Australia's Vietnam (to George)

George Pennefather poseidon at
Fri Oct 1 14:59:55 MDT 1999

Philip: I think this is a very unlikely scenario, George.

Philip: Jakarta has realised its subordinate place in the new world order - and,
despite Jose's claims, this means Indonesia is subordinate even to the
'minor' imperialist powers of Australia and New Zealand.

George: I dont disagree. However I think that it may be possible for Indonesia, despite
its weakness, to act as a thorn in the side of Australia as a means of gaining more
leverage under conditions that are very bad for Indonesia. You must rememeber that it
Indonesia and not Australia that invaded East Timor --this despite the fact that it
as you rightly say its very subordinate place in the world order.

I agree with you that much of what I say is unlikely.

Philip: The 'militias' may be good at killing unarmed East Timorese, but they are
no army and no match for imperialist troops like the Brave Anzacs.  After a
load of bravado posturing that they would 'eat the hearts of the
Australians', they have actually melted away since the imperialist troops
have arrived.

George: Much of this may be true. But at the same time through guerilla action they
may be
able to substantially irritate Australia. They dont necessarily have to send a lot of
soldiers back to Australia in body bags to assist in the generation of instability in

Yesterday, Falintil (the armed wing of the CNRT) handed over to the Aussies
a lorry-load of weapons, including stuff they'd captured off the militias.
Which tends to suggest that the militias were not much of a match for the
armed wing of the independence movement either.

Philip:This suggests both that the militias were entirely dependent on the
Indonesian Army and that they were never really much of a force to be
reckoned with.

George: It may even be that much of the militia is the Indonesian army.

Philip:It will be interesting to see what comnes out in the wash in the next few
years, and whether the significance of the militias has been played up by a
Western media of 'laptop bombardiers' which was chomping at the bit for a
'moral/humanitarian' military intervention.

After the Kuwaiti babies story, and the 'ethnic cleansing' and 'mass
graves' propaganda from ex-Yugoslavia, I am highly critical/suspicious of
Western media horror stories about the indiscriminate savagery of whatever
people or regime they happen to be demonising at any time.

George: I cannot say there is not something in what you say. However the bourgeoisie
to know a certain amount of fact. I would say that there was a mass evacuation from
etc. I should think that there is a lot of truth in what the media says.

Philip: This is even more pronounced with the intervention in East Timor.  I was
watching the main TV News programme last night and the senior NZ reporter
on the spot kept on talking about 'we' and 'us' referring to the NZ troops.
For a few seconds I thought he was the NZ commander - the laptop
bombardiers like dressing in fatigues these days, so that also makes it
harder to tell - but then I recognised his face and his name came on the

So one of the other things this little imperialist gambit has done is
assist the ongoing process by which the media loses even the pretence of
independence and instead relays the Army line as 'news' and 'truth'.

George: There is much that I agree with here. However I doubt if they simply and
believe all press releases without conducting some investigation themselves.

Finally I do agree that much of my analyis has a conjectural character to it. I share
view that much of what I predict is unlikely. However I do think there are tendencies
towards this course of development I outline.It must be remembered that revolutionaries
believe in revolution yet socialist revolution is unlikely too in the near future.

Overall I simply trying to draw out the inherent dymanic or tendencies that exist in

Warm regards
George Pennefather

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