Join 3,424 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Obama in Australia
November 16, 2011 7:21 PM   Subscribe

US President Barack Obama is in Australia today. The main policy announcement is a new, permanent US Marine Corps presence on Australian soil. This is interpreted unambiguously as a 'containment strategy' for China and other Asian nations, with Australia playing the loyal deputy Sheriff. Most Australians don't think we should be forced to choose.
posted by wilful (130 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
Frankly I would have assumed we already had this.
posted by rhizome at 7:22 PM on November 16, 2011 [4 favorites]


Was gutted when Obama congratulated Australia on being the first country to "give" (what's a better word?) women the vote, excuse me but that was New Zealand, and it was 10 years earlier than Australia.
posted by The Monkey at 7:27 PM on November 16, 2011 [11 favorites]


I still think Gwynne Dyer summed it up best:

"Australia's defense policy is to go along with everything America does, in the hopes that if Australia ever finds itself in a real war America will back them up. If America announced plans to invade Mars, Australia would offer to send a battalion along"
posted by Grimgrin at 7:27 PM on November 16, 2011 [20 favorites]


Quite frankly I'm not happy about having a bunch of American soldiers permanently stationed in the NT.
posted by Silentgoldfish at 7:28 PM on November 16, 2011


Actually the Monkey, it was South Australia, before Australia existed.
posted by wilful at 7:28 PM on November 16, 2011


Occupy the World.
posted by Yowser at 7:28 PM on November 16, 2011 [3 favorites]


Correction, women could vote earlier in N.Z., could stand for Parliament earlier in S.A.
posted by wilful at 7:30 PM on November 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


*sigh*
posted by entropicamericana at 7:32 PM on November 16, 2011


wilful, you can have Russell Crowe, but you can't claim the vote thing. :)

We'll keep arguing about the pav. Forever. Because that's serious business right there.
posted by The Monkey at 7:33 PM on November 16, 2011 [5 favorites]


-Most Australians don't think we should be forced to choose-

Without commenting deeply about the rights or wrongs of the deployment (other than to note that 2500 troops is not exactly huge), I will say that Gillard said as much in her welcoming speech in parliament; viz: we can be friends with the US and still sleep with China. And Obama basically acknowledged the same thing. I mean, yay! for the foreign policy wonks warning of geopolitical changes and strategic ramifications for the treaty and the whatnot, but it's not like these dimensions are totally overlooked by the powers that be.
posted by peacay at 7:39 PM on November 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


We'll take Crowded House, you can have Split Enz, OK?
And it's two all at RWCs


Back on topic, I'm sorry I couldn't find the link, I read it only yesterday, nearly everyone polled thought that our relations with the US were 'about right', with equal minorities thinking they should be deeper or weaker, there was a majority who thought that our relations with China should be stronger.
posted by wilful at 7:39 PM on November 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


I watched the news conference live this morning (insomnia). I feel like I'm the only person who noticed that, when answering a question, Obama referred to the PM simply as "Julia." Or maybe no one else was weirded out by the sudden informality?

(Either way, I'm throwing it out to my AP Lang class to dissect.)

(Unless it never happened. Insomnia is funny that way.)
posted by Liffey at 7:43 PM on November 16, 2011


I have been pleasantly surprised that I haven't yet today been called upon to explain this particular foreign policy decision as The Local American. (There are advantages to this big-city life in Melbourne. In Adelaide, I'd've been called to task before my coffee.)
posted by gingerest at 7:46 PM on November 16, 2011


I only hope they will retrofit their aircraft carriers to feature no tipping and better coffee.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 7:49 PM on November 16, 2011 [4 favorites]


Most Australians don't think we should be forced to choose.

There are plenty of "powder-keg" type scenarios where they'd have to pick a side. Taiwan, mineral rights in the SCS, North Korea etc etc.
posted by rosswald at 7:51 PM on November 16, 2011


"give" (what's a better word?) women the vote
The sentence would have to be rearranged a little, but maybe something along the lines of "recognize" or "observe", as in "recognize the right of women to vote".
posted by Flunkie at 7:53 PM on November 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


Interesting sidelight, the US forces may stockpile illegal cluster munitions on our soil.
posted by wilful at 8:00 PM on November 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


The Monkey writes "Was gutted when Obama congratulated Australia on being the first country to 'give' (what's a better word?) women the vote, excuse me but that was New Zealand, and it was 10 years earlier than Australia."

Maybe acknowledged women's right to vote but that's not a single word.
posted by Mitheral at 8:01 PM on November 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


And Tim Mathieson had to walk home last night. Excellent.
posted by wilful at 8:02 PM on November 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


I heard this on the news this morning and got to wondering if America has ever allowed anyone else to base troops on US soil; exchange program, basically.
posted by curious nu at 8:02 PM on November 16, 2011 [4 favorites]


The US already has a massive military presence in South Korea and Japan.

