Celebrating Australia's Break Up With America

02 February 2017
You can love someone for so long. Be there to support them through thick and thin. Maybe you weren't always so close. Maybe you knew they didn't think about you nearly as much as you thought about them. But you were, you know, a partnership; you knew it, the world knew it, and you knew they'd always have your back. We were the wind beneath their wings, the Garfunkel to their Simon, the Buzz Aldrin to their Neil Armstrong, the Marge to their Homer.

And then they let you down, in an unimaginably public and humiliating way. They invite the person they'd been having an affair with to your dinner party, and you realise everyone knew. They gamble away your entire savings, and you don't realise until the sheriff arrives to repossess your house. Or maybe, in what was always going to be basically a public phone call to reestablish and strengthen your bond, they crack the shits at you and hang up.

Now, you can sob and eat a tonne of ice cream then lawyer up, delete Facebook and hit the gym. Or you could celebrate a blessing in a very thin disguise of fake tan and atrocious hair transplant.

Australia, it's tine! We've broken up with America, and we should be absolutely delighted about it.  

The long overdue split came today, with the bombshell report that in a call between new "President" Donald Trump and long-suffering* PM Malcolm Turnbull, Trump went off like a frog in a sock about the agreement that America will take 1,250 refugees currently in Australian custody reached between Turnbull and former President Obama. A furious Trump declared it the worst deal ever, accused Australia of trying to import the next Boston bombers, fumed that this was his worst call of the day - by far! - and ended the expected hour long call after 25 minutes by hanging up on Turnbull in a fit of pique.

There's two astonishing aspects to this. Firstly, it's plainly obvious that Trump had no idea about the refugee deal before Turnbull informed during the phone call:

So who the hell is supposed to be briefing this guy? Does he not do any background or preparation before important calls (or anything else)?

But from our point of view, what the hell is Trump doing kicking America's most loyal and devoted sidekick like this? Trump carrying on with this much lack of respect, anger, disregard for diplomacy?  For Trump doesn't see any of this in terms of the long standing US Australia relationship. He simply views it through the lens of, what is the best deal for me? (And yet more proof he is unfit to be President. even if he was a great businessman, which he wasn't; running a country is not the same as running your own corporation). "I can't stand Turnbull, but fuck Trump for speaking to him like this", is the common refrain. By insulting Turnbull, Trump has by proxy insulted all of Australia.

The alt-right, however, are already circling the wagons. It's amazing how fast these "patriots" will turn on their own country. It's astonishing enough that the American alt-right is just fine with foreign interference in their election (and a president thus beholden to a foreign power), if it helped their guy win. But it's worse here; those fine Australian patriots of the right are actually saying that Trump is right, that Australia is humiliated, that Turnbull should step down because he has lost the respect of the US President.

 The far right imagines that somehow, a Trump presidency will be great for Australia. How? By giving politicians here the motivation to copy his draconian policies? Can we not be authoritarian shit heads who ignore the rule of law and the traditions of democracy and freedom on our own?

But this is exactly where they're wrong, and exactly why the break up with America couldn't have come at a better time for us. Because a Trump presidency could well be an unprecedented disaster for Australia, and the world. Our biggest concern is for our relationship with China - our biggest trading partner. If some form of a new cold war breaks out between China and America, how are we  going to fare if we're still suction-glued to America? That's being optimistic.

Imagine Trump losing his shit over some perceived slight by Xi Jinping, deciding no one talks to him like that, and sending American naval ships to the South China Sea? If you're terrified by the thought of Hilux riding hooligans wreaking havoc in Homs, just imagine an actual war between the world's superpowers, our largest trading partner and our closest ally in our corner of the world. And to put it in terms that will really terrify the right, just think of those beautiful ships full of life-giving, humanity-improving, job-creating, not-at-all-planet-destroying coal. If there was a war between America and China, those poor ships wouldn't be able to get through shipping lanes to Asia, and China wouldn't take our coal if we were allied with America anyway. Poor sad coal, stuck in Australia and not able to go out in the world and make everything better!

So it's time for Turnbull to stand up for Australia (stop sniggering), and say that we are not beholden to the past and those who would take us for granted, and in this time of changing international circumstances, it is time for Australia to look towards Asia as our neighbours and friends to establish even closer ties in the region.

And don't even think about getting a new kitten or any tattoos. Okay, maybe the kitten.


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