Labor and foreign policy (Gary)

Tom O'Lincoln suarsos at
Tue Jul 15 18:56:40 MDT 2003

Gary, you wrote:

>>The Cold War taught the Labor Party not to dare to be independent in the
arena of Foreign Policy.  So only the right can pull Howard back from the

This echoes our interesting exchange the other day about spooks. But in
this case, I seriously disagree:

1. The high point of a nationalist and "independent" ALP foreign policy was
undoubtedly the Whitlam Government (1972-75). To the point where the US was
quite hostile to Whitlam, though I personally don't place too much weight
on the theory that the CIA arranged his dismissal in 1975.

2. My underlying concern is elsewhere though. What good would it do for a
capitalist and imperialist Australia to have an independent foreign policy?
The reason Australia sticks close to America is that it needs US muscle to
back its local imperialism. An independent foreign policy would bring on a
major upgrade in Australia's military capacity. Do we really want the
Australian "defence" budget to double?

This isn't hypothetical. In the Timor crisis, Howard discovered that
American backing wasn't as reliable as he thought, so he decided Australia
had to be more self-sufficient. This is one reason the subsequent White
Paper called for an arms build-up.

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