By Vaughan Famularo
As ANZAC Day approaches, many Australians have once again watched on, shaking their collective heads, as their political leaders display the constitution of a wet lettuce when it comes to resisting their American political overlords.
Australia’s Foreign Minister, Julia Bishop, spoke tough when asked about Australia’s position on Nth Korea’s missile tests.
Indeed, she could be mistaken for any American Warhawk Politician, except for her refined Australian accent.
But, accent aside, Bishop parrots the US Foreign Policy well and, projects it with a kind of refined, constipated belligerence.
The way she threatened Nth Korea would’ve delighted her US counterparts, once they’d been reminded of who she was and, in what hemisphere Australia was located.
In a world desperately needing rational debate and diplomatic endeavour, we watch our politicians serve their ego’s instead of their country’s interests.
She may later earn an Oscar for her role as, ‘ best supporting actress in a World War Three Drama’ but, for real people, she failed her call miserably and once again, spoke like a marionette controlled by an American foreign policy God.
She said, “Pyongyang has a clear ambition to develop an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of carrying a nuclear payload as far as the US.”
That may well be the case but, as soon as she said this, her Australian constituent’s quickly acquired a world map to measure if that meant Nth Korea’s missiles could reach Australia too?
The next question Aussies asked themselves was, if her aggressive rhetoric may make Australia a legitimate Nth Korean target?
Because, it wasn’t before she spoke.
And it didn’t take very long to realise that the answer to both those questions was, Yes!
In a direct response to Bishop, a Nth Korean spokesman was quoted in the official Nth Korean News Agency, KCNA saying, “The present government of Australia is blindly and zealously toeing the US line. If Australia persists in following the US moves to isolate and stifle the DPRK and remains a shock brigade of the US master, this will be a suicidal act of coming within the range of the nuclear strike of the strategic force of the DPRK.”
Julia Bishop talks tough for a minister of a country where the majority of its people have never held a rifle, let alone fired one.
Australians get fined just for possessing a sling-shot! Australians have surrendered their fire weapons in a Government program initiated after the Port Arthur Massacre in 1996.
Considering Australia’s non aggressive history and, its population being comprised of people from most nations of the earth, Australia could play a major role in mediation and advocating peace in this world rather than acting as an American attack dog.
Australia possesses a small military for the size of the country and Australian’s famous laconic attitude expresses itself with a general acceptance of other countries and their cultures.
Australians are not an aggressive people.
However, Australia has watched its politicians voice an aggression and verbosity which is unequal to the force Australia can project.
In 2014 for instance, the world watched the then Australian Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, promise to “Shirtfront” Russian President Vladimir Putin, in an embarrassing display of the lack of statesmanship.
The absence of Diplomacy is evident and now, we again watch Julia Bishop, keep step with this aggressive, yet empty policy.
We in the west have consistently been told that the Nth Korean Leader Kim Jong-Un and, his cadre in power are insane.
However, it seems obvious that if Iraq, Libya, or Yemen possessed nuclear weapons their history may not include being bombed or invaded by US/NATO, or, their allied forces.
This seems to be the thinking behind those ‘insane’ Nth Korean leaders and, based on recent historical events, that thinking seems perfectly sane.
Also, history seems to escape our politicians when commenting on these conflicts.
No one seems to remember how nearly all the infrastructure of Nth Korea was completely destroyed by the US Air Force during the Korean war.
Also, the Korean War has never officially ended and more importantly, the US forces still command the Sth Korean Armed Forces.
When taking these facts into account it’s not hard to understand why mistrust exists within the Nth Korean power structure.
Politicians also seem to forget more recent history in respect to a deal that was almost secured in the 90’s with Nth Korea and the Clinton Administration.
As part of that deal, Nth Korea ceased its plutonium production for eight years while waiting for the US to purchase its short range and medium range missiles. That agreement also had each country agreeing to cease any hostile intent toward each other.
Although the agreement was in place, the Americans decided to walk away from that deal and so, the Nth Koreans went back to developing their nuclear weapons.
The present angst against Nth Korea began when they tested their long range missiles into the Sea of Japan.
Nth Korea breaks no International Law or International agreements when testing these missiles.
Being an Australian myself, I would hope Australia could find a more productive, respected and assertive role in the world as a peacemaker rather than just being an empty echo of US foreign policy.
Indeed, Australia’s most revered and celebrated military engagement was the defeat of its forces on the beaches of Gallipoli in World War1.
Gallipoli was a terrible defeat for Australia. It proved to be incredibly wasteful of her men and pointless in its objective. It’s widely accepted that the blame of that defeat lay at the feet of Australia’s politicians who, allowed its military forces to be commanded by British Officers.
The lesson to come out of Gallipoli was that, Australia would never again allow her forces to be commanded by a foreign military power.
However one hundred years on, politicians are repeating the same mistakes that led to the mistakes of Gallipoli.
Instead of foreign officers commanding Australian troops as in the case of Gallipoli, it could be argued that our entire political decision making process, when it comes to overseas military deployment, is complicit with America’s political will.
Australia’s Military Doctrine is so reliant on America that possibly, Australian Politicians no longer feel they have a sovereign right to oppose any American offensive?
They all act like Bishop, totally beholden to any American military foreign policy.
And, it matters not if the other side of Australian Politics were in power. The Labor Government would not raise a whimper either against any American military onslaught.
Australia’s former conservative Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser, displayed the clarity of a genuine Statesman by arguing the dangers of having such a “blind leading the blind policy” with the US in a book he penned, “Dangerous Allies”.
Ironically, Malcolm Fraser replaced Gough Whitlam who, was arguably the last Australian Prime Minister who penned an independent Australian foreign policy.
Whitlam’s policies clashed with that of the US’s and, that was seen as an act of betrayal which definitely, played a part in his sacking by Australia’s Governor General, Sir John Kerr or, as Whitlam eloquently referred to him, as Kerrs Cur.
Australians yearn for strong leadership on many matters but on foreign entanglements, they deserve to have that strength manifested.
Australians deserve a Government who will voice a foreign policy in keeping with its population’s character and wishes, of a fair go for all.
Australians deserve better than to see its Government align their forces to a Super Power who, chooses to act unilaterally against sovereign country’s and continually snub International Law when it suits.
If history teaches us one thing, it’s that the most powerful should never be allowed to rule with a ‘Might is Right’ attitude.
Gallipoli is seared into the consciousness of Australians but unless, we can elect a Government with the backbone to learn from that sad debacle, we’ll be forced to relearn the lessons of Gallipoli that, we failed to learn the first time.