Friday, 11 November 2011

The Spirit of the Anzacs versus The Spirit of ANZUS: Remembrance Day thoughts


As I write, we are remembering the fallen of Australia as part of Remembrance Day 2011 - the eleventh hour of the eleventh day in the eleventh year of the 21st century.  We particularly remember the signing of the armistice to end The Great War of 1914-1918.

This far on from the outpouring of national grief following the end of the First World War, there are mixed feelings and many war dead to uphold in our national memory not the least the latest deaths/assassinations of Australian soldiers in Afghanistan.

Wars - and our gladness to participate in them - are still with us.  We have not yet learned the ways of peace and how to beat our swords into ploughshares.  We proclaim our great alliance with the USA. This has meant a great deal to Australia and Australians but it has also meant that we have embarked on American adventures which are not of our making or our decision. Vietnam was distasteful and ill-judged and the readiness to join the USA in Afghanistan is similarly qualified.

In Australia, to change our constitution it takes a double majority to vote yes to a question in a referendum.  A double majority means a majority of people in a majority of states.  A double majority is not an easy thing to obtain. However, my view is that - if there was a vote to-day for Australia to become the 51st state of the United States of America - it would be overwhelmingly successful.  America is not only the dominant party under the ANZUS Treaty, It dominates popular culture. The Australian language has changed because of the dominance of American news, views and culture. Some children speak with a slight American accent.  The owner of most Australian newspapers and media is a man born and bred Australian but who forsook his country for US citizenship - Rupert Murdoch. Most of his children were raised in New York and speak with an American accent ... even Lachlan who now resides back in Australia.

Australia has been colonized by the USA.  It succumbed when it needed help in World War II, sought assistance from the USA, and General Douglas MacArthur arrived with American forces who were described as overpaid, overdressed, and over here. Now another step in the colonization process seems set to take place. President Obama is expected next week in Australia for a long-awaited and twice-postponed visit.  It is reported that he will announce that the US will begin rotating marines through an Australian base in Darwin in a permanent new military presence, intensifying the alliance in a sign of heightened concern about China.

It has long amazed me that I can look around the world and find places where the USA has been ... but has never left.  In some sense, this is true of the USA in Australia.  This is not the first defence or defence-related establishment in this country. Pine Gap and Exmouth Gulf are two examples which come to mind. 

From @CairnsOneDay

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