This week Australia’s anxious secret fear came out of its closet: the US really just loves us for our body. Mounds of ore and energy, sweeps of fertile soil, all on a water-bed spanning half the southern hemisphere. President Trump has now made it clear that’s what Australia’s good for that stuff, also for tagging along to every war America loses, hosting US military bases and their most important spy satellite down-station this side of China, at Pine Gap – and that’s about it.
Other Presidents have implied as much before, but Trump doesn’t mince words -- he whacks ‘em with a meat hammer and spews them down the phoneline. Take 1250 refugees from Australian concentration camps? “Why should we?”
While our last six governments have asserted that our right to vet whoever wants to join the lucky country overrides any and every humanitarian right they might have,
the USA has more or less gone along with the Statue of Liberty declaration: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me…"
The telephonic Trumping of Turnbull -- or Trumble as the President’s spokesgoon called him -- released a gush of Australia’s-terrific-despite-Vegemite editorials and declarations from Congresspeople and talk-show hosts across the USA. But in all that gushing few have asked, and none have answered, the underlying question: why did Obama let Turnbull’s government off the shameful hook it had hoist itself on?
Some commentators suggest it was a gift for all our troops who’ve fought in America’s shameful invasions. More likely Turnbull promised more Marines and bases on our shores and/or an agreement to join the US Navy in confronting China in the South China Sea. Because Turnbull and his entire crew don’t get that Trump really wants to fight two wars with China: one with weapons the other with trade.
Trump shredded the Trans-Pacific [Trade] Partnership on Day One in the White House yet Turnbull keeps bleating about saving it.
There are many reasons to trash “free trade agreements”. Fundamentally, they are created to increase the power and fortunes of large global corporations, with small inducements to Australian beef exporters, and enforced by secretive courts overruling laws and regulations of mere nations. So why did Trump’s gang ditch the TPP? Because they don’t believe in any laws and regulations, pretty much. They like trade that’s free of rules, so the biggest and bestest bullies win.
In fact, China is already winning Trump’s crusade to put America back on top of the world because his dumping on NATO and the European Union has launched planeloads of bureaucrats and Presidents off to Beijing where everyone still agrees that free trade is the holy grail. After Chinese President Xi spoke to global business barons last week, one baron told the New York Times: “We just heard a Chinese president becoming the leader of the free world.”
As to the actual bombing type war against China, Trump’s svengali Stephen Bannon said last March: “We're going to war in the South China Sea in five to 10 years.” That’s the guy who’s now almost running the US (and who might run for President if/when Trump carks it/is dumped), and he’s talking about blowing up Australia’s largest trading partner, China. How serious is this? Trump’s new Secretary of State, former ExxonMobil chief Rex Tillerson, told the Senate that China cannot be allowed to “keep pushing the envelope” in the South China Sea. There’s a lot of oil and gas in those seas. “We’re going to have to send China a clear signal that first the island-building stops and second your access to those islands is also not going to be allowed.”
China has said unequivocally and irreversibly, that will mean war.
As the late former PM Malcolm Fraser kept warning us, and the still-alive former PM Paul Keating keeps warning us, in a war between the US and China (or anyone) Australia would be high on the list of places to bomb, to take out Pine Gap and other American “intelligence” facilities on our fair soil.
New Zealand had the guts to effectively quit the ANZUS pact in 1985. We should get out now.
It’s time to face the new real world. The ANZ signage behind Rafa and Roger at the tennis final was in equal size English and Chinese characters, 40% of residential land purchases across Australia last year were by Chinese developers.
That’s the real world we’re in, with Trump & Bannon loading their cannons, while the Coalition still believes America loves us for our … something … and Bill Shorten sounds like a hedge fund. And it’s too damn hot.