The Guardian February 12, 2003


Anti-Bush's war is not anti-Americanism

Last week's episode in which the US Ambassador, Mr Schieffer, took the 
Labor Party to task for allegedly promoting anti-Americanism is not only an 
interference in Australia's domestic affairs but shows that the United 
States accepts nothing less than complete subservience from other 

If the US is prepared to haul the ALP over the coals, what will it do to 
other states that have a much more independent and better position than 
does Australia?

The offensive remarks of the US Ambassador may have been encouraged by 
several columnists in the Sydney Morning Herald such as Gerard 
Henderson who attempted last week to almost criminalise anyone who 
disagrees with the US war against Iraq.

There is another America  the many who oppose war and will be on the 
streets this coming weekend in their tens of thousands. One report 
anticipates that as many as one million will march against war in New York. 
There is the America of working people who are the victims of the 
corporations and who have been thrown out of work and swindled out of their 
entitlements just as many have been in Australia.

It is hardly fair for Mr Schieffer to criticise the Labor Party leadership 
when it continues to staunchly support the US alliance as the main pillar 
of its foreign policy. Furthermore, the Labor Party's leadership does not 
oppose war on Iraq on principle and what is more, it rushed to accept every 
word uttered by Colin Powell when speaking to the UN Security Council last 

Even a child could see that Powell's so-called evidence is nothing more 
than a concoction of lies and innuendo, all designed to justify a US war 
and to stampede the other members of the UN Security Council into voting 
for war or at least abstaining  which, in the circumstances, also amounts 
to a vote for war.

Opposition to Bush's war is not anti-Americanism but rejection of the 
America of Bush, Rumsfeld, and the oil corporations, the America of 
aggression and standover.

Mr Schiefer has shown what the US alliance is all about in practice  
mindless support for whatever the US leaders decide to do in their 
interests. The US alliance does not protect Australia as has been 
trumpeted. Being tied to American coat tails however, has dragged Australia 
into war in Korea and Vietnam, into the 1991 Gulf War and now, it seems, 
into a second war in the Middle East.

So long as Australia remains encumbered with the US alliance it will be 
impossible to develop the friendships needed to maintain Australia's real 
interests in the Asia-Pacific region. There are already indications that 
Australia is becoming isolated from Asian countries as they build their 
economies and assert their independence from their former colonial masters. 
Participation in a war against Iraq will intensify this process.

It is not simply the grovelling attitude of John Howard personally that is 
at fault. It is the policy of tying Australia's foreign policy to the US 
alliance that inevitably puts Australia at odds with Asia and the Pacific 
and is seen to make Australia subservient to American dictation.

Mr Schieffer's remarks are a clear indication of how the US sees its 
relationship with Australia and other countries. Do as we say, or else.

The massive opposition to Bush's war plans is an extremely healthy sign 
that the Australian people care about peace and our independence and are 
not going to be mindlessly stampeded into a war that has no justification. 
War against Iraq and other countries will ultimately bring down on the 
heads of the Australian people much suffering as well as being a calamity 
for the people of many other countries.

Now is a time of decision that could determine the way ahead for 
generations  either America's war without end or the path towards peace 
in which the call of the Charter of the United Nations to eliminate the war 
option is upheld.
Back to index page