Because the fateful months of the Second World Struggle, when Prime Minister Curtin stood up to Churchill and withdrew Australian forces from Europe in order that they may struggle in the Pacific theatre, the compass needle of Australian overseas coverage has shifted sharply from the diminished glory of imperial Britain to the increasing international reach of the United States.
With out considering too hard about what it could appear to be if we ever referred to as it in, we sheltered ourselves beneath the US nuclear weapons umbrella, endorsing a doctrine which has held for the reason that 1950s that the only way to ensure security is to threaten global incineration.
During the chilly battle, we adopted the United States into the slaughter in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia within the identify of domino concept and the containment of the communist menace. Within the nineties and early 2000s Australia supplied diplomatic and army support to the US in Kuwait and Afghanistan.
Most consequentially, Prime Minister Howard wrote a clean cheque to George W Bush in the unlawful 2003 invasion of Iraq, which tore the region open and set the stage for the emergence of Islamic State. To at the present time Australia hosts intelligence and targeting facilities at Pine Gap, North West Cape and elsewhere.
We host US Air Drive and Marine Corps bases within the Northern Territory. We host port visits by nuclear powered and potentially nuclear armed warships. These are not simply training facilities; they’re locations from which the US can challenge lethal drive into our area.
We’re one of many unblinking electronic eyes of the Five Eyes mass surveillance driftnet, helping the United States authorities hack industrial phone and internet suppliers in Indonesia and Malaysia and all through South-East Asia. We routinely play diplomatic lapdog for the US government at the United Nations.
In observe, that signifies that we undermine arms control treaties, nuclear weapons resolutions and makes an attempt to de-escalate the horrific and one-sided conflict between Israel and the folks of Palestine. We buy their F35 Joint Strike Fighter aircraft—the ones that can not go anyplace close to a battle as a result of they are a $1½ trillion piece of flying garbage.
We let Australian citizen Julian Assange and his courageous colleagues hold out to dry for disclosing warfare crimes in Iraq and extra standard crimes revealed in the state department cables. When the United States government says soar, then, if we are lucky, our Intelligence and Safety Committee will do a fast bipartisan inquiry into how high. However inevitably, we jump.
You’d have thought that, as an opinionless, impressionable and largely obedient shopper state, Australian governments had more or less proved their credentials. Australia’s international coverage and its defence policy is set in Washington DC, not in Canberra. That was true below the Howard government, it was true under the Rudd-Gillard governments, it was nauseatingly evident below the Abbott authorities and it is painfully on present now.
Donald J Trump inherited President Obama’s drone assassination program, his global mass surveillance apparatus, his Asia-Pacific Pivot that cemented the encirclement of China with a community of navy bases in Australia, the Philippines, South Korea and Japan. Mr Trump inherited Obama’s unprecedented attacks on whistleblowers and journalists. Possibly that every one appeared benign when the argument was being run by a gifted orator like Mr Obama, but it surely was not benign.
This is how NSA whistleblower Ed Snowden put it in a June 2013 interview in a hotel room in Hong Kong:
‘the months ahead, the years forward it is solely going to get worse until ultimately there will probably be a time where policies will change because the only factor that restricts the activities of the surveillance state are policy. Even our agreements with other sovereign governments, we consider that to be a stipulation of policy moderately than a stipulation of law. And due to that a brand new chief will likely be elected, they’ll find the swap, say that ‘Because of the disaster, because of the dangers we face on the earth, some new and unpredicted menace, we need extra authority, we’d like extra energy.’ And there can be nothing the individuals can do at that point to oppose it. And will probably be turnkey tyranny./p>
Turnkey tyranny: the tools are all there; all it requires is an administration paranoid enough, arrogant enough, deranged enough to turn the key. A register of Muslims. Promotion of the intelligence worth of torture. Overwhelming contempt for the journalists and information organisations who’re tasked to carry him to account. Informal hostility to the rule of law: ‘The opinion of this so-referred to as decide, which primarily takes law enforcement away from our nation, is ridiculous and can be overturned!’ tweets the President of the United States of America.