Not to mention what, 11 carrier task forces?

Australia is pretty far from China and North Korea.
posted by bardic at 8:02 PM on November 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


America is clearly playing the long game, employing classic Risk strategy. Bide your time, build up your forces in Australasia while everybody else battles over Eurasia and the Americas, and then once everybody else is depleted and weak you just steamroll up through Irkutsk and Kamchatka and retake America.
posted by Flashman at 8:03 PM on November 16, 2011 [53 favorites]


This is probably to help replace the bases in Okinawa. I know they were going to move some to Guam, but that's a pretty small island.
posted by delmoi at 8:10 PM on November 16, 2011


Maybe acknowledged women's right to vote but that's not a single word.

Does "enfranchised" maybe address the issue, if only by being unfamiliar enough to lack the baggage of "gave" or "granted"?
posted by longtime_lurker at 8:12 PM on November 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


2500 troops? Should we start speculating about how quickly a Marine Expeditionary Unit could destroy the entire Australian nation?
posted by kithrater at 8:12 PM on November 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


I fear the cultural exchange that will occur when marines meet the bogans. This could be a reality show.
posted by humanfont at 8:13 PM on November 16, 2011


Australia continues to ally with historic ally. Not the most shocking news of the day.

I spent about a month walking around with a guy from Darwin some years ago. He described how this was going to happen almost exactly as it has actually. I believe one thing he said was that Northern Australia was just too big and sparsely populated to be effectively defended by Australian forces and that they had been relying on the US as backup guys since the previous backup guys proved to be less than great at backing them up, and thus pretty soon he expected Darwin to be formally hosting some more troops.

Also, something something Coral Sea. I forget the details.
posted by Winnemac at 8:13 PM on November 16, 2011 [4 favorites]


>The US already has a massive military presence in South Korea and Japan.

Not to mention what, 11 carrier task forces?

Australia is pretty far from China and North Korea.


This is exactly the point. Darwin is just out of range of the DF21-D, and thus safe for those carriers.
posted by pompomtom at 8:17 PM on November 16, 2011 [3 favorites]


Like the Chinese would want to destroy their biggest customer/debtor...
posted by Capt. Renault at 8:27 PM on November 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


First, He(Obama) took aim at Beijing's poor record on human rights, free trade, intellectual property theft, its refusal to fully float its currency and the lack of freedoms granted to the Chinese people.

Ha, fucking, ha.

Second, does this strategy actually have a track record? We have been antagonizing Iran since our chosen leader was diposed and all the sanctions and positioning of troops in the gulf haven't made us chums. Likewise, stationing troops in Australia and selling $5.9 billion in arms to Taiwan isn't going to endear us to the Chinese.

But perhaps that is why I am neither a politician nor a general and am just a miserable crank.
posted by munchingzombie at 8:34 PM on November 16, 2011


From TFA: Mr Obama said on his way to the school - just a short trip from Parliament House, where he had just delivered a speech - the Prime Minister told him about all the deadly animals in Australia.

Emily Angeloski asked Mr Obama about what directions the US education system would take in the future.


Given that the first task he will face after returning from this trip in which he announced a military expansion will be how to tackle the question of reducing federal spending, the direction of the US education system in the future is probably not that bright.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 8:34 PM on November 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think the "No two countries with McDonald's have ever been at war with each other" argument died out a couple decades ago, Capt. Renault.
posted by Yowser at 8:34 PM on November 16, 2011


Well I hope Julia doesn't forget to curtsy this time.
posted by the noob at 8:35 PM on November 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Maybe acknowledged women's right to vote but that's not a single word.

Oh, FFS: enfranchised. That's the word for it:

1.Give the right to vote to
posted by UbuRoivas at 8:41 PM on November 16, 2011


"It may not be appropriate to intensify and expand military alliances at a time when the economy is still recovering. The move may not be in the interest of countries in the region," said Liu Weimin, a spokesman of China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Well, at least somebody is concerned about the economic implications of military expansion.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 8:41 PM on November 16, 2011 [3 favorites]


or, what longtime_lurker said.
posted by UbuRoivas at 8:42 PM on November 16, 2011


I wonder if this'll be known as the OSOPAOH agreement?
posted by UbuRoivas at 8:44 PM on November 16, 2011


I had a dream about China last night. A really long, multi-episode dream involving ghosts sewn into clothes. Take from that what you will.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 8:46 PM on November 16, 2011 [4 favorites]


munchingzombie: "But perhaps that is why I am neither a politician nor a general and am just a miserable crank."

Fear not - when I'm President I'll create the cabinet position of Secretary of Miserable Crankiness and you'll be the first Sec'y.

You can be the point person on media appearances. Shit, we'll just eliminate the Press Secretary and replace it with this new Andy Rooney inspired position.
posted by symbioid at 8:48 PM on November 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


China government has responded frostily, stressing that the deployment “may not be quite appropriate."

