All the way with the USA

From Rory Medcalfe and Angus Houston both of whom are worth listening to:

Many Australians are troubled by Donald Trump and by the unpredictability of his presidency. But we need to remember that Australia’s alliance with the United States is more important and enduring than any one administration.

…Going solo is not an option for Australia. The cost to us would be enormous. The government is committed to spending 2 per cent of GDP on defence. If we hypothetically lost the US alliance and the powerful security insurance it provides, we lose access to enormous advantages in intelligence and technology.

It is likely we would have to increase defence spending to 3-4 per cent of GDP. That would have a dramatic effect on public programs like health, education and infrastructure.

…We should embed the alliance further in regional ties, confirming we do not need to choose between America and Asia. This means creative efforts at trilateral security arrangements with the United States and countries like Japan, India and Indonesia.

It is also time for the reintroduction of the 2007 quadrilateral arrangement between the US, Japan, India and Australia, not to contain China but to strategically align like-minded regional nations.

We can also step up our diplomatic effort to strengthen inclusive regional security institutions: the East Asia Summit, ASEAN Regional Forum and the ASEAN Defence Ministers Meetings-Plus. We need to persuade America to invest further in these organisations, alongside its strategic presence in the world’s most dynamic region.

As a defense analyst once remarked, “if the US invaded Mars, Australian would guard the supply dump on the moon”. The Left has always chafed at this imperial subservience but we are extremely well compensated for it and the alternative system of Chinese economic (and political) imperialism looms as far less favourable on just about every front.

Houses and Holes
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  1. People should not bandy about the term – Imperialism – when in retrospect one nation has about a thousand military bases world wide and embroiled in almost endless wars going on for decades, let alone the last 60ish years….

    Disheveled…. lest we forget whence neoliberalism’s well spring and its method of export….. waves at Chicago school and posse…

  2. They say many Australians are worried about trump, just about everyone I speak to have quietly told me trump is a good thing. But when you have fear of been shown as a racist or worse the possibility of losing your job, in those cases people often don’t speak out.

    • ‘Social policies’ like banning people from Muslim countries makes headline, yet have very little effect overall. Trump’s other policy on trade will make a lot of impact, and his promise of deporting illegal immigrants back to Mexico still needs to be implemented. That is when people will start to realize Trump means what he says, regardless of the consequences.

      • Thus clearly demonstrating the irrelevance of anecdotal evidence – we all prefer talking to people who agree with our worldview/politics so saying most of the people I talk to think as I do proves little other than confirmation bias…

  3. World leaders right now is pretending it’s “business as normal” with the USA, while secretly they have don’t have a clue what Trump will do next. Australia is no different. None of them took Trump seriously, and is totally shocked when they discover Trump intends to implement what he said he’ll do. Border Tax and the 15% corporate tax rate: these two event will cause a tsunami of change everywhere. Expect the ‘Filibuster’ in the US Senate will be gone this year as Trump will push his policies through.

  4. Ahem, India is not a rational player and as such is more dangerous than China.

    Get rid of negative gearing and other boomer bribes and use the savings on massive defence technology development and manufacturing in-country. Why can’t Australian be a weapons exporter instead of exporting citizenship and dirt.

  5. That’s not a good enough argument, in fact it shows lazy strategic thinking, which is the hallmark of Australian defence strategy since Federation.
    Defence spending is already too high and cutting ties with the US means it “HAS TO” double overnight?
    Where’s the counterfactual of other small developed nations with little or no ties to the US military industrial complex, yet have larger strategic problems on their doorsteps, like Austria, Sweden, Finland or Ireland?

    All of those countries remain non-aligned with the US, yet participate in exercises, have similar access to US weapons and/or developed their own, assist in peacekeeping and other missions but on their own terms, and all have much lower defence spending as measured by GDP…

    Time to mature Australia, this is getting tedious and long in the tooth.

    • I don’t disagree with your point but I’m not sure the countries you cite are good examples, re their relative military spend:
      – non-NATO but on the shoulder of NATO
      – smaller defendable land mass
      – Fewer and shorter range naval needs (perhaps Ireland excepted)

      • Brett,

        Name me one country that’s capable of logistically supporting a land invasion of Australia! The only capable country is the US, China as yet cannot, and they don’t need to. If they want to teach us a lesson they’ll do it economically via tourist and student numbers.

