September 27, 2003


Paul Sheehan on Australia and the US:

Beyond the US, there are 188 sovereign nations (give or take a microstate or two) and only one of them has fought beside it in every one of the major international wars the Americans have waged over the past 100 years.


In the US's seven wars of the past century (not counting numerous and sometimes bloody military actions in Panama, Grenada, Somalia, Bosnia, Guatemala and elsewhere) - World War I, World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Gulf War, the Afghanistan war, and the Iraq war - only Australia fought in all seven wars, and every one of them was fought far from Australia's shores.

Why would a nation so far from harm be so willing to fight? Two basic reasons. Australia is an altruistic nation. It stands for something. With allies, it is willing to fight expansive tyrannies. As for the other reason, when Howard committed Australia to the American cause in Iraq, he did so for the same reason five of his predecessors went to war: the need to be aligned with a superpower that can stop an invasion from Asia, and did stop an invasion from Asia.

There's lots more. Read the whole thing. And here's another Australian admired in the US -- for all the wrong reasons.

Posted by Tim Blair at September 27, 2003 06:36 PM

Brothers forever.

Posted by: Gary Utter at September 27, 2003 at 07:18 PM

I just hope someday this Texan can repay the friendship and good times I've had from my visits to Australia. I might go bankrupt from paying back all the shouts that were made for me, but I'll be happy to give it a try.
Bob Carter
Houston, Texas

Posted by: Bob Carter at September 27, 2003 at 08:23 PM

What a load of pious toadying garbage. Sheehan and his fellow apologist should be tried for treason. If they love the USA so much let em go and live there. Australia! Love it or leave it!!!!!

Posted by: Miranda Divide at September 27, 2003 at 09:49 PM

I had not realized. Even with the Liberal bug making the rounds in Australia your still in the US corner. I like Kangaroos.

Posted by: papertiger at September 27, 2003 at 10:06 PM


How about elaborating on the pious and toadying aspects of Sheehan's piece?

Posted by: S Whiplash at September 27, 2003 at 10:52 PM

In two of the seven conflicts, the Australians were in it years before the US got involved. So, it's hard to say the Aussies were toadying up to the US. I'm refering to WWI (US entry April 1918, Aussie entry August 1914) and WWII (US entry December 8th, 1941, Aussie entry September 1939). Australia has been lucky to have practical politicians in charge, who clearly saw to the interests of the people of Australia, unlike the French and the Germans, both of whose countries have been devastated by lost wars.

Posted by: Jabba the Nutt at September 27, 2003 at 11:13 PM

You were there for us and we were there for you.

Thanks Australia

Posted by: monkeyboy at September 27, 2003 at 11:31 PM

Back in the mid '80's I spent about three months bumming around Australia with a backpack picking up work here and there. Loved every minute of it. If I had to live anywhere outside of the U.S. it would be Australia. Good on ya, mates.

Posted by: Randal Robinson at September 28, 2003 at 12:09 AM

I can't tell you how grateful I am for Australian support. Thank you very much.

Posted by: tom beta 2 at September 28, 2003 at 12:38 AM

Aussie Aussie Aussie! Oi oi oi!

Posted by: LB at September 28, 2003 at 12:40 AM

Ah, but your nutter counter-example is counter-weighed by the far more influential, anti-terrorist Peta Wilson.

Posted by: DougM at September 28, 2003 at 01:35 AM

Supporting America is or ought to be a no-brainer for us, because the Americans are good, they have not let us down, and geography says they will always have a stake in the Pacific.

The fact they are powerful is only a bonus. If they were a tenth as powerful as they are, they would still be bloody desirable allies, just because of the kind of people they are, the convenience of a common language and so on.

I look forward to a day when the New Zealand and Canadian governments again see this as clearly as ours does. They are very much wanted, and it sucks that for the time being they are not fully part of this team.

In the meantime, it would be nice if the Labor Party would return to common sense on this issue.

Anyway, best wishes to you Americans. Long may your country's flag wave proudly.

Posted by: David Blue at September 28, 2003 at 03:18 AM

Good article! One quibble: was the first time anyone could remember a foreign national anthem being played at the US's most fabled stadium.

O Canada is regularly played at Yankee Stadium when the Toronto Blue Jays visit.

Posted by: ForNow at September 28, 2003 at 03:27 AM

Helen Caldicott is admired only in LLL circles and even some of them are embarassed by her shrill stupidity.

Thank you Australia!!

Posted by: Catbert at September 28, 2003 at 03:29 AM

God bless the Aussies, we will never forget you in the USA if only for your support after Sept.11.

Posted by: Joe Latino at September 28, 2003 at 03:37 AM

I'll second Randal's comment about Australia, and I've never actually been there.

