Afghanistan, Australia’s new Vietnam

Kevin Rudd promised the voters he would pull the troops out of Iraq, with the implication he was no American lackey. Whilst we applaud his anti Iraq war sentiment we are sceptical about his motives.

When Rudd won power, the media reported he was standing firm on withdrawing Aussie troops from Iraq and that, even though US President George Bush had been on the phone to him (presumably to influence him), Rudd had stood firm and Bush had accepted it, adding that the “special friendship” between Australia and America was intact. The suspicions of several patriots were aroused to say the least. International politics just doesn’t work like that. Could it be that there was a lot more to the conversation than what was reported, and in fact an agreement was already in place?

Here is a possible scenario: Rudd knows the American-led Iraq war is unpopular with the voters; he also knows the American-led war in Afghanistan is largely “off the radar” of the public mind; but Rudd has to face the fact that Liberal-Labor governments are, in practice, heavily dominated by American foreign policy (backed up by America’s trade capacity, upon which Australia is so reliant) and are afraid to go against the wishes of the US administration.

What if he gets elected on an anti Iraq war ticket, follows through with it and actually pulls the troops out of Iraq, but then keeps the Yanks on-side by promising to send more Aussie troops to Afghanistan instead (which would free up more American troops for Iraq). Rudd would, in effect, be able to have his cake and eat it too.

This may be exactly what Kevin Rudd has done and the facts seem to support it. On the 23rd of December 2007 the news media reported Rudd as saying that Australia was in Afghanistan for the long run (until the bitter end). All that remains to be seen is how long it be will before he announces a troop increase to Afghanistan. He would want to leave it as long as possible, to put some distance between the election win and sending more troops to Afghanistan, so as not to raise suspicions about any seedy back-room deals that would lead to Australian solders losing their lives for Uncle Sam. However, Rudd can’t leave it too long because the organ grinder will be impatient to see promises fulfilled and boots on the ground.

To minimise hurting the US-Australian relationship, did Rudd make a deal to send more Aussie troops to Afghanistan? The Australian people need to keep watch on Kevin Rudd – if he sends more of our troops into Afghanistan, then they will know that Rudd and the Labor Party are just puppets dancing to an American piper.

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