Deployment to Asia-Pacific region

China has questioned the U.S. deployment to Australia, raising doubts whether strengthening such alliances helped the region pull together at a time of economic gloom.

China has queried the value of Washington's plan to strengthen military cooperation with Australia and update its defense treaty with the Philippines. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Weimin called for discussions about the boosting of American troop deployment in East Asia, questioning just how cooperation would benefit the international community. Liu expressed reservations about the measures.
Obama: US is a Pacific power to Asia; China responds frostily
posted by infini at 9:27 PM on November 16, 2011


The United States is a long standing ally of Australia, and this new arrangement is supported by all the major political parties in the country. China is a brutal communist dictatorship which constantly makes threats against its neighbours and has been rattling its sabres about this announcement as it does everything else. Australia is pathetically keen to boost trading links with China - ousted Prime Minister and current Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd is a frantic sinophile - but recognises where its defence interests lie.
posted by joannemullen at 9:29 PM on November 16, 2011 [4 favorites]


Frankly I would have assumed we already had this.
posted by rhizome


yeah... actually, me too. Why do we need to be the world's police force? I don't understand the motivation for this sort of thing.
posted by blaneyphoto at 9:39 PM on November 16, 2011


yeah... actually, me too. Why do we need to be the world's police force? I don't understand the motivation for this sort of thing.

In general we do it to protect our economic interests, most of our Mideast trouble undeniably comes down to protecting the oil supply, for example. It's almost impossible to untangle the domestic economic issues from the foreign policy issues.

Personally, I think that if we want something bad enough someone will sell it to us either way. Better to spend directly to promote economic growth at home.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 9:46 PM on November 16, 2011


To get back on track...supposedly there have always been roughly this number of US forces in Australia at any given time, eg giving or receiving training, or on secondment or staffing Pine Gap or whatever.

The only difference now is that this is a permanent garrison, whereas previously the personnel were technically only "on contract", to use a civilian analogy.
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:51 PM on November 16, 2011


Australia, we don’t know you, but we love you, say our American friends.
posted by wilful at 9:52 PM on November 16, 2011


Australia, we don’t know you, but we love you, say our American friends.

Ye gods, the quotes in the article make me want to eat hot coals.

“It’s always been my dream to visit Australia,” I was told over and over again. Yet for most, the prospect seemed as realistic as a Contiki Cruise to Mars. “Oh heavens, no,” a beautifully dressed woman in her 60s protested “It’s much too far to actually go there”.

Not exactly following her bliss, is she. That whole plane flight away. Unpossible!

“A good general rule to follow,” I was told by a high school history teacher, aged 36, “is that a if you are in a bar and you are about to throw down with a guy, if he has an Australian accent and is missing a tooth – wave a white flag, buy him a Fosters and get the hell out of there.”

Buying an Australian a Fosters is going to start a fight, not avoid one.

No, he’s never visited the country, he admitted.

You don't say.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 9:58 PM on November 16, 2011 [7 favorites]


GOP rebukes absent Obama: As President Obama jetted off to another tropical locale Tuesday, some lawmakers accused him of abandoning Washington at a critical juncture in congressional negotiations to reduce deficits and keep the government running.

“It’s always helpful if the president has the guts to weigh in, but I haven’t seen him weigh in on hardly anything,” said Sen. Orrin Hatch, Utah Republican. “He’s smart enough to do it, but he just won’t do it. He doesn’t lead.”

Said Sen. John Thune, South Dakota Republican, “This is the biggest issue the country is dealing with right now, and he’s completely out of pocket.”

There’s also a question of whether Mr. Obama’s itinerary will get him back to Washington in time to sign a temporary measure to keep the government in operation. Congress faces a deadline of midnight Friday to approve such legislation, and the question has been raised about whether the White House might use an “autopen” signature for the second time in Mr. Obama’s presidency.

posted by furiousxgeorge at 10:05 PM on November 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm screwed if I ever move back down south and have to experience actual winter again.

It's so cute when Australians talk about experiencing "actual winter."

Come, visit the prairies.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:08 PM on November 16, 2011 [5 favorites]


Oh that's cute of the GOP since apparently he's cancelled two previous plans to visit Australia due to domestic problems he needed to urgently take care of.
posted by infini at 10:12 PM on November 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'm confused about why everyone thinks this is a move to counter China. I mean, Guam is much closer to China than Darwin is, and Pearl Harbor is slightly farther but has a few hundred times as many troops. This makes sense as a symbolic move to show that the US and Australia are strong allies, but I don't see why it has to be a counter to China specifically.
posted by miyabo at 10:24 PM on November 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


[some comments deleted because... hey, who let all these 12-yr-olds in here? No more idiocy, please.]
posted by taz at 10:27 PM on November 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


I had a friend from there say "Forsters is Austrailian for shit!" ;)

I also wonder what the Americans will think when they land on Pandora, i mean Austrailia, as everything seems out to kill you and is highly poisonous. ;)
posted by usagizero at 10:28 PM on November 16, 2011


five fresh fish, come for a 12hr jungle hike in 100f heat and we'll see who break first ;)
posted by Bubbles Devere at 10:32 PM on November 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Well, per Wilful's link, of course we are there over NZ-Aus friction because, as an Aussie friend of mine once explained to me, Kiwis pronounce things stupid...."Gavin" is "Givin," she said, and they pronounce all vowels as I's, she said, and although we speak English differently, can't we agree that that's pretty stupid, she said?

