November 19, 2011

ALL ALONG THE ANGLOSPHERE:

Obama in Oz: President Obama forges a military alliance with Australia. (MARY KISSEL, 11/19/11, WSJ)

Barack Obama's first presidential tour to Asia, in November 2009, arguably harmed U.S. interests in the region by exposing him as a weak leader. China tightly controlled the president's visit. Japan threw a tiff over relocation plans for a U.S. airbase on Okinawa. And smaller Asian allies pleaded -- to little avail -- for protection against Beijing's rising military might and for freer trade with the world's largest economy. This time around, however, the American leader is hitting higher notes.

Nowhere was that more evident than on Wednesday in Canberra, Australia, where the President Obama and Prime Minister Julia Gillard marked the 60th anniversary of the ANZUS defense alliance and announced a major boost to military cooperation between the two long-time allies. Starting in 2011, Australia will host 250 Marines in Darwin. They'll train in the Northern Territory, exercise with their counterparts (known colloquially as "diggers") and store equipment Down Under. The contingent could eventually grow as large as 2,500 men. Australia will also host U.S. ships and nuclear submarines, and the U.S. Air Force will more closely cooperate with the Royal Australian Air Force.

This deal should come as no surprise. Australia's left-leaning Labor Party has a long pro-American history, as does its rival, the conservative Liberal Party.

Party doesn't matter.

Posted by at November 19, 2011 7:34 AM
  

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