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John Passant

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April 2009



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My interview Razor Sharp 18 February
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace on Razor Sharp on Tuesday 18 February. (0)

My interview Razor Sharp 11 February 2014
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace on Razor Sharp this morning. The Royal Commission, car industry and age of entitlement get a lot of the coverage. (0)

Razor Sharp 4 February 2014
Me on 4 February 2014 on Razor Sharp with Sharon Firebrace. (0)

Time for a House Un-Australian Activities Committee?
Tony Abbott thinks the Australian Broadcasting Corporation is Un-Australian. I am looking forward to his government setting up the House Un-Australian Activities Committee. (1)

Make Gina Rinehart work for her dole

Sick kids and paying upfront


Save Medicare

Demonstrate in defence of Medicare at Sydney Town Hall 1 pm Saturday 4 January (0)

Me on Razor Sharp this morning
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace this morning for Razor Sharp. It happens every Tuesday. (0)

I am not surprised
I think we are being unfair to this Abbott ‘no surprises’ Government. I am not surprised. (0)

Send Barnaby to Indonesia
It is a pity that Barnaby Joyce, a man of tact, diplomacy, nuance and subtlety, isn’t going to Indonesia to fix things up. I know I am disappointed that Barnaby is missing out on this great opportunity, and I am sure the Indonesians feel the same way. [Sarcasm alert.] (0)



Afghanistan – the new Vietnam?

The world is mad. Sending more troops to Afghanistan is our exit strategy!

An extra 450 troops will take the number of Australian troops there to over 1500. 

Some of them may be special forces troops who go around executing village leaders on suspicion of sympathy for the Taliban.

Why are we sending any troops, let alone more? 

To die for the US alliance. 

Rudd knows the West won’t win.  Using General Petraeus’s ‘troops to insurgents’ formula the US and its allies will need 400,000 soldiers in Afghanistan to defeat the Taliban.  They have 70,000.

But winning is not Rudd’s ultimate goal. 

Australian troops will die to cement the US/Australian imperialist alliance, not to defeat terrorism or restore democracy or whatever the latest lies the ruling class are using to justify killing innocents in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The ghost of Vietnam haunts our minds. This is how that war began – a few troops, advisers and the like to start with.

Then over about 8 years Australia sent 50,000 mainly young, naive boys, to fight the nationalist forces. More than five hundred didn’t return.

Despite the US having half a million troops and losing 50,000, the Vietnamese people defeated us.

The logic of all imperialism is relentless, the US version no less so and irrespective of whether George W Bush runs the ship or Barack Obama is captain.


Imperialism is about defending the home base through economic and military expansion around the world – running the world in the interests of your ruling elite.

US imperialism (like those that came before it)  has to use its force around the world to show would be competitors it is the top dog.  No one can challenge its supremacy.

The real battle is between Chinese and American imperialism.   The Chinese are the only long term threat to US global dominance. 
Much of  US foreign policy (for example, who to invade, who to kill, who to subjugate economically, which dictator to support) is built around that fact. 

The US invasion of Iraq was about securing Middle East oil supplies and being able to turn off the tap to China.

China has responded by building alliances with other regions and countries which have or may have resources and buying up strategic supply interests in those countries.

Australia’s imperialism is built on attaching ourselves to a great power – first the UK and then the US. 

We are unlikely to switch to China in the short to medium term, but long term it would depend on how the battle for dominance between the two powers plays out.

At the moment we have allied ourselves with the US for two reasons – as a bulwark against the growing economic and military power of China and to pursue our own adventures in our backyard under the umbrella of US protection.

Since 1885 (or even earlier) troops from Australia have fought and died in campaigns far from our shores to protect our alliance with the great and powerful and allow us some sort of free rein in the region.

Just as in Vietnam, our troops in Afghanistan (and Iraq) are not about freedom and democracy.  They are about imperialism.

The idea that Afghanistan and Pakistan are the axis of terrorism is a joke.  In fact US adventurism has increased the risk of terrorist attacks. 

The head of US intelligence blew the lie on all this war on terror rubbish when he said it wasn’t a threat; the Great Recession was.

