Posted by: bklunk | February 16, 2007

A Down Under Perspective

laschi posted this item. It seem consistent with the Australian criticism of Senator Obama’s position on the war in Iraq.  I’m not sure this is just an example of robust Australian foreign policy? Is there another explanation?

Oi Stop Helping al’Qa’eda « Aussie Politics

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2007/02/08/woz108.xml

It’s well known that many European countries that previously helped support America in Iraq are now against it, the most notable being France and Germany. In the article above, Anti-Americanism in Europe ‘helps al-Qa’eda’, news correspondent David Blair writes about how Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer warned European leaders about speaking out too much against America’s actions. Mr. Downer said in an interview that the countries that are blaming America for suicide bombings and the like in Baghdad. He warns that the more America is blamed for these happenings, the more terrorists are encouraged to put pressure on America. Mr. Downer warns Europeans that they could be inadvertently helping terrorists by giving them another way to target America. n addition to this, Mr. Downer also believes that more troops and a stronger resolve is needed to help win the war in Iraq. Australia at the moment has troops fighting in southern Afghanistan, where the most al’Qa’eda are fighting in the area. He says if no firm action is taken against these terrorists now, that as spring comes the situation will only get worse.

Australia has always had a seemingly very robust and aggressive view on internatinoal politics. Recently, Australia had even advised all extreme Islamists to leave the country entirely. I think that right now, Australia’s view on the war in Iraq is helpful to America. If America was the only country openly supporting the ongoing war in Iraq, then other countries would probably speak up much more about getting American troops out and letting the Iraqi people manage on their own. However, with Australia as a major ally, America is able to continue and keep trying to rid the streets of the suicide bombers and the like. However, Australia is also relatively out of the loop as far as large scale terrorist attacks, while countries such as Spain, Germany, and even England have been targets within the past few years. This sense of being more secure may be part of Australia’s reasoning for wanting to make sure the terrorists are subdued so they can protect their own security.

If America stays in Iraq they will probably eventually have Australia as it’s biggest ally, and this alliance could lead to the objectives of the western countries being met, in addition to Iraq being able to govern and protect itself without outside interference.

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Responses

  1. I think that Australia’s presence in Iraq is indeed good for the United States. However, I do not believe that their presence discourages EU nations and the rest of the world from criticizing the United States in Iraq. I think that Great Britain is the United States’ most valuable ally in Iraq, both politically and militarily speaking. Great Britain has 7,500 soldiers in Iraq while Australia only has 550 military personnel in Iraq. Politically speaking, Great Britain has much more influence in European politics than Australia. And Europe is the very place where the United States needs political and military support. Australia is economically strong, but its military and political influence is not. The United States, with or without Australia, will continually be criticized for its presence in Iraq. Furthermore, the United States will need more than 550 Australian soldiers to accomplish its mission in Iraq.

  2. The support for the war in Iraq seems to be quite slim these days. I think it is very important for the United States to have support from Australia; not only because it is one of the few remaining countries vocally and militarily supporting the U.S. efforts in the region, but also because, as seen in the interview with Australia’s Foreign Minister, they are vocally critical of the rest of the West’s lack of support. It surprises me that Australia is so outspoken on the issue because there appears to be little or no coverage of Australia’s support in the media. I agree that the Australian government is probably concerned with the region’s activities because it has not fallen victim to an attack, unlike many of the other Western nations, and believes that it is in the country’s best interest to protect itself and prevent future attacks. Like the Australian minister conveyed in his interview, I don’t understand why countries that have experienced violence on their own soil would not be more concerned with assuring no more attacks on the West will take place. I think it would be wise for other Western nations to listen what Australia has to say and ponder their reasons for supporting the United States goals in Iraq.


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