Updated: Apr 14
This week's writing prompt for SSOA emerging writers gets right to the nitty gritty. Just how intelligent is intelligence gathering for a super power for the purpose of war? How smart is it for Australia to open up its territory as an arsenal base and spy centre for the United States (Darwin and Pine Gap)? And why would we position ourselves as a military ‘little brother’ in any potential war between China and Taiwan? The Monroe Doctrine, with its range of interpretations, is a US imperialist invention and could cause us much harm.
Response 1: We live in an increasingly volatile world where changes are unfolding at a surprisingly rapid rate. In this political climate, Australia’s geopolitical position in the western Pacific at the southern end of SE Asia is being challenged in a way we could never have imagined over recent decades.
Although we did face a similar situation towards the end of WW2 when we were attacked by one of our neighbours, Japan, the country has since become a staunch friend and ally.
I believe it's time for Australia to recognise its unique position within the region and step up to the challenges we are now facing. Unlike Europe and the United States, both Australia and New Zealand are exceptional in that we are European settler states formed at the expense of a people who had lived here long before 1788, and now with a population of many proud multiethnic groups, which also hold to long traditions.
Those of us who are 'white' people are in fact ‘the outsiders’ in this region, our nearest neighbours being Indonesia, New Guinea, the Pacific Islands and those states that lie within the Pacific Asian basin. Our main purpose should be, more, our purpose has to be, to demonstrate to the world that as a robust self-determined democracy we are more than capable of fostering peace and harmonious relations within our region. For any other country to interfere in that process would potentially undermine the future peace of the region.
It's time we grew up and showed the world we are a wise robust country which is more than capable of taking care of its citizens and sharing a pacific bond with our neighbours.
Response 2: The answer to the question how smart is it for Australia to open up its territory to the United States and why would we make ourselves into a military target in the Pacific depends on your outlook and beliefs. The recent Federal Election showed clearly how divided we are politically, with many voters seeking candidates who would 'shake things up a bit'. A clear sign of discontent.
The current war in Ukraine is an example of how different countries can be prodded towards outcomes they may not necessarily feel are right for them.
On the one hand, the US is lauded for its military and monetary support, which has likely enabled the Ukrainians to resist total invasion. On the other, there is acceptance that the dominance of US-led strategies adopted by NATO over previous years forced neighbouring countries to agree to actions they knew were inflammatory and would likely compromise their relationships with Russia.
The US usually gets the outcomes it wants. This is despite its appalling record of starting conflicts around the world of varying shapes and sizes, based on US-perceived
interests. Most countries turn a blind eye. Some, like Australia, offer up our young in the military as a gift; a sign of our loyalty and a sign of our fear of losing our way of life.
The days when Australians can think independently in regard to our relationships with other peoples of the world may come. Any chance that we would seriously consider cutting the US apron strings will depend on us, the Australian population, demanding our right to have a say in decisions such as agreeing to a larger number of US facilities and personnel.
While there are many people here who do not trust the US and do not want more of their military outposts here, I can't see a majority of people agitating around this issue. Too many of us are frightened of other superpowers, and with global warming beginning to create absolute chaos, there seems little opportunity for a serious discussion of Australia's role as a sycophant.
Response 3: In the future there won’t be any borders, no dividing lines, nothing to separate us from one another.
In the future, people won’t fight, there won’t be any military, everyone will care for each other and nobody will want for anything.
In the future.
Copyright: text C V Williams, Meg Mooney, Jim Piotrowski; photos Wix & mfsprout.
This Sydney School of Arts blog showcases the work of emerging writers who attend weekly SSOA Zoom meetups to workshop their writing.