        Edit: I agree with Chris; the claim on defence spending increase isn’t backed up with anything.

      • @ Dennis.

        On the question of military spend, I’m simply saying that if we are trying to ascertain the right number of $$$, then I don’t think the Euro nations cited are a helpful or relevant benchmark. Perhaps Canada is a better comparison, and given that our own expenditure exceeds theirs by <$10 billion p.a., that seems like a relatively small premium to pay if it helps to sustain implicit US military support.

        I agree with you that a mainland invasion is extremely improbable. But, Australia has claims over a lot of territory (including Antarctica) and sits aside many smaller essentially defence-less neighbours. I think if/how we achieve long-term security in this respect needs to be part of the broader strategic conversation Chris refers to.

    • I can’t understand why you would cite those European countries as comparable based on their location alone. So much for strategic thinking.

    • Do not underestimate the help the US gave to Australia in resolving East Timor with the minimum of bloodshed.

  6. Let us not forget the depths of moral equivalence that this leads us to. Has Mike Hindmarsh really completely left the Australian Armed Forces ? Or is his retirement a figleaf for us to hide behind while we commit war crimes in Yemen.

    Both Eritrea and Sudan are kept as failed states so that UAE and Saudi black ops can go on with no restraint in Yemen. Why are we selling our souls for oil, world net exports have stalled since 2005 and it is only a matter of time for them to start falling, yet the best of our young soldiers are squandered in Middle East quagmires with no end in sight.

    The position of Imperial Satrap can break bad very quickly if the Empire stumbles.

  7. I love this fear of China as a Bunyip that will suck us lifeless the moment the US looks the other way.

    Chinese already own all the spoils of war a war with . au can bring and have 0 reason to endanger that.
    Distancing from us imperialistic hegemony could mean instant security improvement for Australia
    Instead of false binary, perhaps mostly neutral stance is another alternative?

    • After his stint at a previous “newspaper” he thinks of himself as somewhat an expert on “international relations” – chuckles.

      The fact is I have never seen a single objective article, despite the torrents of words, its all just racism dressed up as well considered “politics of the north”.

      Maybe we can get another poorly referenced, completely misunderstood Fukuyama quote – they always provide a chuckle.

      • I don’t think it’s racism as much as it is the unknown. China have been developing in a way that defies western liberalism thinking (even though there is no evidence it ever worked, i.e. I don’t think captain cook landed in Australia and held a vote with the aboriginals on land acquisition), it has confused the liberal lefties and made them very uneasy and fearful but also close minded at the same time.

  8. The Left has always chafed at this imperial subservience but we are extremely well compensated for it and the alternative system of Chinese economic (and political) imperialism looms as far less favourable on just about every front.

    And yet China has been our greatest economic partner – ever. Beyond dispute.

    Whats more the United States just costs us – software, drugs, minerals, commodities, enforced purchasing of shitty, shitty military hardware which doesn’t work, war, after war, after war.

    I think you are talking straight out xenophobia.

    The only reason we have an alliance with the United States is to protect us against invasion from Asia – worked out a treat last time with the Brits – same thing will happen this time.

    We would be far better served to look after world interests and thereby set ourselves up as an independent neutral state who has the interests of a peaceful progressive planet in mind rather than take sides with a shitty imeperialist like the United States.

    I have no idea why you push this agenda so hard – but you are completely and utterly wrong – profoundly,deeply wrong – and I am positive it stems from a profound racist streak as you never offer any valid counterpoints – ever.


    • HnH is just like any other flawed human, he is afraid of the unknown. He sits in his well like a good little frog looking up the sky thinking that’s all there is so don’t expect any out of the box type thinking from this lot at MB. Again the comments here are much more insightful than the article.

      MB and most of the western hemisphere just does not understand China and have been thoroughly brain washed. It’s ideology above facts hence why even India is put into the picture as some kind of Ally… lolz come on guys.

    • What is peaceful or progressive about Australia’s contribution to this earth on your baseline politics? Click your heels three times, jackass.

    • “I think you are talking straight out xenophobia.”

      I think the term you should be using is racism not xenophobia since the U.S. is also an different country.

  9. “——–and Angus Houston both of whom are worth listening to”
    Must admit I dislike your Politics H & H – how very upper mainstream MSM.
    – –and finally I can honestly say I’ve never heard Angus Huston or any other similar mouthpiece say Anything worth while.