King George warns the Aussies - "Vote my way or else"

Perhaps the Kerry campaign's strategy of keeping their candidate away from the press, people, and the campaign trail whenever possible is wiser than we've thought. It seems especially wise when the Bush administration is doing all it can to write Kerry Campaign press copy for them.

I was reading the Volokh Conspiracy and came across a post by Jacob Levy that detailed the continued unhinging of the Bush administration's foreign policy. Specifically, we see that Bush is taking a strong interest in the upcoming Australian elections for Prime Minister. Current Aussie PM Howard has been a staunch ally of Bush up to, during, and after the Iraq war. He's put it on the line backing the US doing what he thought was right, despite the unpopularity of the Iraq war among the voters. The Australian voters are possibly looking to make Howard pay a political price for his principles, and the Labour candidate to replace him vows, ala the Spanish socialists, to take their troops home if elected.

In a matter befitting a colonial Viceroy or overseas regent, Bush has jumped into the Australian electoral fray, warning of 'dire consequences' to the US-Aus alliance should the bad, bad Labour candidate win. As Alan Wirzbicki writes in The New Republic (and was quoted by Jacob in his post, since the article is for subscribers only):

American officials are not only pulling for Howard, but making noises about U.S. retaliation if Australia chooses Labor instead. In March, Schieffer hinted darkly at "very serious consequences" if Latham wins and carries out his withdrawal pledge, a comment widely interpreted in Australia--where the entire episode is front-page news--as a threat to the longstanding U.S. military alliance. Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage was more ominous, suggesting Australians "ought to think what it would be like without this relationship." [...]

But whatever the outcome of the race, the administration's strident interference has already exposed just how unhinged Bush's worldview has been made by the chaos in Iraq. U.S. officials are plainly willing to make Iraq the determining factor in America's bilateral relationship with even an ally as close as Australia. "Bush is making Iraq a test of the alliance," Hugh White, the head of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, told the Age newspaper. "Latham is saying the alliance is bigger than Iraq--Bush is saying 'No, it isn't.'"

This message has the virtue of being clear. It also has the drawback of being, well, crazy.[...]

No matter what Latham does if elected, the fact will remain that Australia helped fight the war in the first place, back when its boots on the ground really mattered. If the world comes to believe that in U.S. eyes Australia's sacrifice counts for nothing--that a U.S. ally as historically close as Australia can be excommunicated by a single-minded Bush administration--it sends a clear message that cooperating too closely with the Americans is a no-win proposition. Ornery American conservatives expect French goodwill from World War II to last forever; but ours apparently expires after 18 months.

Australia is the closest thing to a 'blood brother' the US has in the world[1]. To say that our deep and abiding cultural affinity & political alliance is contingent upon the Austrialian government's submission to the US government's imperial political will is an obscenity. The Aussies came through for us when we needed them, and the mission in Iraq doesn't depend on their presence. Let them go and be done with it, if that's the way their political wind blows. It is inconcievable that any Labourite government of Australia would prosecute the greater War on Terror(ists) any less than the Liberal government does today (Bali is their 9/11), so whatever change would only reflect on Bush's imperial majesty (i.e., the vassals are getting uppity and deposed your friend).

Why, oh why, can't there be a better alternative to Bush than Kerry?


fn1. To the extent that cultures can be said to have such things...

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Brian, Kudos on the article.

Brian,

Kudos on the article. It's one of the most sensible ones you've written in a long time wrt foreign policy.

Why, oh why can't there be a better alternative to Bush than Kerry"

That's what I'm wondering too. Worst case, I think I could find the names of a few trained chimps to "write-in".....

Seriously, it would be nice if there was a real choice again in American politics. Someone who wasn't for big government, socialist nanny-statism, militarism, and mecantilism. I'm starting to wonder if America will ever get its head screwed on right again, or if it will just keep on its current course until it has destroyed the last good hope for liberty in the world.

Wow, that sounds pessimistic as heck doesn't it?
Back to writing the thesis....

~Jon