Like most people, I was intrigued to listen to the stories of the entire contempt with which Australia was handled by President Donald Trump final week. The incoming President in all probability couldn’t level to Australia on a map. On two consecutive days, the Trump administration’s press secretary could not even be bothered to get our Prime Minister’s name proper. These are the kinds of things that might be easily given away as superficial breaches of protocol by an inexperienced administration. But they are not. One thing way more malignant is underway here.
It has been stated, over and over, that the foundation of our bond with the United States is our shared values. The deal that the US President needs to renege on will not be some obscure negotiation over tariffs. It’s concerning the life and demise of 1,250 susceptible and innocent human beings whose only crime was to flee violence and oppression in places like Iran, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and Iraq.
They are on the run from horrors that I hope no-one on this chamber ever has to expertise firsthand. Some of them are on the run from wars that Australia and the United States helped start. A few of them are fleeing authoritarian regimes supported or armed by Australia and the US and its allies. They’d the savage misfortune to flee into the barbed wire embrace of Minister Peter Dutton’s Australian Border Pressure.
Since then, extra individuals have died on the prison islands run and paid for by the Australian government on Nauru and Manus Island than have been given safe harbour and resettled. Folks have been overwhelmed to dying, died of easily treatable infections and burned themselves to loss of life. Individuals are starving themselves and drinking drain cleaner just to make the suffering stop.
Proper now, a Kuwaiti woman 35 weeks pregnant and suffering critical complications is in danger because the federal government needed to be pressured by a public marketing campaign to airlift her to Australia. An award-winning Iranian cartoonist who publishes as Eaten Fish is about to die of a starvation strike on Manus Island.
He says: ‘I cannot undergo anymore. I know now that I should die because I can not suffer anymore.’ These are not the shared values of the folks of the United States and Australia. They’re an expression of mutually assured inhumanity, a scientific hollowing out of empathy perpetrated by governments practising a type of political sociopathy.
All of us in right here want to know what Mr Donald Trump will demand of Mr Turnbull in alternate for his ‘extreme vetting’ of those desperate individuals. It appears apparent that the Australian authorities’s degrading silence in the face of Mr Trump’s Muslim ban is part of the value. Different world leaders have been fast to condemn this act of indiscriminate racism. Nothing from Prime Minister Turnbull. Everyone has their worth, I guess. As it seems, Mr Turnbull’s was very low.
Mr Trump seems to take an amoral and purely transactional view of international relations, simply as he does in his business dealings. We know he has no respect for the weak, as evidenced by his bizarre crush on Vlad Putin.
Pandering to or trying to appease such an individual is pointless. He is probably going fully unaware of the storied historical past of our two countries, or of the Australians who bled and died chasing his predecessors’ imperial follies in South East Asia and the Middle East. He couldn’t care less. If this had been game idea and we were playing the prisoner’s dilemma sport with Donald J Trump within the adjoining cell, no less than we’d know he will all the time promote us out—every time.
However this is not game idea. That is deadly severe. This fragile narcissist has the launch codes for just under 1,800 deployed nuclear weapons, any one in every of which might turn a city into radioactive ash within half an hour of the command being given. Clearly, 1,800 of these genocidal weapons were not sufficient, because he then announced a new nuclear weapons arms race on Twitter.
The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists then moved the palms of the doomsday clock to 2 minutes and 30 seconds to midnight. The last time we have been right here was 1953. Midnight, in this context, signifies a nuclear exchange wherein tens of millions or maybe a whole lot of thousands and thousands of individuals lose their lives and we slide into a radioactive darkish age. The violence wielded by this administration need not attain this apocalyptic scale.
Through the election marketing campaign, Donald Trump promised to bring again waterboarding and different torture techniques. Since becoming President, he has stated that torture ‘absolutely works’ and that the US needs to ‘struggle hearth with fire’.