Posted by: John Nowak at September 28, 2003 at 04:44 AM

Hey Aussies:
Thank you all. Don't have the words to express our gratitude.

If you need us, you'd better believe we'll be there for you.

One million years from now, the U.S. and Australia may not exist. But the principles we believe in and are united behind will last forever.


Posted by: SteveMG at September 28, 2003 at 05:04 AM

This is the lesson that will be taught to my children. Australia is our friend: first, last and always. And no harm will come to her as long as I have a thing to say about it.

Posted by: Andrew at September 28, 2003 at 05:09 AM

Thanks Australia! I remember reading somewhere about some raid in Signapore where the agent found a map of some so-called future Islamic superstate in red and the rest in white. Australia was in red. My jaw dropped.

Posted by: Amelia at September 28, 2003 at 06:41 AM

Just to reiterate, thanks Australia. The US would not hesitate to embrace conflict, even "a land war in Asia" to protect your country.

Posted by: Bill at September 28, 2003 at 07:08 AM

I will never forget something my grandfather said to me on the Eleventh:

"Now we will find out who our friends are."

He was more right than either of us knew. God bless you, Australia. We will not forget.

Posted by: Oregon Dan at September 28, 2003 at 12:17 PM

Sounds like Miranda could do with a right good rogering. She's sure is bitter.

Posted by: Imam Psycho Muhammed at September 28, 2003 at 03:01 PM

dumb bitches like A. Vanestone and B.Bishop should be enough to put Caldicott's idea to rest.

Posted by: duni at September 28, 2003 at 04:43 PM

hey DUNNI!!! Weird old bolshie crackers/slappers like Carmen me'pants Laurence dont do it for you? I know she does it for me!! YEAH BABY!

Posted by: roscoe p coltrane at September 28, 2003 at 07:36 PM

David Blue:

Wasn't aware that we shared a common language (rather than a noble one, you mean?), but if I understand your Danish correctly, thanks mate. And a double shout for your mates.

Posted by: John Brown at September 29, 2003 at 05:16 PM

I've never heard of Helen Caldicott and I'm a news junky who actually reads stories about foreign politics. I can pretty well guarantee you that not 1 out of 10,000 Americans has heard of her, let alone "admires" her. Foreign loony left grandmothers just don't get a lot of play here.

Australians are genuinely liked and admired in the U.S. The general feeling is that in a desperate situation, we could count on the Brits and Australians, but not much of anyone else. (It's sad to say that 20 years ago I would have counted Canadians in that group.) The converse is certainly true. In a world increasingly infected by transnational progressivism, it's comforting that there are other countries constitutionally immune.

Posted by: Vidkun Quisling at September 29, 2003 at 06:26 PM

"every one of them was fought far from Australia's shores"

Well, not quite. In addition to Jabba's comments, you might note that at several points the Japanese seemed literally on the verge of invading Australia proper in the early years of WW2. Most of Australia's most-experienced and best-equipped troops were off in Europe and North Africa fighting for the Commonwealth at the time. Note also that the Pacific war didn't start with Pearl Harbor, merely accelerated with it.

It was only the battles of Coral Sea and later Midway that put paid to Japan's plans to land in Australia.

In fact, in both world wars it could be argued that the only reason the Aussies were in it first was because they were defending the Commonwealth. The Canadians similarly fought in both wars, despite being in virtually no immediate danger (and not having anything like Pearl Harbor as an inducement).

That said, there are many similarities between the two countries, beyond merely sharing a similar language. Both were far-off colonies of England, used heavily as places to dispose of undesireables. This means that both Americans and Australians are more used to having large countries where people can spread out and be left alone, with little need or want for strict oversight -- in stark contrast to European countries. Having grown out of frontier (and unwanted) peoples, and having so much space, has probably have similar effects on both countries, with respect to prizing independence and freedom, distrusting central authority, etc. Those attitudes naturally clash with much of the Continent, and much of the rest of the world, making it natural that two like-minded countries would find each other to be good allies and even friends (which among countries are rare and hugely valuable). Toss in an obvious and common interest in keeping the Pacific, well, pacific, and there are few more natural allies on Earth.

I don't think the piece is toadying at all. It's not toadying to note that Australia has in fact been a solid ally of the US, nor to note that having the US as a solid ally is a pretty good insurance policy against any aggressor. Having a carrier battle group and a marine division or two vacationing off your shore is generally quite an inducement to proper behavior, recent foolishness notwithstanding.

Posted by: Eric at September 30, 2003 at 02:32 AM

Thanks, mates. You Aussies are good folks to have beside one in a tough fight. We won't forget. It would be good for you, though, if you could get the Libs to let you have your semi-autos back. Might make the Indos and assorted others think several times before starting something.

Posted by: Dan McWiggins at September 30, 2003 at 01:26 PM