March 1, 2005


Politics of Iraqi security draw Australia, Japan closer: Australia has announced it will send 450 more soldiers to Iraq to protect Japan's forces. (Janaki Kremmer, 3/02/05, CS Monitor)

The decision to deploy - or withdraw - troops in Iraq has posed difficult political considerations for leaders around the world.

But for Australia and Japan, the contributions they've made to Iraq's postwar security effort have brought fresh opportunities to strengthen their relationship - and reshape Asian relations in the process.

The most recent case in point: Australia announced Feb. 22 that it would send 450 more troops to Iraq to replace departing Dutch troops who protected the Japanese Self-Defense Forces engaged in reconstruction work in southern Iraq.

Tuesday, Japanese government sources said Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer plans to visit Japan in mid-March to discuss bilateral cooperation in reconstructing Iraq.

This could pose political risk for Australian Prime Minister John Howard, who had pledged not to send peacekeepers. But he is counting on stronger ties with Japan to outweigh those risks.

The most enduring legacies of 9-11 are likely to be the liberalization of the Middle East and the forging of the Axis of Good to replace the Atlantic Alliance. The only losers of the aftermath are the Islamicists, the Europeans, the Communist Chinese, and the Realists. How could things have worked out any better?

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 1, 2005 8:14 PM

Bart hates it when I say this, but we're getting closer to the day when we'll have to confront the theory of the fortunate 9/11.

Posted by: David Cohen at March 1, 2005 8:38 PM

After the Dec. 26 tsunami, the United States, India, Japan, and Australia announced a temprorary coalition to organize the immediate recovery effort. Some folks became quite upset at this 'usurpation' of the UN's 'authority'. Personally, I suspect that it was both a sign of the future and a gentle message to Beijing.

Posted by: Patr Phillips at March 1, 2005 8:50 PM

Tell my aunt Anita and my uncle Lester why they should feel fortunate that their only child got killed.

Posted by: at March 1, 2005 10:04 PM

Hey " "! What is that supposed to mean?
Killed where? By who? Is this related to Japan and Australia?

Posted by: JackSheet at March 1, 2005 10:28 PM

When Eastern Europe was freed and the Soviet Union fell, Francis Fukuyama famously published his tome "The End of History", an idea which many may have disagreed with, but pretty much became the de factor operating premise of the West in the 1990s. Alliances and reactions to problems were pretty much locked in place after the Cold War, because despite the warnings of the growing threat of terrorism, no one had the vision to think anything major was right around the corner, nor the will to do anything pre-emptively about the problem.

In that sense, 9/11 can be considered 'fortunate" because it occurred early enough to wake the United States to the terror threat while there was still time to do something. Had the 1990s stupor continued 5-10 years longer, some far worse terrorist act, like the detination of a small nuclear device in a major city, could have been carried out. It would have woken up the U.S. to the threat, but at a far higher cost of lives.

The new emeny and the different type of threat also forced nations to update and adjust their alliances, since the strategies and partners needed to contain the Soviets are not the same as those needed to halt the spread of radical Islam. That may not make the families of the victims feel better, and it certainly doesn't mean there can't be a dirty bomb blast in New York tomorrow morning. But better the threat be confronted now, while the problem is more managable, than having waited until later, where the nuclear threat of the terrorists and/or their sponsor nations would have made reactions far more complicated and threatening.

Posted by: John at March 1, 2005 10:42 PM

Anon: I feel for their loss and, as discussed on a thread down below, no one would choose to have their child die even to bring about a great blessing for the world.

Nonetheless, because of the sacrifices made on 9/11, 50 million people have a chance for freedom, and untold millions more now believe, for the first time in millenia, that freedom might be possible for them. Our nation is more secure than it has been in 65 years. I pray that that is some solace for your family.

Posted by: David Cohen at March 1, 2005 11:07 PM

The fact that our nation did something about it after it happened is of course solace. I can't even imagine how the families of the sailors on the USS Cole feel. We have established that there is no place a terrorist can hide and that no nation which harbors terrorists, with the possible exception of Saudi Arabia, is safe from the force of American arms.

John, your analysis is 100% spot on about the changed alliances. The craven behavior of most of the Continentals does not bode well for their future. The changes and sacrifices made by the Japanese, Thais and Koreans are a sea change in our relations with East Asia, and the impact of Islamist terror on India has ended 50 years of Fabian nonsense, and its handmaiden of British prep-school anti-Americanism, in that country.

Posted by: Bart at March 2, 2005 6:32 AM