Contributed by Jim Hayes
The meeting of Malcolm Turnbull and Donald Trump was both disturbing and an embarrassment.
For his part, Trump was in the middle of having the Obamacare Affordable Health Care Act scrapped, when he turned around and said Australia’s Medicare was better than what America has.
This is bizarre, because it cuts across what he is doing. Obamacare is a mild version of Medicare.
While the enormity of Trump’s, shall we say unusual, way of thinking is sinking in, out comes Malcolm Turnbull. At a commemoration dinner (Coral Sea Battle) on the retired aircraft carrier USS Intrepid, just hours after the Republicans vote to overturn key parts of Obamacare in the Congress, he sings his praise.
“It’s always good to win a vote in the Congress, or the parliament as we call it,” Turnbull said. “I’ve got to say, it’s always satisfying to win a vote when people predict you’re not going to win it too.”
“So keep at it, it’s great.”
It shows just how far Australia’s prime minister will go to appease, even though he is treated like rubbish. Put the hype aside. The delays and then the mere half hour at the end, made the Australian leader look like a menial servant and not a head of state. This sort of thing does not happen by accident.
There are two messages in this. Trump holds little respect for Australia and our political leadership can be kicked around, because it knows its place. Turnbull’s show of puppy love for the American president, made it clear that he was willing and able to put up with any indignity. He had left his backbone at home.
In Australia, the big media has participated in the groveling at Trump’s feet. The slight has been ignored. The meeting is presented as a great moment. There is no questioning, except about speculation that Turnbull’s comments on Obamacare may have revealed Turnbull’s plan to get rid of Medicare.
It turned out, not surprisingly, that the purpose for the brief meeting was national security, North Korea and the Middle East. In half an hour, there is no time for real discussion. Only enough for Turnbull to be told what is expected from him.
Australia is to be more tightly integrated into American political and military global ambitions.
Surely, others ask, Australia can stand on its own two feet and make its own decisions as an independent nation? Why does the nation’s leader have to turn up and behave like a schoolboy, with cap in hand, going to the principal’s office to be given instructions? National leaders should stand as equals.
Australia could be much more. But to do this, the alliance with the United states must be buried and replaced by a relationship between equals. In fact, this is how Australia should relate to all nations.
In the existing alliance, Australia is locked into a junior role, where the other partner makes all the important decisions. This undermines our sovereignty and standing in the world.
The United States is engaged in a series of wars that it is waging against other nations. They are unpopular, both at home and abroad and widely recognised as being waged to secure resources and spheres of influence. Most dangerously, the United States is locked into a strategy to surround China and is coming close to threatening war with that country. Troops and missiles are aimed at Russia as well. All this is being accepted by Australia’s political elite, without question.
The alliance with the United States means that Australia is made into a participant in all of this. In aggression and helping to bring the world closer to all out war. Most of the world is striving to build peaceful relations between nations and Australia is being made to play a counter role to this.
Dozens of American spy and military bases are on our land our military forces are designed not for national protection, but for overseas deployment as the deputy sheriff. We are locked into the nuclear weapons umbrella. This makes Australia an enemy of others, and has the potential to set us up as a target for attack.
Through his weakness and willingness to hand over Australia to the ambitions of the Trump era, Malcolm Turnbull has betrayed us all.