Timor again (sorry Lou)

João Paulo Monteiro jpmonteiro at SPAMmail.telepac.pt
Sun Nov 14 12:19:45 MST 1999

Gary MacLennan wrote:

> >Quite obviously Australia wants to turn East Timor into a kind of Papua
> >New Guinea - a very dependent semi-colony.

Yes, I think that's the plan. But I don't think they can make it.
Although the country is very, very poor, the east-timorese resistance does
have an articulated political culture and a sophisticated national
consciousness. This can be translated into a developed and very cohesive mass
movement (though their leaders may appear sometimes to be at loggerhead with
one another). That was the secret of their success against the indonesians. I
don't think the australian government will want to find itself in a position
of actually having to militarily subdue organized east-timorese resistance.
It's not as easy as it may seem to some and it won't grant it any diplomatic
laurels on the world "humanitarian" establishment.

Anyway, by and large, the australian army is supposed to leave early next
year. It will leave some hundreds of soldiers behind but integrated in a truly
international force, under thailandese command.

Of course, there still lies the threat of aussie bucks making inroads with the
backing of some local allies. But it won't be made on a position of
overwhelming political and military domination. This can make some difference.

João Paulo Monteiro

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