One of the things I have been concerned about in my recent blogs concerning international affairs and politics, is the degree to which American ham-fistedness and arrogance is driving valuable and long-term allies away from this nation, important and powerful countries like Germany. The Ukrainian fiasco has been perhaps, the most serious long-term setback for America in world public opinion in many years, perhaps even in the decades since the end of the Vietnam War.
Which brings me to a story submitted to me by a regular reader here, who lives in Australia, "Ms. D."
Ms. D sent me the following story, and I was both stunned, and yet, not surprised, as more chickens are coming home to roost as a result of the growing perception in the world that the USA is a dangerously out of control power, and that its leaders are criminally corrupt, insane, and incompetent.
In this case, one of the USA's most staunch allies, former Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser is calling for that country to end its military alliance with the USA:
Geopolitically, Australia has always been the lynchpin of Western strategy of projecting power in the Pacific, and Australia has willingly given its treasure and lives to support Western military adventurism, from Churchill's Gallipoli folly to America's wars in Korea and Vietnam.
Consider carefully then, what these thoughts of one of Australia's former pro-American prime ministers really says about the backlash against America's lack of geopolitical sanity and basic decency:
Fraser tells me he was once convinced the swift and peaceable end of the Cold War would create a better world. Ruefully, he concedes he then did not believe it possible that the hope of a new world order powerfully articulated in March 1991 by George Bush snr - of international co-operation under the rule of law - would be so swiftly and comprehensively squandered.Why did this happen? Fraser places most of the blame on the post-Cold War leadership of the sole remaining superpower, the US. Bill Clinton had no feel for foreign policy. At the end of the Cold War, having served its purpose, NATO should have been wound up. Fraser is bitterly critical of the war of humanitarian intervention fought by NATO over Kosovo: its support for the terrorist Kosovo Liberation Army; its prolonged bombing of civilians in Serbia; its signing of a treaty, the Kumanovo Agreement, it had no intention of fulfilling. Even though Dangerous Allies was written before the present crisis over Crimea, it contains a prophetic passage about the dangers of Clinton's expansion of NATO eastwards to the borderlands of Russia.The rise of the neo-conservatives in Washington during the 1990s was, however, an even more important catalyst for Fraser's journey from former Cold War warrior to Australia's most prominent critic of US imperialism. These people are, he tells me, true believers in some of the oldest and most dangerous tendencies in American thought: American "self-righteousness" and "exceptionalism"; the existence of a God-given "manifest destiny" to bring redemption to the world. He explains the potential perils of the neo-con world view like this: in the same way that Stalin believed the USSR would not be safe until democracy was destroyed, the neo-cons believe the US will not be safe until democracy is universally triumphant. They have no understanding of the madness of their ambition. They vastly overestimate the political efficacy of military power. They are extraordinarily ignorant of other cultures.
On the basis of conversations I have had with friends in Australia, I strongly suspect Prime Minister Fraser's ideas are not unique to him by any means. Fraser goes on to conclude, in my opinion correctly, that the presence of American military bases in that country are an assault on its sovereignty, and would involve that nation in America's wars, like it or not. Australia does not have any beef with China, nor China with Australia, and in any case, Australia-US alliance, or not, China knows any attempt to "annex" the nation would lead to a war. So what does Australia gain from a military alliance with the USA when even without such an alliance it would still be protected? And that's true... American bases are now the sign, not of a protector, but of the implicit threat that all such protection rackets inevitably engender. And from this author's chair, the Prime Minister is also correct on another score, Washington is no longer listening to, or even capable of listening to, any of its allies. And Australia deserves better friends.
While I know nothing about Australian politics, the prime minister's remarks are a serious sign of how bad the blowback from the USA's post-9/11 behavior has become. And if US policies are not changed dramatically and sincerely, that trend is only going to spread.
Fraser's observations are the clearest wake up call yet. And for that, he is to be thanked.
See you on the flip side.