Copyright Des Pensible 2017
This week in the Australian parliament Senator Ludlum of the Greens raised the question of whether a tweet from president Trump could send us into war with our biggest trading partner China. While the question seems at first absurd and possibly even a satire, it’s not. It’s a very serious question that deserves debate within Australia as it could have very severe consequences to not only our Australian economy but every Australian’s future.
The USA is in a very politically unstable position at the moment with many US citizens unhappy with some of the new president’s seemingly impulsive executive orders. One such order is the banning Muslims from seven countries from entering the USA without asking advice from his government departments as to what sort of problems this might cause to US citizen’s traveling abroad or anyone travelling to the USA for business or even a holiday.
This presidential order and tweets caused chaos at international airports and led to thousands of protesters at airports all over the USA. Even some of the international governments friendly to the USA criticised this action and some of the Muslim majority governments whose citizens were banned have reciprocated by banning US citizens. Fortunately for all the travelers affected, a US Federal Judge blocked the Presidents order until it could be examined in a court of law.
President Trump has also been condemned by environmentalists and scientists all around the world for his Global Warming denier stance stating that he will withdraw the USA from the Paris Climate Agreement. Most governments are cautiously waiting to see what happens before he is condemned. However, the Pope has criticised his decision and Irish ex-PM and UN delegate Mary Robinson stated that if he goes ahead with plans to withdraw, the USA will become a rogue state. China has also criticized his decision.
Since the USA is the second largest greenhouse gas emitter, this will make it extremely difficult if not impossible for the world to contain Global Warming below the 2C agreed by over 190 countries at the Paris Climate Agreement.
He has also taken action to eliminate the US Environmental Protection Agency, allowing USA corporations unrestricted ability to pollute US land, water and air. This would reverse 50 years of US environmental protection on an ideological whim.
These dangerously impulsive actions alone, broadcast to the people of the world by tweet, bypassing government, media and public scrutiny or debate, give the very strong impression that the USA has elected a very unstable President, one that cares nothing about the fact that his actions will have a large impact on the people of rest of the world.
But those actions alone, while worrying to Australia are not the key problem. President Trump in both his election campaign and since his inauguration, has shown great antagonism towards both our biggest trading partner China and Iran, even threatening war with Iran and war with China.
Australia is considered one of the USA’s strongest allies and we have a treaty with them called the ANZUS treaty, that is supposed call on the USA to protect us from any threat emanating from Asia although there is much doubt about whether it would.
That treaty was drawn up 1951 over post WW2 fears of Japan becoming aggressive again, but our relationship with Asia has changed dramatically over the period since then. The Asian countries in our region are considered good friends and among our biggest trading partners. This is not surprising as we live in the Asia geographical part of the world.
Successive Australian governments have automatically followed the USA into every war since WW2 without question. In his book “Dangerous Allies”, Malcolm Fraser questioned whether we should become more independent and critically question whether it is in our best interest to follow US into every war.
He cited the war with Iraq that many people in the USA and UK now admit was an serious mistake or even a crime. Since then Australia has followed the USA into an undeclared war in Syria without asking questions that has threatened war with Russia.
The problem the Greens have highlighted is that Australia is unusual compared with most democratic countries, in that the Prime Minister can commit Australia to a war without ANY debate in the Australian parliament itself. This has been confirmed by fact checking. It is essentially undemocratic. Even the UK, the origin of the Australian parliamentary tradition, and the USA congress must debate whether to go to war before doing so.
So we are in the situation of having a very weak willed PM in Australia that can’t even control the right wing pro war members of his own Liberal Party having the ability to send Australia to war on a US command or even a tweet from an unstable impulsive USA President pushing for war with Iran and China.
Australians are in deep trouble. As things stand we could be at war with China, our biggest trading partner NEXT WEEK. I hope not as it will likely lead to WW3.
The Greens have suggested that we adopt a law that forces a parliamentary debate into whether following the USA into a war with China is in Australia’s best interest, BEFORE the Prime Minister can send us to war.
This same suggestion has been made in the parliament several times over the last two decades, but in the current situation with an unstable US President and a spineless Australian PM, it is now more critical than ever before.
I don’t think anyone in Australia would agree that a US initiated war with China or Iran would be in Australia’s best interests. It would destroy our economy and our friendship with our neighbours and undoubtedly start WW3.
Australia will LOSE LOSE LOSE in any US sponsored war in our Asian backyard.
Consequently, I think we should lobby the Australian government to agree to a law, that makes it mandatory to discuss all future military engagements in parliament, before the Prime Minister can simply announce we’re going to war with anyone. It seems like common sense and dare I say it, real democracy.
What do you think?
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