Former prime minister Malcolm Fraser has made a radical call for Australia to break its alliance with the United States and become a “strategically independent” country.
In his new book Dangerous Allies, released today, Fraser warns that the ANZUS treaty – as now interpreted – might be the biggest threat to Australia’s security, rather than its major protector.
Strategic independence would mean ending the US presence in northern Australia, part of the American “pivot” to the Asia-Pacific region, and closing the Pine Gap facility, which he says nowadays could be used almost in real time to target weapons systems…
Fraser was a strong advocate of the alliance when he was prime minister between 1975 and 1983, but argues that the end of the Cold War has transformed the international situation and also that American values have changed with the growth of its view of “American exceptionalism”.
Fraser’s bottom line is that if conflicts break out Australia should be in a situation where it has a totally open choice about whether it goes to war.
He believes the alliance took Australia into costly wars, including Vietnam (when the US did not share some vital information with Australia), and especially Iraq, where the result “is, and was always going to be, disastrous”…
Fraser admits the US would take “the strongest possible exception” to moves such as closing Pine Gap within five years.
“Every pressure would be exercised on an Australian government so that the United States would maintain strategic control. We would need to resist such pressures and make it clear that, in our view, the risks of a strategic alliance with the United States, of being forced into a war that was not in our interest, were so great that we had to cut the ties.”
Another old ally tires of being subservient to the imperial interests and demands of the United States.
Fraser suggests the possible need to spend more on defense as a result of splitting from Uncle Sugar My answer to my mates in Oz is the same I offer to neighbors here in the southern Rockies. Or – rather – a question:
When was the last time “defense” forces had to fight off an invasion? Or do you simply like to give money away to subsidize a welfare program for arms traders?