The real terrorists sit in Washington and Beijing and Canberra – terrorising the world to force the rest of us to act in their interests.

The war in Afghanistan is spreading.  It has made Pakistan a possible victory of sorts for islamists.  (See my article ‘Pakistan: the new frontier in the war on terror?‘).

The brutal actions of the US war machine and its sometime proxy, the Pakistan Army, will only alienate more and more people in the region and produce a backlash as they unite to drive the invaders out. 

Much of that support will swing behind the Taliban and similar elements as the only fighters against the enemy.

The Taliban are appealing to peasants on a class basis.  ‘We will drive the landlords out and set up courts which deliver justice for al, not just the exploiters.’  It is a powerful and attractive message for poor peasants. 

Can we build an anti-war movement?

In 1964 anti-war activists held a demonstration against the Vietnam war in New York. 

There were 600 people there.  5 years later there were 600,000.

The world is in flux.

The Great Recession, the collapse of the ideologies of capitalism, an anxious and worried working class and now an unwinnable war in which many Australians will die before the Taliban wins, will produce a backlash which could see the movement grow rapidly and put real pressure on the Rudd imperialists to withdraw from Afghanistan.

The task for the Left is to join with other forces opposed to slaughtering Afghanis in the name of rape in marriage and build a mass movement to bring the troops home.



Comment from juan
Time April 30, 2009 at 12:09 pm

Yes Bill, Afghanistan is the new Vietnam and Rudd the new Tony Blair.

Comment from J Stone
Time April 30, 2009 at 12:47 pm

While I agree with the article overall, I strongly disagree with the statement “The US invasion of Iraq was about securing Middle East oil supplies and being able to turn off the tap to China.” Professors Mearsheimer and Walt argue convincingly, in The Israel Lobby, that the US invasion of Iraq was not about oil. It was about the the neocon imperative, heavily influenced by the Israel Lobby, to protect Israel from one of its potential enemies. The Lobby and its neocon supporters regarded Iran as the greatest threat to Israel, but agreed that it would be easier to link Saddam to 9/11 that Iran, and therefore agreed to push for an attack against Israel’s second most important enemy – Iraq.

Comment from Bill
Time April 30, 2009 at 1:03 pm

Thanks J Stone.

I think this Israeli Lobby idea is overplayed. US imperialism will act in its interests. Since Israel is the armed wing of the US in the middle east it is not surprising that their interests are very similar. Not always the same, but very often.

I thin the invasion was not just about oil – it was to show the world (especially the Chinese and, in the region, the Iranians) that the US could invade anywhere with seeming impunity. It hasn’t worked, but the ongoing crisis in Iraq – the stalemate of defeat – might be exactly what US imperialism can point to. See what happens if you don’t toe our line.

It was also about giving the US the power to stop oil supplies to China if needed and to show China that in terms of energy supplies it was the US first, China next…

Comment from J Stone
Time April 30, 2009 at 2:09 pm

Thanks Bill.

There are many supporters of Israel who would like us to believe that “Israel is the armed wing of the US in the middle east” and that it has no choice but to accept US policy in the region.

However, I believe the reverse is the case. Israel has typically acted in defiance of its “master”, the US, and has succeeded, through its lobby in the US, Britain and, of course, in Australia, in convincing these countries to pursue diplomatic, economic and military policies that favour Israel over other countries in the region.

Unqualified support for Israel has prevented western countries from developing normal, cooperative relations with other Middle Eastern states. Having good relations with these countries would ensure the free flow of oil to western economies and would reduce the likelihood of conflict in the region. These outcomes are clearly in the interests of all Australians, Americans, etc.

Unfortunately, Israel’s supporters have succeeded in pressuring governments in the US, Britain and Australia to act in the interests of Israel, rather than in the interests of their own peoples.

There has rarely been such a clear case of the tail wagging the dog.

Comment from PETER PIPER
Time April 30, 2009 at 2:41 pm

“Some of them may be special forces troops who go around executing village leaders on suspicion of sympathy for the Taliban”

you spineless traitor. wish the taliban would pay you a visit one night, then you’d see how friendly they are

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