This trip is a huge waste of time, says me, and it only exists to give the Aussies a pat on the back that they do not really need presently. Although I'm glad, as an American, that we are nominal allies with Australia, I am reminded of the time when I worked for a polling company and I happened to get an Aussie on the line. The question was, "What is the biggest issue that the US is facing today?" was the question.

"US-Australia-relations," the pollee answered. "Not nearly enough attention is being paid, or media being attended to, towards the issue of US-Australia relations." said my Aussie-born, US-living compatriot. So before we accuse the US of being egocentric, let's take this data point into consideration.
posted by mreleganza at 10:43 PM on November 16, 2011 [3 favorites]


OCCUPY WALLABY STREET!*

-----
*There really isn't a Wallaby Street
posted by mazola at 10:53 PM on November 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


China is a brutal communist dictatorship which constantly makes threats against its neighbours...

Hey Joanne, when was the last time China illegally invaded a country on the other side of the world under blatantly false pretenses?
posted by moorooka at 10:57 PM on November 16, 2011 [8 favorites]


1293?
posted by klue at 11:02 PM on November 16, 2011


*There really isn't a Wallaby Street
Come on, there must be millions(?) of streets in Australia, you don't think there's a single one named Wallaby Street? Anyway, you're Wrong
posted by delmoi at 11:03 PM on November 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


I swear to God, that's the first time I've been wrong.
posted by mazola at 11:08 PM on November 16, 2011 [10 favorites]


I ... don't think this is a satire but I'm never really sure nowadays. Anyway, here's how the more popular daily Melbourne newspaper described the meeting between the US President and Australian Prime Minister.
posted by Joe in Australia at 11:11 PM on November 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


The American public, many without jobs, may scoff if the Gillard-Obama coupling comes to be dubbed "J-Ob".

...I don't think we have to worry about that.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 11:15 PM on November 16, 2011


moorooka : 2011? Not all invasions use armies.
posted by Grimgrin at 11:17 PM on November 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


mreleganza, it's entirely possible that your polee was pulling your leg, what with being Australian and all.
posted by Hello, I'm David McGahan at 11:24 PM on November 16, 2011 [4 favorites]


nice link Grimgrin but I don't think the meaning of "invasion" can stretch far enough to cover a pair of foreign managers going postal
posted by moorooka at 11:27 PM on November 16, 2011


popular daily Melbourne newspaper

I think 'newspaper' is a strong word for the Hun.
posted by pompomtom at 12:01 AM on November 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


Grimgrin, you didn't happen to get that quote from Gwynne Dyer from the LWSC journal did you?
posted by Megami at 12:07 AM on November 17, 2011


Not exactly following her bliss, is she. That whole plane flight away. Unpossible!

I have taken that plane ride. It was twenty four hours flying time from the east coast of North America. Expensive as hell. Did I mention twenty-four hours flying time?

And to be completely honest, it wasn't entirely worth it. Just kind of a dustier United States with kangaroos and dual-flush toilets.

Sometimes romantic notions are best kept as such.

And I don't really see China invading anytime soon. Congratulations on being invaded by the US, though!
posted by Sys Rq at 12:10 AM on November 17, 2011


Well China isn't that far but it's probably more to keep an eye on those troublesome New Zealanders.

Anyway should be some amusing stories come the infamous Silly Season up north.
posted by gomichild at 12:59 AM on November 17, 2011


Well, I'm glad the discourse is less silly now.
posted by UbuRoivas at 1:27 AM on November 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


lol wut
posted by tumid dahlia at 2:13 AM on November 17, 2011


"give" (what's a better word?) women the vote

I think "give" is fine if we're talking about "the vote". It doesn't work for "the right to vote" because "right" has a dual meaning of legal right (which is accurate) and moral right (which is not, because it implies that women had no natural right to vote prior it being granted to them by a male legislature elected by male voters).


This makes sense as a symbolic move to show that the US and Australia are strong allies, but I don't see why it has to be a counter to China specifically.

They're there for the same reason that there are American troops near the SK/NK border - to die, thereby triggering a massive reaction from the American public. If there are American troops there, then enemies know that any attack there may well kill a number of them, bringing the US into the war. It's a deterrent.
posted by atrazine at 2:22 AM on November 17, 2011


...note that 2500 troops is not exactly huge...

