Gary Sauer-Thompson asks why Australia supports the proposed US actions in Iraq, because it isn’t in our “national interest”
“So, from the point of view of Australia’s national interest, we have no reason to attack Iraq. Crudely speaking , Iraq is not our business since Iraq’s weapons can’t reach us.”
Many people would argue that regime change in the Middle East would result in a domino effect of destablising fundamentalist muslim nations (the breeding grounds of Islamic terrorism) and eventually result in more prosperous and peaceful Middle East.
This obviously would be in the national interest of any country that desires peace.
To get back to Gary’s argument though:
“The only national interest reason that I can find for going to war with Iraq is to stay on side with the Americans. They have a treaty obligation to defend us in the unlikely event we are ever attacked.”
Our role is to provide the moral (political) support for action, and the “action” is then provided by the US military. It is the very nature of Australia’s reputation as a successful, peaceful, democratic western nation that provides the value of the alliance from the American point of view. It is unlikely they would get as much political clout out of support from Columbia, for instance.
Gary wants to argue that this isn’t a good enough reason. We don’t need America’s protection, nobody would ever attack peace loving, happy Australia. Or perhaps the point is, we don’t really need to fulfill our half of the bargain, since America would be compelled to help us anyway, should we ever be attacked.
Renegging on our obligations would put us in the same boat as the “weasels” in France. All too happy to accept the mighty US as protector, while at the same time demonise them as the root of many of the world’s problems for political gain.
What Gary’s argument (and that of the people who protested against the war last week) boils down to is this:
America has to protect us anyway, because they are the world’s only superpower. We don’t have to support them in return, since any attack on Australia would be a major international incident and require immediate action from all like-thinking democratic countries. We would get what we need for free anyway, so why pay for it?
John Howard isn’t the only Australian left who prides himself on the image of Australians as those who “stick up for their mates”. Honesty to the point of bluntness, and the concept of a “fair go” are the essence of our culture.
Implicitly accepting the protection of the USA through the United Nations, while bemoaning their “aggression” is dishonest.
It’s not sticking up for our mates.
It’s not giving America a fair go.