June 07, 2004


When Malcolm Fraser decides to weigh in, it’s a sure sign that an issue is over. The ex-Prime Minister -- and they don’t come much more ex than Malcolm -- today shares his opinion on Bush’s post-Howard speech and the situation in Iraq:

How sovereign can a government be if there is a large occupying army within its borders?

Beats me. Ask the Germans.

Posted by Tim Blair at June 7, 2004 06:32 AM

Well, if the government has the right to ask the occupying army to leave at the drop of a hat, I would say very sovereign.

Posted by: Oktober at June 7, 2004 at 08:42 AM

Hell, the Germans are begging the "occupying army" to stay, even as we plan to leave!

Money apparently trumps their "sovereignty."

Posted by: Barbara Skolaut at June 7, 2004 at 09:10 AM

"Every US president except the present one worked with the international community, with the United Nations and the Security Council, and built broad-based coalitions."

For example, Bill Clinton didn't bomb Kosovo without the support of the Security Council; George H. W. Bush had both UN authorization and a multinational coalition in Panama; Ronald Reagan had UN support and the full backing of all our allies in both Grenada and Libya; and French and German troops were part of the UN peacekeeping force JFK put together to defend the Republic of Vietnam from Communist agressors.


Posted by: Warmongering Lunatic at June 7, 2004 at 10:15 AM

Give me a break - the ALP has been supporting the Democrats for years - up to and including Latham's description of Bush as 'dangerous and incompetent'.

The only difference is that the ALPs support for the Democrats doesn't count for anything.

Latham's muted response shows that he understands that Australian's won't let him get away with starting a fight and complaining when the other bloke starts hitting back.

Posted by: Alek Hidell at June 7, 2004 at 10:42 AM

The local German governments are terrified about losing the $1.4 billion US bases pour into their economies each year, even though they now refuse to even provide basic security for those bases and the US dependents based there.

I'm all for moving every facility we can out of Germany and into Italy as fast as the trucks will drive. It's a more sensible location for MidEast deployments anyway...

Posted by: richard mcenroe at June 7, 2004 at 11:51 AM

I'm not so sure Italy is such a good idea, Richard. Berlusconi won't be in power forever, and I'm pretty sure the other Italian parties would do a 180 on his pro-U.S. policies before you can say "Zapatero". And they'd probably have broad public support for it, too, unfortunately.

Besides, Schröder too won't be in power here in Germany forever, and the opposition Christian Democrats tend to be a lot more U.S.-friendly. I actually have a standing bet with some friends that Schröder will be out on his ass before 2004 is over...and even if not, I'd be very surprised if he makes it through to the next general elections in September 2006.

Not that I necessarily disagree with the plans to shift U.S. forces out of Germany (other than for purely nationalistic reasons, although my area itself isn't dependent on their economic power), but Italy might not be the greatest location in the long run, either.

Posted by: PW at June 7, 2004 at 12:25 PM

Every US president may have recieved some sort of OK from whichever particular body was prepared to agree but remember, none of those presidents had passenger jets crash in downtown New York while they were in power. However, i don't think Bill Clinton asked the UN for approval to bomb Bin Laden with Tommahawks...
As for NATO giving support to Kosovo. They only did it because the US were going in anyway. I didn't see the UN grow the balls to help out there or claim foul!!!
As for Iraq, it's little wonder the UN never gave support, they were too busy embezzling money from the Iraqi's in the "Oil-for-Food" scam to actually do their duty. After all, what were the security resolutions for if they were never to be implemented. Resolution 1441 granted the power to take military action if Iraq was unable or refused to provide proof of the destruction of the banned weapons. They failed to comply so they payed for it and legally so...So to somehow suggest that G.W.Bush didn't have approval or power to act is incorrect, hence the UN cannot take action against the Bush administration. Permission was guaranteed under UN guidelines by resolution 1441.

Posted by: scott at June 7, 2004 at 12:58 PM

And the Japanese, and the South Koreans.
Heck, there was a British military base nearby where I grew up (Alberta, Canada), but I don't think anyone is doubting Canada's independence from the UK. There's a rumour that to be in the Liberal party, you have to give the Trudeu salute to the Union Jack.
Just a rumour, mind you.

Posted by: Geoff Matthews at June 7, 2004 at 04:04 PM

Well, closer to home... Didn't the last of the occupying forces (including Australians) only recently (May/June this year) leave the independent sovereign state of East Timor?

Posted by: John Cruice at June 7, 2004 at 05:48 PM

Yep, John, that's right. And the East Timorese actually asked them to stay.

Still, no complaints there.

And why isn't Mr Malcolm Fraser concerned about Zimbabwe's troops marching around in its neighbours country? Doesn't he want to criticise his buddy Mugabe?

Posted by: Quentin George at June 7, 2004 at 09:03 PM

"Every US president except the present one worked with the international community, with the United Nations and the Security Council, and built broad-based coalitions."

Eh? The US has had 40-odd presidents, and last I checked, the UN had only been in existence while the last dozen or so US presidents were in office.

Someone needs to pull their head out of their arse.

Posted by: rosignol at June 8, 2004 at 01:43 PM