not lip service, nor obsequious homage to superiors, nor servile observance of forms and customs...the Australian army is proof that individualism is the best and not the worst foundation upon which to build up collective discipline - General Monash

        Comment


        • #5
          We've only barely been considered for ASEAN. Mahatir was at the Helm of Malaysia for how long? Indonesians were burning our flag as we entered ET in '99. Not only are we not suitable to be Regional Leader - they don't want us to be.

          The only way I can see us leading the region is by making the other nations fear both our power and our international connections. We have to "punch above our weight", as the saying goes. Which relies on a deep and continued US-Australia strategic alliance, even to the detriment of our regional concerns

          My biggest concern is how/when China will start dictating terms to us, using the trade relationship as leverage -> we already caved to them on Tibet (witness the Dalai lama's visit), how far are we willing to go to maintain an importnat trading partner.
          Now listening too;
          - Russell Robertson, ruining whatever credibility my football team once had.

          Comment


          • #6
            I am a supporter of strengthening Australian and US ties. The expansion of trade between the two nations naturally encourages greater cooperation on security issues. Furthermore, Australia, more than any other country in the region, have consistently exhibited political and economic values similiar to the United States, despite cultural differences.

            However, "the Howard Doctrine" might go too far by seriously undermining Australian interest in exchange for a stronger relationship with the United States. It seemed, at least from what I've read, that he is proposing Australia expands her alliance beyond the bare necessity of what I call point defense (protection of borders, and vital interest). If this doctrine is pursued recklessly (such as blind support for American foriegn policy concerning the Middle East) Australia would indeed bare the brunt of the consequences.

            (Ivan's concerns about Australia becoming a greater target for Islamic radicalism is very well founded. A number of Islamic analysis warn Australian might be compromising her security by supporting American foriegn policy.)

            Originally posted by Ivan Rapkinov
            We've only barely been considered for ASEAN. Mahatir was at the Helm of Malaysia for how long? Indonesians were burning our flag as we entered ET in '99. Not only are we not suitable to be Regional Leader - they don't want us to be.

            The only way I can see us leading the region is by making the other nations fear both our power and our international connections. We have to "punch above our weight", as the saying goes. Which relies on a deep and continued US-Australia strategic alliance, even to the detriment of our regional concerns

            My biggest concern is how/when China will start dictating terms to us, using the trade relationship as leverage -> we already caved to them on Tibet (witness the Dalai lama's visit), how far are we willing to go to maintain an importnat trading partner.
            I think Australia can expand its interest responsibly. For example: it could use its own economic success to promote economic liberalization, which would of course encourage political political change. The US should encourage such leadership qualities without infringing on Australia's soveriegnty, or compromising her interest. This can be achieved through negotiation on economic and defense issues, as well as taking Australian concerns into consideration during the foriegn policy development process. Finally, the US should support unilateral efforts by Australia to protect her interest. This can include, but is not limited to, negotiations between Australia and regional governments.

            In short, Australia and the United States should strengthen cooperation in a manner that is "responsible and protective" for both countries. A far too common problem with American foriegn policy is that it comes of as demanding respect without giving any.
            "As soon as men decide that all means are permitted to fight an evil, then their good becomes indistinguishable from the evil that they set out to destroy."-Christopher Dawson - The Judgement of Nations, 1942

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Ivan Rapkinov
              We've only barely been considered for ASEAN. Mahatir was at the Helm of Malaysia for how long? Indonesians were burning our flag as we entered ET in '99. Not only are we not suitable to be Regional Leader - they don't want us to be.

              The only way I can see us leading the region is by making the other nations fear both our power and our international connections. We have to "punch above our weight", as the saying goes. Which relies on a deep and continued US-Australia strategic alliance, even to the detriment of our regional concerns

              My biggest concern is how/when China will start dictating terms to us, using the trade relationship as leverage -> we already caved to them on Tibet (witness the Dalai lama's visit), how far are we willing to go to maintain an importnat trading partner.
              I didnt mean leader as in THE leader. Punching above our weight is one way at looking at the current philosohpy. However, there are other options, we are never going to be able to punch above our weight enough to deal with China, it just aint going to happen. So do we keep the status quo of the Aus-Sino relationship, or any other Asian nation, or do our best to improve it, without turning into their lick-spittle.

              Australia has always looked to another big brother to keep watch over it, I just think we should be standing more indepentently and looking towards the rest of the 'family' that surrounds us not just the one major power.
              Not lip service, nor obsequious homage to superiors, nor servile observance of forms and customs...the Australian army is proof that individualism is the best and not the worst foundation upon which to build up collective discipline - General Monash

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Deltapooh
                I am a supporter of strengthening Australian and US ties. The expansion of trade between the two nations naturally encourages greater cooperation on security issues. Furthermore, Australia, more than any other country in the region, have consistently exhibited political and economic values similiar to the United States, despite cultural differences.

                However, "the Howard Doctrine" might go too far by seriously undermining Australian interest in exchange for a stronger relationship with the United States. It seemed, at least from what I've read, that he is proposing Australia expands her alliance beyond the bare necessity of what I call point defense (protection of borders, and vital interest). If this doctrine is pursued recklessly (such as blind support for American foriegn policy concerning the Middle East) Australia would indeed bare the brunt of the consequences.

                (Ivan's concerns about Australia becoming a greater target for Islamic radicalism is very well founded. A number of Islamic analysis warn Australian might be compromising her security by supporting American foriegn policy.)



                I think Australia can expand its interest responsibly. For example: it could use its own economic success to promote economic liberalization, which would of course encourage political political change. The US should encourage such leadership qualities without infringing on Australia's soveriegnty, or compromising her interest. This can be achieved through negotiation on economic and defense issues, as well as taking Australian concerns into consideration during the foriegn policy development process. Finally, the US should support unilateral efforts by Australia to protect her interest. This can include, but is not limited to, negotiations between Australia and regional governments.

                In short, Australia and the United States should strengthen cooperation in a manner that is "responsible and protective" for both countries. A far too common problem with American foriegn policy is that it comes of as demanding respect without giving any.

                Agreed.
                Not lip service, nor obsequious homage to superiors, nor servile observance of forms and customs...the Australian army is proof that individualism is the best and not the worst foundation upon which to build up collective discipline - General Monash

                Comment

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