So it's okay if they stay at your house then? They can put their cluster bombs in the back yard.

Note that Australians have not always been so generous.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 2:44 AM on November 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Kirth, thanks for the editorial input. And there was me thinking that I didn't say anything like the words that you're trying to put into my mouth. My mistake, I'm sure.
posted by peacay at 3:21 AM on November 17, 2011


There's been a USA military presence in Australia for a very long time. It's also incredibly apparent that the Australian Government (regardless of which party is occupying it) has put its alliance with the USA ahead of many other considerations from the Second World War onwards. I'm not going to offer an opinion on this, other than the fact that this does not come as a surprise to me at all.
posted by h00py at 3:40 AM on November 17, 2011


since not from, damnit!
posted by h00py at 3:42 AM on November 17, 2011


It's charming how Obama is treating his Australian hosts like they're cuddly cartoon characters, like they're all a bunch of wisecracking koala sidekicks. Charming.
posted by item at 3:58 AM on November 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


I heard this on the news this morning and got to wondering if America has ever allowed anyone else to base troops on US soil; exchange program, basically.

This piqued my curiosity, as I spent some quality time stationed on US bases in the UK. It would seem that personnel from other countries are assimilated into the existing ranks, rather than sequestered by nationality. Think Prince Harry at his current training facility in Nevada. Training is the key reason for others visiting in the states - NATO/ANZAC really didn't set up any joint forward defense provisions for the continental U.S. after WWII.
posted by halfbuckaroo at 4:34 AM on November 17, 2011


got to wondering if America has ever allowed anyone else to base troops on US soil

Yes. The Luftwaffe has a substantial and permanent presence at Holloman AFB in New Mexico. They do training there that German airspace is too crowded for.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 5:03 AM on November 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


"Peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations-entangling alliances with none."
posted by blue_beetle at 5:07 AM on November 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


There is also the urgent requirement to get troops off of Okinawa. And with the economic climate, moving to an already-built base in Australia is easier than trying to speed up the construction on Guam.

Guam is waaaaaay behind schedule.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 5:36 AM on November 17, 2011


"Australia's defense policy is to go along with everything America does, in the hopes that if Australia ever finds itself in a real war America will back them up.

I know--when, ever in history has the U.S. come to the aid of Australia when it was engaged in a total war with a major Asian power? I dare anyone to provide an example.
posted by Ironmouth at 5:52 AM on November 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Is Japan considered Asian, do you know?
posted by infini at 5:53 AM on November 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


Poor show, Metafilter.

Just kind of a dustier United States with kangaroos and dual-flush toilets.

Hmmm. Like the U.S. is a warmer Canada, only meaner, and with more stupid people and guns?
posted by stinkycheese at 6:17 AM on November 17, 2011 [4 favorites]


i'm kind of surprised to learn that the us didn't already have something similar in place. 2500 marines isn't anything significant in terms of threatening china ... but it seems to me this would put marines a lot better position to deal with piracy issues in the islands.

personally i think the us should return the favor and allow the aussies to base 2500 troops in the us.
posted by lester at 6:28 AM on November 17, 2011


Hmmm. Like the U.S. is a warmer Canada, only meaner, and with more stupid people and guns?

As an American, I'm inclined to agree with this description.
posted by jalexei at 6:48 AM on November 17, 2011


Ironmouth: That's sarcasm, right?
posted by absalom at 6:48 AM on November 17, 2011


Megami: I don't think so. IIRC it was from one of his books on the Iraq war, and talking about why participation in the war by Australia didn't indicate enthusiastic support.
posted by Grimgrin at 7:12 AM on November 17, 2011


Hmmm. Like the U.S. is a warmer Canada, only meaner, and with more stupid people and guns?

Hate to say it, but since the Harper election, I get the feeling this isn't that far off. Alberta ain't all that different from Montana or, say, Texas. Any more.

Seriously, I think this particular initiative has a lot to do with the islands in the South China Sea. The US is heavily invested in keeping the area free for passage of the navy, etc. (like they are with the Northwest Passage, speaking of Canada), but the local powers (China, Vietnam, and the Philippines) all have overlapping claims and serious interest in developing oil and fishing resources there and restricting each others' access. It's a bit of a scary situation. I don't think they're worried about Chinese aggression against Australia, but more this other thing. Feel free to criticize the logic of deploying more military force to discourage conflict, as I agree.
posted by zomg at 7:17 AM on November 17, 2011


The Monkey: Was gutted when Obama congratulated Australia on being the first country to "give" (what's a better word?) women the vote,

Oh, FFS: enfranchised. That's the word for it:

1.Give the right to vote to


UbuRoivas, were you being intentionally ironic?
posted by IAmBroom at 7:21 AM on November 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Hmmm. Like the U.S. is a warmer Canada, only meaner, and with more stupid people and guns?

