Butler, Richard: Turnbull, Trump and the Alliance

Richard Butler

Turnbull, Trump and the Alliance‘, Pearls and Irritations, 14 June 2017 updated

Update 3 August 2017: Richard Broinowski in Pearls and Irritations on the broader implications of the Talisman Sabre/Talisman Saber joint military exercise.

Update 31 July 2017: Hugh White in Inside Story on China, Korea and bluffing – all of which could have implications for Australia.

Update 3 July 2017: further post from Butler on these issues.

We should be concerned about the current status of the Australian-American Alliance, despite – or perhaps because of – the recent fawning by the prime minister in Washington.

Almost no other State in good relations with the US manifests the degree of sycophancy that we do … Instead of always asking the US how high we should jump, we need to conduct a searching private assessment of: just how far it is in our national interest; how dangerous it is to us to be so thoroughly enmeshed in US global policy. That policy is imperialist, by any rational definition of that term, and militaristic. It has brought continuous war, mainly wars of choice, with disastrous outcomes.

For other recent articles by Butler, search our website using search term ‘Butler’.

Also in Pearls and Irritations is Alison Broinowski on shameful – and secret – wars.

In a lot of this secret warfare, Australia is complicit: in Vietnam (remember Brigadier Ted Serong?), Laos, Cambodia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, and in facilitating drones from Pine Gap. “Operational” matters are simply not discussed in Parliament or with the public. In his national security statement on 13 June, Malcolm Turnbull said his “unrelenting focus” was to do “everything possible to keep Australians safe and maintain our way of life, our values and our freedom”, as well as being “faster, smarter and more agile than those who seek to do us harm”. In many countries, they know more than we and our allies do what “doing everything possible” means.

Richard Butler AC is one of Honest History’s distinguished supporters, as is John Menadue AO, who wrangles the Pearls and Irritations blog. Alison Broinowski is Honest History’s Vice President and co-editor of The Honest History Book, which includes her chapter, ‘Australia’s tug of war: Militarism versus independence’.

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