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"Australia joined the faraway wars of early-20th-century Europe not out of imperial nostalgia, but out of a deep understanding that its fate and the fate of liberty were intimately bound with that of the British Empire as principal underwriter of the international system. Today the underwriter is America, and Australia understands that an American retreat or defeat -- a chastening consummation devoutly, if secretly, wished by many a Western ally -- would be catastrophic for Australia and for the world.
When Australian ambassadors in Washington express support for the U.S., it is heartfelt and unalloyed, never the "yes, but'' of the other allies, perfunctory support followed by a list of complaints, slights and sage finger-wagging. Australia understands America's role and is sympathetic to its predicament as reluctant hegemon. That understanding has led it to share foxholes with Americans from Korea to Kabul. They fought with us at Tet and now in Baghdad. Not every engagement has ended well. But every one was strenuous, and many quite friendless. Which is why America has such affection for a country whose prime minister said after 9/11, "This is no time to be an 80 percent ally,'' and actually meant it."
I remember a couple of years ago there was a poll asking Amicans who they thought our strongest ally was and Canada was the easy winner....What were those people thinking?
Recently there was an issue where some Islamists were trying to get some concessions from the Australian government and they were told uncerimoniously that this was Australia, if you want sharia law then go to Saudia Arabia or Iran and practice it there but you're not doing it here.
Didn't the U.S. have cajones like that at one time?
I have been to Australia and it IS a great country. I could definitely see myself living there some day.
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