Canada has it's fair share of stupid people (somebody elected Harper) and this needs something about moose vs. deer, but otherwise, yes.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 7:49 AM on November 17, 2011


Obama referred to the PM simply as "Julia."

Heads of state/government do this. That wasn't intended as a show of disrespect.
posted by spaltavian at 7:51 AM on November 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Okay, strategically, having bases in Australia and New Zealand are key for any defense of the Pacific, especially from China and ... India. They are further away than places like South Korea, Taiwan, Guam, and the P.I., but it is necessary for (1) staging (2) supply lines (3) retreat. Ideally, all of those other places are available, but you have to think maybe a step or two ahead when it comes to war. Sustained military presence in Australia is also necessary in defending Hawaii in particular, which is key in protecting the U.S. coast.
posted by jabberjaw at 8:09 AM on November 17, 2011


How does the US scenario play out with the Five Powers Defense Arrangement that's apparently just been renewed?
posted by infini at 8:13 AM on November 17, 2011


Grimgrin - you're right, it was from 'Future Tense'. I realised I quoted it in an interview I did with him, hence the fact I thought he had actually said it in the interview.
Not that he was far off the mark!
posted by Megami at 8:31 AM on November 17, 2011


One condition for the US is that the town of Darwin be renamed 'Genesis.'
posted by Flashman at 8:34 AM on November 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


The Five Powers Defense Arrangement involves Australia, New Zealand, the UK, Singapore and Malaysia. What's in the middle of Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and Malaysia?

The nation with the largest Muslim population in the world.

The question is, what effects would sustained U.S. presence in Australia have on Indonesia?
posted by jabberjaw at 8:42 AM on November 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Is Japan considered Asian, do you know?

dunno, they once were in this thing called the "Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere."
posted by Ironmouth at 8:46 AM on November 17, 2011


Over the Horizon: Is worrying about war with China a self-fulfilling prophecy?
posted by homunculus at 8:49 AM on November 17, 2011


Interesting sidelight, the US forces may stockpile illegal cluster munitions on our soil.

U.S. takes the lead on behalf of cluster bombs
posted by homunculus at 8:52 AM on November 17, 2011


Really, this is simply analyzed:

Australia is Friendly to the United States:
+1 You Have Chosen Your Civics Wisely
+2 We Care for Our Brothers and Sisters of the Faith
+1 Years of Peace Have Strengthened Our Relationship
+3 Our Trade Relations have been Fair and Forthright
+1 Our Open Borders Bring Us Closer Together
+1 Our Defensive Pact Brings us Closer Together

Australia is Cautious towards China
-1 We are Upset You have fallen Under the Sway of a Heathen Religion
-1 You have Poor Civics
+1 Our Open Borders Bring Us Closer Together
+1 Years of Peace Have Strengthened Our Relationship.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:57 AM on November 17, 2011 [4 favorites]


Indonesia as a threat to Singapore and Malaysia has had less to do with Islam and more to do with the concept of Nusantara, as espoused and executed (albeit unsuccessfully, with Australian troops fighting on the shores of the East Coast) as the Konfrontasi by Soekarno (Sukarno alternate sp)

disclaimer, this was my final report topic in high school SEA history
posted by infini at 9:05 AM on November 17, 2011


Tojo never made it to Darwin.
posted by kirkaracha at 10:33 AM on November 17, 2011


Poor show, Metafilter.

Just kind of a dustier United States with kangaroos and dual-flush toilets.

Hmmm. Like the U.S. is a warmer Canada, only meaner, and with more stupid people and guns?
posted by stinkycheese


Well, the first example is a joking description of how two countries share similar characteristics while the second is mean-spirited bigotry. So no, not like that.

Maybe "America is like Australia except with more tv channels and a big hole in the desert"?
posted by Winnemac at 12:05 PM on November 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


Hey Joanne, when was the last time China illegally invaded a country on the other side of the world under blatantly false pretenses?

It's not the other side of the world, but you may want to ask Vietnam or South Korea about Chinese military aggression.
posted by thewittyname at 12:06 PM on November 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


Or Tibet.
posted by UbuRoivas at 12:16 PM on November 17, 2011


Or India.
posted by UbuRoivas at 12:16 PM on November 17, 2011


Speaking of India, it's interesting that this new US garrison thing coincides with discussions about Australia selling uranium to India, in spite of the latter not having signed the nuclear nonproliferation treaty. They've explicitly said that they want the right to arm & defend themselves against their nuclear-armed neighbours, and India has been at war with both Pakistan & China since independence..
posted by UbuRoivas at 12:18 PM on November 17, 2011


Winnemac: I take it you didn't actually see Sys Rq's full comment that I was quoting? The comment which itself was responding to the idea that a flight to Australia was very long?

