Former Liberal Prime Minister John Howard was often contemptuously referred to as United States Deputy Sheriff in the Pacific Rim when George W. Bush was in power.
Given the new that the United States is now preparing to send six nuclear-capable B-52 bombers to Australia, one would be totally justified in applying the same title to Labor Prime Minister Anthony Albanese.
The ABC Four corners Monday program focused on the buildup of these nuclear-capable aircraft, and the level of chauvinism in the report was quite easy to detect.
The United States and its allies have been sowing fear, uncertainty and doubt about China for years and this measure is apparently aimed at ensuring the security of the region.
The ABC’s Angus Grigg interviewed members of a number of US neoliberal think tanks, all of whom seemed overwhelmingly confident that Washington would defeat Beijing in the event a war was waged over Taiwan.
A few months ago Professor Hugh White, an academic, provided a different point of view in an issue of Quarterly trial which was called Sleepwalker at war. But Four Corners had no time to think of such a weakling.
But Grigg failed to discuss an important aspect of this kind of menacing accumulation: the fact that China is still Australia’s biggest export market.
What would be the impact on Australia if it lost most of its exports? What would Australia do if China attacked obvious war assets like the Pine Gap intelligence base?
Americans are well known for making other nations serve as cannon fodder for their imperial adventures. The most recent examples are Iraq and Afghanistan where Washington picked fights that it ended up losing.
But Australian Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles, who is also Defense Minister. seems to follow the doctrine of Harold Holt: until the end with LBJ. Only this time it’s not LBJ, but another doting democrat.
What will happen if, as expected, the Republicans take power in 2024? For starters, they are expected to control the US Congress after the November 8 midterm elections.
Four corners did not address this aspect, although it is necessary, ideally, to anticipate a little before committing to policies that could have a negative effect on the country. The entire theme of the program seemed to be: “The B-52s are coming and it’s good for Australia.”
Grig happily waltzed around calling China’s stance “propaganda” while forgetting that Americans are the masters of this dark art. He referred to the fact that China has doubled its defense budget lately, but failed to mention that the US defense budget is close to $800 billion. Who says the ABC doesn’t offer a balanced perspective?
No one from the Australian government has even made a statement about the deployment of nuclear weapons on Australian soil. It is shameful that all the big talkers in Canberra have remained silent.
Australians tend to scoff at New Zealand, but this tiny country seems to have more cojones than this whole nation. It continues to oppose the deployment of nuclear weapons on its lands or waters. Even the famous nuclear submarines that Australia found itself locked in will not be allowed in New Zealand territorial waters.
As an Australian passport holder, one can only hang one’s head in shame.
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