G'day, Australia

The already close US—Australia strategic relationship is becoming visibly closer, to the distress of some Australia's Southeast Asian neighbors of the — ahem — Islamic persuasion. The AP reports that Malaysia and Indonesia 'worry that such military and intelligence cooperation is turning the nation into a tool of U.S. foreign policy... [and] charge that Australia is becoming an American satellite, without an independent foreign policy, at the expense of important regional issues.'

Here are the developments which worry these ostensible allies in the War Against Terrorism:

— A free trade agreement between Australia and the US is nearing the final phases of negotiation. Completion would make Australia the first country with a tripod of links to America: mutual defense pact; free trade; and almost complete intelligence—sharing.
— The two nations are beginning to negotiate for opening a joint military training center in Australia. No official definition of the training to be offered has been made public, with officials describing it as 'embryonic.' However, as readers of The American Thinker know very well, military power has been taken to a new stage, by the emergence of an array of technologies deployed in 'integrated battlefield management.' Only the United States has the capability to combine satellite, micro—drone, and other sensors with real time robust computer networks, giving soldiers on the ground and their controllers the ability identity the enemy and deal with it in a highly coordinated manner. Only the United States and its closest allies — including Australia, the UK, Poland, the Czech Republic, and Japan, and NOT including France, Germany, Russia, Belgium, Mexico, and Canada — are capable of exploiting the current state of the art, and rapidly extending it further. Australia, whose Special Air Service commandos are regarded as among the world's finest, is thus firmly within the very exclusive club of nations able to wield decisively superior armed force with boots on the ground.
— Australia is additionally trying to complete agreements enabling it to jointly develop and deploy ballistic missile defense systems, yet another emerging advanced military technology, available only to members of what we previously dubbed the club called The Leading Nations of the World.

Indonesia in particular is alarmed by Australia's prospective deployment of the ABM systems, and has charged that a regional arms race may be sparked, even though Indonesia is not known to possess ballistic missiles. Australia's Prime Minister John Howard responded Friday, January 16th, at a joint press conference in Australia with Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Tommy Myers, '"It seems to me a fairly commonsense proposition that if Australia could have access to a system that prevented missiles directed to Australia from arriving in Australia, then it's something we ought to be part of, and I can't understand why anybody would be against it."

Prime Minister Howard has been on the receiving end of scathing criticism from domestic opposition leaders, for deploying Australian forces to both Afghansitan and Iraq. Nevertheless, he has stood firm in making active participation in the alliance with the United States the cornerstone of Australia's foreign policy. In return, Bush Administration officials have been lavish in their praise of him and of Australia's significant military presence in the Axis of the Willing and Able. The current negotioans noted above are part of the process of rewarding Australia for its faithful valor.

The American Thinker hopes that readers will keep in mind Australia's unwavering support and major contribution of blood and treasure, when buying wine, foodstuffs, woolens, and any other products Australia exports, and will also consider visiting Australia for vacations. It is a beautiful country, whose people generally like Americans (I have had numbers of drinks bought for me in Melbourne and Sydney pubs, as soon as fellow patrons hear my accent), and whose currency remains bargain—priced compared to the dollar. Think of it as Canada without the attitude, and with far better weather.

The already close US—Australia strategic relationship is becoming visibly closer, to the distress of some Australia's Southeast Asian neighbors of the — ahem — Islamic persuasion. The AP reports that Malaysia and Indonesia 'worry that such military and intelligence cooperation is turning the nation into a tool of U.S. foreign policy... [and] charge that Australia is becoming an American satellite, without an independent foreign policy, at the expense of important regional issues.'

Here are the developments which worry these ostensible allies in the War Against Terrorism:

— A free trade agreement between Australia and the US is nearing the final phases of negotiation. Completion would make Australia the first country with a tripod of links to America: mutual defense pact; free trade; and almost complete intelligence—sharing.
— The two nations are beginning to negotiate for opening a joint military training center in Australia. No official definition of the training to be offered has been made public, with officials describing it as 'embryonic.' However, as readers of The American Thinker know very well, military power has been taken to a new stage, by the emergence of an array of technologies deployed in 'integrated battlefield management.' Only the United States has the capability to combine satellite, micro—drone, and other sensors with real time robust computer networks, giving soldiers on the ground and their controllers the ability identity the enemy and deal with it in a highly coordinated manner. Only the United States and its closest allies — including Australia, the UK, Poland, the Czech Republic, and Japan, and NOT including France, Germany, Russia, Belgium, Mexico, and Canada — are capable of exploiting the current state of the art, and rapidly extending it further. Australia, whose Special Air Service commandos are regarded as among the world's finest, is thus firmly within the very exclusive club of nations able to wield decisively superior armed force with boots on the ground.
— Australia is additionally trying to complete agreements enabling it to jointly develop and deploy ballistic missile defense systems, yet another emerging advanced military technology, available only to members of what we previously dubbed the club called The Leading Nations of the World.

Indonesia in particular is alarmed by Australia's prospective deployment of the ABM systems, and has charged that a regional arms race may be sparked, even though Indonesia is not known to possess ballistic missiles. Australia's Prime Minister John Howard responded Friday, January 16th, at a joint press conference in Australia with Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Tommy Myers, '"It seems to me a fairly commonsense proposition that if Australia could have access to a system that prevented missiles directed to Australia from arriving in Australia, then it's something we ought to be part of, and I can't understand why anybody would be against it."

Prime Minister Howard has been on the receiving end of scathing criticism from domestic opposition leaders, for deploying Australian forces to both Afghansitan and Iraq. Nevertheless, he has stood firm in making active participation in the alliance with the United States the cornerstone of Australia's foreign policy. In return, Bush Administration officials have been lavish in their praise of him and of Australia's significant military presence in the Axis of the Willing and Able. The current negotioans noted above are part of the process of rewarding Australia for its faithful valor.

The American Thinker hopes that readers will keep in mind Australia's unwavering support and major contribution of blood and treasure, when buying wine, foodstuffs, woolens, and any other products Australia exports, and will also consider visiting Australia for vacations. It is a beautiful country, whose people generally like Americans (I have had numbers of drinks bought for me in Melbourne and Sydney pubs, as soon as fellow patrons hear my accent), and whose currency remains bargain—priced compared to the dollar. Think of it as Canada without the attitude, and with far better weather.