Friday, 3 February 2017

Australia has made a mistake

in seeing itself as an ally of the United States. It has also made a mistake in see itself as "part of the Asian region".
It made the biggest mistake of all when it turned its back on Europe.
I am not suggesting that Australia should have clung to the United Kingdom. That would be ridiculous.
But, modern Australia was first built on migrants from Europe. Yes, there are more Asians here now but they have come into what is fundamentally a European style country built on the Westminster system of government and the Jewish-Christian tradition. It is not an Asian country. It is not seen as an Asian country. Asia, from Indonesia up, does not see Australia as part of their region. Australia is merely a neighbour. 
Australia is a neighbour that is actually considered a little odd, a little too anxious to be friendly, a little too ready to give advice, a little too unwilling to conform to Asian ways - and a great deal more. Asia is polite because it suits Asia to be polite - after all there is plenty of backyard produce to be got rid of and Asia appears to be more industrious and the backyards are more productive.
Australia wanted to be part of the cricket team on the street, indeed it would have liked to captain the team under people like Rudd. It didn't happen. Australia is sometimes given a chance to do a bit of fielding but that's all.
In the meantime Europe doesn't understand this. Do the kids really want nothing more to do with them - or do they just come running for a bit of trade now and then, when it's convenient or they have nothing better to do?
I know that what I have said above is a highly unpopular view but it is one which is quietly conceded by a number of senior political and other figures. They feel it is too late now, that Australia should have maintained ties with Europe for many reasons but that rebuilding them now is almost impossible and there is no will to make the effort. They privately admit that Australia is not going to be part of the Asian family but also feel there is no choice but to keep trying. They know that the United States is only interested in as far as it is convenient for their defence forces to be stationed here and for their ships to be able to dock here - with perhaps a little trade thrown in. 
It has been a blunder of drastic proportions which nobody dares to publicly acknowledge. There needs to be a change of strategy - and a lot of hard work.


helen devries said...

I've heard this from family in Australia...feeling vindicated after seeing this idea rebuffed over the years and saddened that it has come, it seems, too late.
Britain's treatment of Australia and New Zealand on joining what was then the Common Market was unconscionable - and again, picking up the ties will require a lot of tolerance on all sides.

Anonymous said...

Couldn't agree more Cat. It is what is privately thought by many in Canberra and elsewhere but of course it would be highly politically incorrect to actually say this in their positions and the media doesn't, as you know, love you for saying it. CW