July 13, 2008


Australia's Strategic Importance (Richard Halloran, 7/13/08, Real Clear Politics)

When Prime Minister Kevin Rudd of Australia took office last December, there was widespread speculation in Australia, Asia, and the United States that his foreign and defense policy would favor loosening ties with the United States and tilting toward China. [...]

[Australia's Defense Minister, Joel] Fitzgibbon said his ministry was deep into drafting a new White Paper on defense, the first in eight years, and it would re-emphasize Australia's commitment to its alliance with the US. Even with a new government in Canberra, he said, Australia's reliance on the US for security "certainly hasn't changed." The White Paper is due to be published in March 2009.

He applauded a budding concept at the Pacific Command, which holds that the US need not take the lead in every contingency in Asia and the Pacific. Rather, others should be encouraged to lead while the US takes a supporting role. Some US officers call it "leading from the middle," others "leading from within," and still others "leading from behind." Fitzgibbon said Australia was ready to carry out its responsibilities.

Although a nation with a relatively small population of 22 million, Australia has been integrated into the US security posture in Asia because of its strategic location next door to Southeast Asia and the South Pacific. Fitzgibbon said the new White Paper would focus on Australia's role in that region. Said a senior US officer: "If they are there, we don't have to be there."

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Posted by Orrin Judd at July 13, 2008 11:19 AM

Yup. The train is slowing, and the engine has already gone 'round the bend. Shortly the station will come in view and the train will halt. The sign says, "End Free Zone. Fares Will Be Collected Beyond This Point."

The history of the last half-century has been that the United States busted its butt to fix the problems, leaving the rest of the Western world (particularly the Europeans) free to nibble lotos and sneer at the crass, uncouth "cowboys". A good chunk of the revulsion over Iraq is people being sick and tired of that. To their immense credit, the Aussies have always been contributors rather than lotos-eaters, and it isn't altogether surprising that Mr. Rudd and his Government can see lightning and hear thunder despite the neopacifist Leftists among his supporters.

The Europeans and Kiwis are going to be extremely disgruntled when the bills come due. We should simply shrug and remind them that they need to be careful what they wish for.


Posted by: Ric Locke at July 13, 2008 4:40 PM

What the heck are you talking about dude?

You sound like a typical cranky old white guy with that stuff. THE BILL WILL COME DUE!!! Yikes.

The U.S. has gotten more than our money's worth out of our foreign policy.

Europe hasn't gone on a killing spree in decades...

And the bill coming due is them dying off from secularism...

Posted by: Benny at July 13, 2008 5:33 PM

All we need now is Lou Gots to chime in with that creepy rectification of names jive he always talks.

Posted by: Benny at July 13, 2008 5:35 PM

the bill never comes due--what do we care what Crusading costs. It's fun.

Posted by: oj at July 13, 2008 7:35 PM

Benny: You rang?

Australians are a people of the wagon train, trekkers-forth. Not as good as Americans or Israelis, but a lot better than the old, rotten world of old Europe.

There is nothing like life on the frontier, on the border, to build virtue. To be sure, they have some of the taint of multiculturalism, but the scare they got in World War Two keeps them as an outpost of the Empire.

Posted by: Lou Gots at July 13, 2008 8:06 PM


Yes, the US has gotten our money's worth, and more. As some wag put it, after reviewing the first half of the twentieth century, the prospect of pacifist Germans is not at all disturbing.

But we've been Europe's rough men for going on sixty years now, and gotten sneers and vilification for our trouble. We aren't going to send anybody a bill, but when we stop paying theirs for them it's going to be a rude awakening.

Europe, even Britain, has no military force worth mentioning. Bush hasn't pressed too hard for more European or NATO participation because he knows you can't get blood from a turnip. My son tells me that El Salvadoran troops have been more use in Iraq than any Europeans bar the Poles. That's because they always had Americans available to do the heavy lifting.


Posted by: Ric Locke at July 13, 2008 9:04 PM

When were they ever useful?

Posted by: oj at July 13, 2008 10:28 PM

Lady Lex (USS LEXINGTON, CV2) didn't die in vain.

When were they ever useful? India is an anglospheric country. As is Canada, as is Australia, as is the United States.

And do not forget Shakespeare - we are all brothers bound.

Posted by: Mikey at July 13, 2008 11:34 PM

Anglospheric, not European.

Posted by: oj at July 14, 2008 9:09 AM

Ah, European.
It is very hard to make those in the British Isles actually see themselves as Europeans.

Posted by: Mikey at July 14, 2008 10:31 PM
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