There are claims that maybe the US should return into Iraq and take the oil; government orders setting in movement the re-establishment of CIA black prisons world wide; and the calculated and deliberate provocation of race hate and religious extremism. That is fascism in larval kind.
Fascism will not be a word we must always ever throw around calmly, particularly as its definition is so contested. But try this: Robert Paxton, Professor Emeritus at Columbia College, describes fascism as a dynamic process slightly than a hard and fast ideology like socialism or communism. See if this paraphrasing of his work by Dominic Green within the Atlantic of December last year sounds familiar:
- Ideological formation and the creation of a party with quasi-military cadres. Speak of national humiliation, misplaced vigour, and the failures of liberalism and democracy.
- Entry of the occasion into nationwide politics. Intimidation of rivals, and planned acts of ‘redemptive violence’ against suspect minorities and radical rivals.
- Arrival in authorities, often in alliance with conservatives.
- Train of energy, in live performance with institutions and business. The regime expands its control at home: restricting the press and democratic processes, corporatizing business, and collectivizing the individuals. Abroad, it asserts itself militarily.
- Radicalization or entropy: Some fascists go down in a collapse marked by catastrophic violence and disorder—but most die of boredom.
Does any of that sound acquainted? I am certain among the individuals who voted for this administration would have happily signed on to this prescription. But I deeply believe that hundreds of thousands more simply needed to place a brick via the window of the corrupt Washington establishment—that parasitic network of bankers, arms dealers, oil firms and media oligarchs who have been consuming the American republic from within for decades.
It is these people—those voters—who are now in the process of being essentially betrayed by the extremists who wield government energy. The swamp is not being drained, friends—the swamp is being weaponised.
I have been to the US a few occasions, and i absolutely adore the place. Maybe, other than India, I have by no means been anywhere more various and stunning. There’s a bond of affection between the Australian individuals and those of the United States that is means deeper than the shared suffering and sacrifice that cemented the alliance throughout the worldwide struggle on fascism in the thirties and 1940s. We feel like household, for higher and for worse. We have now related colonial origins, our nice grandparents arriving from Previous Europa to wreak violence and disease on first nations peoples.
From white supremacist underpinnings, we each attempted to construct multicultural societies in the aftermath of that dispossession, to carve prosperity out of an unfamiliar continent, and by way of many decades of struggle to make important contributions to the follow of democracy and the rule of a certain form of law.
All cynicism apart, I agree with these from right across the political spectrum who’ve argued that the bond between the people of Australia and the people of the United States is powerful and can endure beyond whoever happens to occupy the White Home and the ministerial wing of this parliament.
The institutions of democracy and the rule of legislation could also be harassed and below sustained assault, but they had been constructed on shared sacrifice and it is important that they be buttressed and protected.
That appears like the Speaker of the UK House of Commons declaring that Donald Trump is unfit to handle Westminster. It appears like tens of millions of individuals joining the Girls’s March on Washington, that ended up mobilising greater than 5 million people around the world and culminated in the biggest single-day demonstration within the history of the United States.
It appears to be like like individuals who shut down airports throughout the United States when the complete scope of Trump’s Muslim ban became obvious. It seems like the taxi drivers in New York City who powerfully amplified this blockade with distributed industrial action.
Here at dwelling, it seems to be just like the speedy renegotiation of the Australia-US alliance, with every little thing on the table—Pine Gap, ‘5 Eyes’, the US bases in the highest Finish. It is time to make our personal method.
Donald Trump is a product of the United States, however he’s everyone’s downside. Historical past, what there is left of it to put in writing, won’t look kindly on those who tried to appease this thing, or normalise it in the financial press, or did as our Attorney-Basic did right this moment, attempting to pretend that that is just a minor acceleration of business as typical. This is not a time to cave in. This is a time to face up, not in order to return to the deadening neo-liberal establishment but to remind ourselves that one other world is feasible. This is a time to resist.
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