Will Clinton talks make war more likely?

The Independent and Peaceful Australia Network, in a media release issued today, has queried whether the visit by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and Defence Secretary Leon Panetta for AUSMIN talks with our Defence Minister Stephen Smith, will consolidate agreements for the use of Australian territory by US military.

The Network asks why, when our relationship with China is closer than ever, we are cooperating in the US "containment" of China; and raises concerns that an arms race may lead to Australia's involvement in war.

  • Meanwhile MAPW's Dr Margaret Beavis had this letter published in The Age:

"It is interesting that the US is concerned about Australia's cuts to its defence budget(Age (10/11), but made no protest about ongoing underfunding of the Australian diplomatic service. Surely maintaining good diplomatic relations and preventing conflict is an important and cost effective strategy? The US spending on defence has contributed to their massive deficit, and demobilisation will have major economic impacts as their troops come home to an economy with high unemployment."

"With the basing of US troops in Darwin, Australia has further tied itself to American foreign policy decisions. Now it has emerged that information regarding the rights, roles and responsibilities of the US troops in Darwin is being kept secret, at US request, as it may damage "international relations" (Sunday Age 11/11). Did I miss some discussion, where Australian sovereignty in foreign policy was ceded to the US?"

"Informed debate is sorely needed. Blindly becoming a US outpost is unlikely to be in Australia's national interest."
(13 November 2012)

  • Read the Independent and Peaceful Australia Network (IPAN) media release