Here it is --

I have taken that plane ride. It was twenty four hours flying time from the east coast of North America. Expensive as hell. Did I mention twenty-four hours flying time?

And to be completely honest, it wasn't entirely worth it. Just kind of a dustier United States with kangaroos and dual-flush toilets.

Sometimes romantic notions are best kept as such.

And I don't really see China invading anytime soon. Congratulations on being invaded by the US, though!


You suggest that this, "is a joking description of how two countries share similar characteristics".

Hmm. No, I don't think it is. I'd say it's closer to, uh, "mean-spirited bigotry".

I've taken that plane ride too, by the way. Yes, it was a long time to sit in a plane, but completely worth it for the chance to visit one of the most amazing places I've ever been.
posted by stinkycheese at 12:43 PM on November 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's not the other side of the world, but you may want to ask Vietnam or South Korea about Chinese military aggression.

Yeah, um, so might you.

The UN invited itself into Korea -- illegally, mind you -- in July 1950. China wouldn't step in for another two months, only to help defend Korea from the inexplicable UN intervention in a purely Korean matter.

Of course, Communist China would never have been in a position to do that had the US not saved it from the clutches of Imperial Japan in WWII.

The defeat of Japan in 1945 also had the effect of creating a power vacuum in French Nazi Japanese Indochina. Ho Chi Minh stepped up, with the popular support of the local population, but the Allies would have none of it; Indochina belonged to France, and that was that. Of course, France didn't have the resources to maintain control of the region, and so the Chinese Nationalists -- presently losing the Chinese Civil War to the Communists -- took hold of North Vietnam at the behest of the USA, UK, and USSR as a way to keep Vietnam out of the hands of those meddling Vietnamese. And that's how that all started.

You were saying?
posted by Sys Rq at 1:04 PM on November 17, 2011 [3 favorites]


Hmm. No, I don't think it is. I'd say it's closer to, uh, "mean-spirited bigotry".

Explain. You're insulted by Australia being compared to the US? Wouldn't that be your bigotry at play?

I was merely suggesting that Australia is not all that exotic from a North American perspective. To justify the lengthy and bloody expensive journey, it'd kind of have to be to win out over any closer place of equal or greater value, i.e. just about everywhere on Earth.

All of which, it pains me to have to point out, is merely an opinion.
posted by Sys Rq at 1:17 PM on November 17, 2011


P.S. My sister, her husband, and their two children are Australian, and I love them all very much.
posted by Sys Rq at 1:22 PM on November 17, 2011


Psst- Australians know how long it takes to get here. It takes north of 8 hours to get anywhere from here other than NZ or tiny tropical islands. And it costs just as much to visit the USA from Oz as vice versa, which is why Australians roll their eyes at this line of argument. Australia is far away,yes. But from the Australian perspective it's everyone else who's far away, nu?
posted by gingerest at 1:25 PM on November 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


So by the time the troops actually get to anywhere relevant, it might be time for breakfast already?
posted by infini at 1:28 PM on November 17, 2011


I think your initial comment speaks for itself, Sys Rq. At the very least, it was rude.

I have relatives in the U.S. (and Australia) too, so...?
posted by stinkycheese at 1:33 PM on November 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Well, if you thought my comment was rude, I apologize.

Don't read the comment it was responding to, though. Your rude-ometer might explode.
posted by Sys Rq at 1:35 PM on November 17, 2011


The comment or the quoted article? I thought the article was funny actually, but that's probably because it reaffirmed my own prejud... er, experience.

The combination of news that the U.S.'s military presence expands ever onward, combined with what I perceived to be "Australia? Ha ha" from U.S. commentators here had me seeing red.

Anyway, I appreciate your responses. Peace.
posted by stinkycheese at 1:44 PM on November 17, 2011


Tojo never made it to Darwin.

Yes he did? Darwin was bombed into rubble.
posted by miyabo at 1:51 PM on November 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Tojo never made it to Darwin.

Nah, that's Santa you're thinking of.
posted by pompomtom at 2:13 PM on November 17, 2011


The question is, what effects would sustained U.S. presence in Australia have on Indonesia?

The answer is, none. Goodness, it's a small base, not a freaking invasion launch pad. This is a storm in a teacup, and the idea of anyone paying attention to the Chinese Govt line on it - spoken for a domestic audience more than anything else - is just silly.
posted by smoke at 2:49 PM on November 17, 2011


Then why has a new short range naval vessel also been stationed in Singapore recently? [sorry nothing online, its in today's Straits Times in an op-ed by Michael Vatikiotis titled Return of foreign forces to SE Asia a security worry]
posted by infini at 4:21 PM on November 17, 2011


It's not the other side of the world, but you may want to ask Vietnam or South Korea about Chinese military aggression.

You're actually bringing up Vietnam to illustrate Chinese military aggression that needs American containment? You may want to google the My Lai Massacre.

