When political figures in the United States cite Great Britain as perhaps the nation’s closest ally, a number of past and present members of the British colonial commonwealth are perhaps overcome with earned consternation. The Commonwealth of Australia is deserving of a little more than honorable mention when crafting a list of America’s most stalwart allies. Australian and American troops have fought alongside one another in every major war the United States ever fought, including the Vietnam War and the War in Iraq. Despite a minor incident in Brisbane in 1942 (which we won’t talk about further), America’s bilateral relationship with Australia is among the best it has with any other nation on Earth…
…Which makes Australia’s apparent determination to serve as the new leader of the free world and a geopolitical pole eclipsing America that much more of a stunning betrayal.
According to a report in The Australian, Prime Minister Tony Abbott was so horrified by the rise of ISIS that, in a November meeting with this staff, he inquired seriously about sending an invasion force to Iraq.
“After receiving no resistance from [Chief of Staff Peta] Credlin or his other staff in the room, Mr Abbott then raised the idea with Australia’s leading military planners,” The report read. “The military officials were stunned, telling Mr Abbott that sending 3500 Australian soldiers without any US or NATO cover would be disastrous for the ¬Australians.”
“They argued that even the US was not prepared to put ground troops into Iraq and it would make Australia the only Western country with troops on the ground,” the report continued.
The local press is apparently horrified by Abbott’s proactive approach to the threat posed by ISIS. This report claims that the revelation calls “Mr. Abbott’s judgment” into question, already a subject of some dispute with the Australian political class.
But this is not the only time in which Abbott has suggested projecting Australian force around the globe in order to protect his country’s citizens and national interests.
The Iraq idea was not the first time Mr Abbott had suggested a military intervention by Australia’s armed forces. The Australian reported in August that in the week following the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 over Ukraine by Russian-backed militia, Mr Abbott suggested sending 1000 Australian soldiers to ¬secure the site of the crash.
Thirty-eight Australians were killed in the crash.
The forces of passivity are positively aghast by these revelations, uncovered following an investigation by The Weekend Australian. Maybe these initiatives are a bit overambitious, and it’s perhaps fortunate that they never matured beyond the planning stages. But it’s a nice change of pace to see one of the Western world’s leaders assuming responsibility of the deteriorating state of the international security environment.
Ideally, it should not be Abbott but Obama who is predisposed to defend members of the NATO alliance and when they are threatened by geopolitical instability. Perhaps Americans should start to look toward Canberra for leadership.