As I’ve always believed, the American people, that society – while definitely a strange one – are not at the heart of perceived anti-Americanism in Australia.
Since early 2002, and the ramping up of rhetoric by the Bush administration in favour of invading Iraq, the hard right in this country have fostered the line that objection to American foreign policy is essentially anti-American sentiment. This was abetted by George W. Bush himself uttering the now infamous line, “Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists.” Ergo, it became convenient in the ideological battle of left -v- right that any disagreement with US foreign policy could be directly interpreted as anti-American sentiment. Anti-alliance, anti that society, it’s people, their beliefs, in fact any platform upon which apologists for what has now been proven to be a fatally flawed foreign policy, could build any kind of argument against their detractors. In short, a nonsense position.
Regardless of what those apologists might like to postulate, Australians are not anti-American. They are adverse to selfish, aggressive, nationalistic ambition which hides more agendas than we might think. Yes, we need the US as allies and friends. The world needs the US as a stable, moderate force for change. As a leader for what is deemed by the global community to be right and just, not only for the US herself, but for the world going forward. Personally, I believe ANZUS has seen it’s day and now remains as a yellowing reminder of times long past. Alan DuPont makes a valid point when he states that …
public attitudes are changing and the continued strength of the relationship can no longer be assumed by governments on either side of the Pacific
New Zealand had the strength of purpose to step aside from ANZUS when the US would not confirm or deny the presence of nuclear weapons onboard it’s naval vessels wishing to dock in New Zealand ports. That stance may have damaged the US/NZ relationship at the time and doubtless still leaves a sour taste in some Washington mouths, yet such actions are the right of every nation. No alliance worth it’s salt will fall as a consequence of a decision made in the best interests of either party.
With less than 15 months to run, the current American administration can now be safely claimed to be lame. It’s foreign policy decisions, especially the prolonging of the Iraq conflict for reasons of political convenience, and some might say, sheer bloody-mindedness, has successfully neutered its ability to act as the global community would prefer. It is hoped that the post-December 2008 administration, be it Republican or Democrat, takes a more circumspect view of the US position in world affairs. I’ d be interested in similar survey results being made public in three years time. I predict the results would be dramatically different.