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Friday, June 13, 2014

More American troops for Australian bases

Prime Minister Tony Abbott has struck a deal with President Obama for more American troops, aircraft and ships to operate out of Australian bases.  And the President knows how to deliver a knock-out, drop dead compliment. 

"Aussies know how to fight and I like having them in a foxhole if we're in trouble" he told Tony Abbott during his visit to the White House.  "There are a handful of countries in the world we know we can count on" he said.  "Not just because they share our values, but we know we can count on them because we know they've got real capacity. Australia is one of those countries."  Wow!

Keen surfer, Tony Abbott's gift to President Obama Greg Bennett (left) and Tom Wentworth

Mr Abbott formalised the deal struck between former PM Julia Gillard and the US President in 2011, to deploy US Marines to Darwin. Another option on the horizon is to base more US Navy destroyers at HMAS Stirling in Western Australia.

It's a funny old world.  Almost 72 years after Japanese midget submarines entered Sydney Harbour and killed 21 Australian sailors, we are looking at buying new Japanese subs for $30 billion.

But our Prime Minister is making himself rather unpopular, especially about climate change.  His conservative counter-part in Canada agrees with him - that they won't "clobber the economy" by bringing in costly measures to combat climate change.  Mr Abbott was hoping that the UK and New Zealand would also back his stand but they haven't.  Both countries have stated they disagree with him and so does the US.

And there's another thing was worries me a bit, especially in light of the current situation in Iraq.  Mr Abbott said "The United States has paid a very high price to secure freedom and prosperity for many countries, not just itself, and the United States should never have to do all that work on their own."

President Obama has dodged two wars so far, Syria and Ukraine, and I hope he can get to the end of his term with a "no war" legacy.