Contributed by Joe Montero
Australia’s Prime Minister Anthony Albanese is in the United States yet again. The min reason why he went there is to take advantage of photo opportunities to highlight that Australia will continue to be Washington’s tool, no matter what, and the current expression of this is participation in the so-called AUKUS alliance.
The term so-called is used because a real alliance implies an agreement between equals for shared interests. Australia doesn’t have an equal status in this. Even Britain is secondary to the United States. Why? Because The United States is the dominant economic and political power in this setup.
Albanese has already been publicly warned not to trust Xi, and you can bet further instructions were delivered behind closed doors.
The whole trip has been carefully stage managed as a propaganda event to bolster Joe Biden’s expanded American presence in Asia in the Asia before Albanese goes to meet Chinese leader Xi in Beijing and to shape Albanese’s trip to Beijing to meet China’s leader Xi Jinping.
Australia’s subservience is a byproduct of our colonial past and transfer from the Old Country to the United States as the new parent after the Second World War. Australia, in fact became a dependency of the new superpower. This dependency status has become more intense in recent years.
One illustration of how far this has gone comes by the way of WikiLeaks’s release of cables from the United Sates Embassy in Canberra, which describe how all would be Prime Ministers, at least from the time of John Howard, have had to go to the embassy to apply for endorsement to become Prime Minister before they announce this to their party and nation.
Secondly, another key to winning an election has been to have the endorsement of Rupert Murdoch. Intending winners must keep him happy, and Murdoch is these days a powerful figure in the Washington political establishment.
Then there is the not so little matter that Wall Street investors play a prominent role in the Australian economy. One of the points for discussion has been about further opening US exports to Australia by expanding the existing unequal free trade agreement between the two countries.
These realties have conditioned the subservience role of the political elite in Canberra to the needs and desires of the economic and political elite in Washington.
Hence the Albanese government enthusiastically embraces the unpopular AUKUS, even though this is deeply unpopular within the Labor Party. AUKUS was the main dividing point at the party’s August national conference.
With Albo there is his pocket, President Joe Biden talks up making shore the deal goes through, as if it is a present. Albo’s meeting with the new Donald Trump team Speaker of the House took on the same theme.
AUKUS is no gift. It doesn’t serve Australia’s interests. What it does do is get Australia to foot the bill for some nuclear-powered submarines, while in reality, they will remain for use by the United States. They draw Australia into Washington’s war machine as it tilts towards conflict with China, and it withdraws resources form other uses, like the provision of government services and strengthening Australia’s economy and ability to transition towards a sustainable future.
These submarines are really a spearhead to secure a much larger military presence of United Sates forces on Australian soil, as a forward base to threaten China and hold back its economic rise. Talk is underway on building a new military port in Western Australia as a key point of the American presence.
Image from the West Australian: A new military port to be built in WA
Anthony Albanese is there to spruik to American politicians who are not so sure about even pretending to hand over the submarines. The problem for them is dealing with military problems on several fronts and the capacity in military production at home being able to meet perceived needs. There is a tactical difference between Biden presidency and the republican controlled Congress, around how to best project American power around the world.
There is another critical issue. This one underlines the vassal status of Australia in Washington’s eyes. This is the matter of Julian Assange. This the Australian citizen who founded WikiLeaks in Melbourne. His work is highly regarded around the world, and he has won numerous Australian and international journalist awards. Washington is trying to extradite him to face charges for being a traitor to that country in violation of international and national law, treaties, and the Geneva Conventions, to which the Unite Sates and Australia are signatories.
Almost 90 percent of Australia has expressed through a succession of polls that they want our Prime Minister to act more decisively to secure Assange’s release. Team of Australian parliamentarians representing all parties and independents recently went to Washington to raise the matter of Assange’s freedom and they were backed by a letter of 63 of their colleagues.
There is an expectation that Albanese will raise this matter.
A lot rides on it. Albanese has so far failed to raise the matter. He may still do so. How he does it will also be important. If he is seen to be too weak, it will damage his credibility, and the failure to secure Assange’s freedom will have an impact on how Australians see our relationship with the United States.
Above all, Australian’s want a Prime Minister and political establishment that listens and acts for them, by dealing positively with the critical issues at home, and it’s the failure to do this that is driving away the political bases of both Labor and the Coalition.
Is Anthony Albanese going to make a difference?