Labour and Foreign Policy - question for Tom

Jurriaan Bendien bendien at
Tue Jul 15 20:44:38 MDT 2003

Hi Tom,

You wrote:

"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?"

The question I have about this is: where are your figures ? What extra
budget allocations were necessary for the East Timor campaign ? A great deal
depends on the actual foreign policy you decide to have, this determines
what military capability you think you ought to have. If for example you
decide to pursue an aggressive imperialist policy, the taxpayer must shell
out more money to make this possible, of course. And be prepared to die if
necessary, of course.

Next question: what economic stake can Australia have, in having Australians
killed in North Korea ? How is this conducive to anything, how does it
strenghten Australia's position ? Finally, the economics of the military
itself ought to be looked at, since there are a variety of possibilities
here in terms of forming an independent military force, and these depend a
lot on what kind of wars you think you might have to fight. If you just
compare the composition of armies in different countries, you will notice
vast differences, and these differences are not just due to different
perceptions of threats and geopolitical position, but also of the foreign
policy tradition they have, current foreign policy objectives, cultural
factors, technological expertise, and so on.

The first step in combatting the idea of an inevitable militarisation, is to
focus on the range of technical possibilities there are in the military
field. Governments are not infrequently conned into buying military hardware
which they do not even need, and things get worse when Dick Cheney starts
enjoying being a salesman with taxpayers money, even although the US debt
continues to rise. Holland doesn't need the Joint Strike Fighter, they want
to help produce it only because it makes money and because it scores points
in Washington (Holland is a big investor in the USA, even so, it does not
follow from this that we ought to manufacture parts of their military planes
for them ?).

Are you suggesting that leaving the military decisions to the US government,
(imperialist military centralisation) would promote greater geopolitical
stability ? You must be kidding ! The US Government cannot even run a decent
presidential election, many Americans don't vote, and the average
understanding of the American voter of international issues is abysmal
compared to the actual level of intervention of their own government in the
world. By comparison, the level of political awareness is much higher in
many other countries. You are implying that the interests of Australian
voters and taxpayers, or even just the Australian government, are identical
to the US government, but that is not the case at all, as far as I know.

The only rational kernel in your argument would be, that it is in fact
IMPOSSIBLE for Australia to have an independent foreign policy, because of
its strong economic ties with the USA, and that the Australian employing
class is therefore opposed to such an independent foreign policy, because it
would lose money, if Australian soldiers weren't prepared to die for war
goals decided in Washington. But now have a look at the actual sequence of
events in the policy orientation of the Australian Government in relation to
the war against Iraq. Does that suggest a solid unanimity to follow Uncle
Sam in its reckless military adventures ? Do you want to promote that
unanimity ? I thought you were on the side of the working class !!!!

All the best,


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