June 12, 2004

Back Off, Bush!

The USA is putting increasing pressure on Australians to stick with our pro-Bush embarrassment of a PM, John Howard. It started with Bush declaring that a Labour victory at Australian elections later this year would be "disastrous". Now it's open season for lower-ranked US officials like Richard Armitage to get involved in Australian domestic politics.

Australians must realize that Bush's USA, for all its might, is now an international pariah. Would it not be more "disastrous" for Australia if we voted Howard back in and the USA dumped Bush? Particularly if, as seems likely, the UK also dumps Blair.

The letters page in today's Sydney Morning Herald shows how Australians respond to such interference.

One letter-writer asks, "how would Mr Armitage and other Americans feel without the Australian alliance? How would the US then fit into Asia without a friendly ally with the immense strategic importance of Australia? Would the loss of such an important ally not be symptomatic of what is happing to its foreign policy around the world?"

Another letter-writer points out that Canada recently affirmed its anti-war stance, yet there has been no tirade of White House criticism against their northern neighbours.

Yet another says, "The Bush Administration has shown a remarkable propensity to do whatever it wants, confident of its ability to manipulate the consequences. It invaded Iraq irrespective of UN Security Council objections, unheeding of considered advice.

It ripped up the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, and refuses to decommission landmines. It refused to sign the Kyoto Protocol. It speaks of democracy and justice for all, and refuses to be bound by the civilised standards of the International Criminal Court. It talks of friendship and prosperity for all, and imposes trade barriers on all comers.

The home of free speech does not want discussion or debate - what could be more divisive than "You're either with us or against us"? It's no longer friendship when one side dictates everything and commits to nothing."

If you force us to be for you or against you, we will be against you. But being against the corrupt Bush cabal does not - NOT! - have to mean being against the US people. Australians look forward to new administrations - in both Canberra and Washington - who will treat us, and others, with respect.

P.S. Foreign readers may be interested to know that former Midnight Oil lead singer Peter Garret, who famously sang "US forces give the nod... It's a set-back for you country" has now joined the Labour Party.

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