Voice from the Commonwealth
Commentary, World Views and Occasional Rants from a small 'l' libertarian in Massachussetts

"If ye love wealth greater than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest for freedom, go home and leave us in peace. We seek not your council nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen." - Samuel Adams

Friday, March 14, 2003

An idea on what the future may hold.

The Howard Government's critics say that our identification with the US is harming us in Asia.

In fact, Japan has been doing enormous work to try to assist the US position in the Security Council.

South Korea, The Philippines, Singapore and some Thai leaders have also supported the US. So Australia is not isolated on this in Asia.

The Indonesian Government accepts the Australian position but is worried about popular reaction to a war. The only nation where Australia is hurting right now is Malaysia.

In terms of underlying changes, the US alliance system in Asia will suffer least convulsion because it has never been a multilateral system but a series of bilateral relationships.

In the region, the US has active alliances with Japan, South Korea, The Philippines, Thailand and Australia. All are in good shape and have not been hurt by the Iraq mess.

Asia, paradoxically, may become a model for other regions because the US will seek to deal bilaterally more often.

In Europe, France, by seeking to stymie US influence, has succeeded in not only destroying NATO but any semblance of a common foreign policy.

Commentators talk of the breakdown of the UN security system, but there has never been a UN security system worth a used packet of Marlboros.

The real global security system for the past 50 years or more has been the US alliance system, which has occasionally had a multilateral cover provided by the UN.

It was the US alliance system, not the UN, that kept global order.

In other words, the Soviets didn't invade Western Europe, the North Koreans didn't try again in South Korea, and even the Chinese were constrained in relation to Taiwan, not because they feared the UN but because they understood the US might take action.

< email | 3/14/2003 12:04:00 PM | link

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