I'm not getting into the Korea debate, except to say that neither America/UN nor China had any business getting involved.
posted by fatehunter at 4:51 PM on November 17, 2011


And you may want to google China Vietnam border dispute.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 4:55 PM on November 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


And you may want to google China Vietnam border dispute.

It was in our history textbooks in high school, thank you very much. I read into the subject (in the context of Sino-Vietnamese relations) when I was older, because several of my relatives live/do business in Vietnam.

What do yo know about Vietnam, or China, or Asia? Do you know that America is not part of Asia?
posted by fatehunter at 5:05 PM on November 17, 2011


fatehunter, I don't really see what the question has to do with American military aggression - the original response was in relation to the idea that China is not militarily aggressive, when in fact they're currently involved in territorial border disputes - mostly aggressive - on nearly every side of the country.

This in no way obviates American actions in the territory or other places, but the Vietnam war was over thirty-five years ago, and we're talking about today. The idea that China is any more innocent or less strategically and territorially orientated than the US is naive one that the CCP likes to play up while ironically trumpeting their own imperial ambitions. Truly, it's possible to walk and chew gum in regards to this question.
posted by smoke at 5:18 PM on November 17, 2011


Yes, I noticed that when I was over there.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 5:19 PM on November 17, 2011


An answer to fatehunter's question.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 5:21 PM on November 17, 2011


the original response was in relation to the idea that China is not militarily aggressive, when in fact they're currently involved in territorial border disputes - mostly aggressive - on nearly every side of the country.

No one said or implied China was not militarily aggressive. Sys Rq's original comment about the American invasion of Iraq was quite obviously about America. My comment "... Chinese military aggression that needs American containment" was also about America.

The idea that China is any more innocent or less strategically and territorially orientated than the US is naive one that the CCP likes to play up while ironically trumpeting their own imperial ambitions.

The point isn't that China is more peaceful or whatever laughable idea it wants to sell. The point is that America is once again playing its strategic games in Asia, when it had a god-awful track record, both in terms of the atrocities it committed, the geo-political problems it helped create/worsen in the region, and its own national interests it ultimately harmed.

I'll repeat my comment about the Korean War and extrapolate from the sentiment: neither America/UN nor China had any business getting involved. I grew up in Taiwan and lived the first 15 years of my life in fear of a war with China. Even then I knew better than to wish for American intervention. The idea of American "containment" of Chinese "aggression" is like dousing fire with toxic dust.
posted by fatehunter at 5:42 PM on November 17, 2011


The point isn't that China is more peaceful or whatever laughable idea it wants to sell. The point is that America is once again playing its strategic games in Asia, when it had a god-awful track record, both in terms of the atrocities it committed, the geo-political problems it helped create/worsen in the region, and its own national interests it ultimately harmed.


Yes.

A bit of googling helped me figure this out - there's oil in them thar seas.

“This hunt for resources is going to consume large bodies of water around the world for at least the next couple of decades,” Mrs. Clinton said in a recent interview, describing a global competition that sounds like a watery Great Game.

Such tensions are sure to shadow President Obama this week, as he meets with leaders from China and other Asian countries in Honolulu and on the Indonesian island of Bali. Administration officials said they expected all sides to tamp down disagreements, though that won’t mask the coming conflicts.

“Underlying all of this is the recognition that an increasing share of oil resources is offshore,” said Daniel Yergin, an energy expert and author of a new book, “The Quest: Energy, Security, and the Remaking of the Modern World.” “When you have energy resources on land,” he said, “you know where things stand. When they’re offshore, things can get murkier.”


And from today's Indian news:

Verma pointed out that Asia-Pacific region is home to numerous major shipping lanes, which service regional as well as global trade. "Disruption of traffic flow on these routes could thus have a severe impact on the global economy," he said.

For that reason, he called for brain-storming on the structure and content of the security architecture that would offer "a best fit" to promote peace and stability in South China Sea, owing to the peculiarities of the region.

"Precisely for this reason, ready-made solutions do not exist and that it may not also be feasible to borrow an existing arrangement functioning in another region to be applied in the Asia-Pacific," he said.

The navy chief said a scan of the multitude of threats that exists in the region, makes it apparent that unilateralism, as a strategy, may be inadequate and that multilateral cooperative mechanisms is the way forward.

"As most would agree, many contemporary issues that impinge upon the peace and stability of the region are beyond the capacity of any one country to handle single-handedly and therefore require, cooperative and collective action," he added.


looks out window at the sea
posted by infini at 6:24 PM on November 17, 2011


Tojo never made it to Darwin.

Yes he did?

Not according to these guys.
posted by kirkaracha at 6:28 PM on November 17, 2011


"It was in our history textbooks in high school, thank you very much. "

Wow, that makes me feel old.
posted by gingerest at 7:11 PM on November 17, 2011


« Older "I live next door to a house owned by Bank of Amer...  |  Depressed? Has all the negati... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments