WikiLeaks' release of US diplomatic cables has prompted some in the Australian press to reflect on the wisdom of this country's coital lock with the US. This, of course, is welcome. But notice how the wisdom of our coital lock with Israel, evidence of which crops up again and again in these cables, elicits no such reflection:
"[T]he WikiLeaks revelations... raise more important questions about the way Australia conducts its relations with the wider world, and especially with its principal ally, the US, and principal two-way trading partner, China." (Clients act like sycophants. Allies shouldn't: We need mature ties with the US - and leaders to match, Editorial, The Age, 9/12/10)
"Laurie Ferguson... who was dumped as parliamentary secretary for multicultural affairs and settlement services told The Weekend Australian the government had overreacted to the WikiLeaks release of secret US documents. He said the information that had been released was crucial to democracy and exposing the truth... 'I think it is important that the world is informed on how intense the Saudis are about Iran's nuclear program and, for instance, that some members of the federal Labor Party caucus are so heavily engaged in briefing another nation'. Mr Ferguson took a veiled swipe at Sports Minister Mark Arbib, saying he was glad it was now well-known that the right-wing Labor frontbencher was a secret source for the US government." (Gillard's left flank revolts over Assange, Patricia Karvelas, The Australian, 11/12/10)
"On occasion, [the US] treats even its allies with disdain. The cables reveal the US forcing Britain to restrict the Chilcot inquiry into the Iraq war. They show it talking Germany out of issuing warrants for the arrest of CIA officers who kidnapped a German citizen and tortured him at length before conceding they had the wrong person. The US, which likes to see itself as the exceptional nation and preaches freedom and democracy across the world, can be remarkably intolerant of anything it sees as threatening its interests. These and other cases put into context why Australian governments so often have asked 'How high?' when the US asks us to jump. Mark Arbib is just the latest in a long line of Labor politicians on the make who see earning brownie points with the Americans as a necessary step on their path to power." (Assange has less to answer for than Clinton, Mike Steketee, The Australian, 11/12/10)
"The idea of partnering the US in a war with China, which comes specifically from Kim Beazley's reported comments*, is the ultimate example of [Australian ministers or prime ministers giving commitments to the US that have been secretly witheld, probably from their own government and certainly from the Parliament]. A war over Taiwan would be an absurdity. The idea that we should participate in such a conflict is unconscionable and totally contrary to Australia's interests and indeed to Australian security. We know Beazley has always had a great affection for the US. There is nothing wrong in that, but when it clouds judgment and submerges our own national interest it becomes dangerous. Australia and the US have many intersts in common, but we are a separate nation with our own national concerns... We need a more coherent and confident sense of ourselves. We don't have to choose between America and China, but America needs to understand that on several issues Australia's national objectives will not coincide with hers. This has been so in the past but over the past 15 to 20 years we have become too compliant, too subservient in the false belief that that would create security for Australia." (Slavish devotion to the US a foreign policy folly for Australia, Malcolm Fraser, The Age, 14/12/10)
Why is it so?
[*Beazley is now Australia's ambassador to the US. A US diplomatic cable reveals that this Labor lickspittle, at the time leader of the opposition, assured US officials in 2006 that Australia would always side with the US in the event of a war with China.]