‘Don’t ask about the war‘, Pearls and Irritations, 10 January 2017
Conservative leaders’ reputations grow over time, John Howard being an example. Howard has refused to apologise for his Iraq decision of 2003. ‘His actions and opinions have lasting consequences for Australia, in at least three ways: legal, political, and strategic.’ Australia disdains international law, a flawed foreign policy has become bipartisan, and we are strategically bereft.
As Australia sits on its hands in some park bench of the past while the world changes around us, two hypotheticals arise on which Howard’s guidance would be helpful. First, in April 2014 he told the Lowy Institute that the next country to be invaded was likely to be Iran. Will Australia be eager to do that too? Why? And second, this month Benjamin Netanyahu said New Zealand’s vote in favour of Palestinian statehood in the Security Council was an “act of war”. Would an attack by Israel on New Zealand evoke a response under the ANZUS Treaty, and if so, whose side would we be on?
Alison Broinowski is Vice President of Honest History. Pearls and Irritations is wrangled by John Menadue, who is one of Honest History’s distinguished supporters. Alison Broinowski has a chapter in The Honest History Book, to be published in April by NewSouth. The chapter is entitled ‘Australia’s tug of war: Militarism versus independence’.