I am a UK armed forces veteran. It was a long time ago and, approaching 75 years of age I am pretty harmless now – not that I was much of a threat to anybody even back then, though I did qualify to wear the marksman’s badge (if that still means anything in today’s world).
I was a statistician, and for part of my service worked on air bases where the UK nuclear deterrent forces were stationed. Enjoying several short detachments into Europe (there were not a great many of us statistical people so there was some sharing around), I came to realise just how hated NATO was among the local populace even back then. I was also fortunate to have spent a short time working alongside the RAF elite Red Arrows aerobatics team.
Almost four decades ago, In the early ’80s, a couple of years after leaving the service and having worked my way into a new career in what eventually came (after they ditched paper-tape and punched cards) to be called ‘IT’, I emigrated from UK to Australia. An unstated reason for doing so was to shelter my then family as far away from the Cold War dangers that were ever present still at that time across the whole of NATO infested Europe, as possible.
Australia seemed at the time a good choice. The nation had only tenuous links to NATO through its Commonwealth relationship, no nuclear weapons of its own, and didn’t even have a nuclear power industry. It still hasn’t. Australia was, to put it crudely, a global backwater – the arsehole of the world. I felt very safe.
Even with the installation of the joint Aus-US listening station at Pine Gap, way out in the great Aussie outback, and the more recent acceptance (what was the government thinking?) of a battalion of US Marines stationed at the northern end of our country (which is where we also keep most of our crocodiles), it still felt a safe place to be. Especially after the tearing down of the Berlin Wall in the late ’80s, spoiled afterwards by the US attempts to ruin the new Russia with the political and social diseases of Western society, failing which (thanks to Vladimir Putin) they proceeded to surround Russia (and China also) with military bases (damned Yanks). They thankfully have not succeeded in any of their efforts and both Russia and China are constantly growing in power and influence even while the US and its NATO cronies slide into ever greater irrelevance.
More recently, that slithering snake, US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo came for a visit to Australia with whispers of an approach for us to host US missiles on our land. Thankfully the Aussie government, not very bright to say the least, still has a few active brain cells between them and made it very clear to Mr Pompeo just where he could stick his missiles.
So, Australia is still a very safe place to live, though I feel sure that the US Dogs of War will try again to ensnare us at some point in their web of silly, evil ploys.
I have never, since being in Australia, felt any sort of threat – nuclear or otherwise – from Russia and I was not even aware, until I read this article, of “…the president’s repeated statements that the Russian Federation will never use nuclear weapons against countries that do not have them”.
I can’t say that I will sleep any easier tonight for that news, having never really felt any kind of threat from Russian bombs, unless we as a nation do something really stupid.
The Chinese, and perhaps certain other emerging Asian nations, are of course an entirely different matter. Australia sticks out like a sore thumb, or perhaps an arse-end of Asia as a bastion of whiteness, or at least – since we do try to integrate other nationals from pretty much everywhere – as a bastion of white politicalness (if that is a word). Perhaps that would have been better expressed as ‘our politics and diplomacy still reeks of some sort of colonialism’. Anyway, it is by no means unthinkable that if we keep proceeding down the road of asserting some sort of misplaced supremacist policy towards our neighbours, we will be taken in hand and taken over at some point – with little hope of any robust assistance from either the US or the British Commonwealth (sanctions perhaps – which seems to be their weapon of choice, or necessity, these days) .
Whichever way the future plays out, I rest with some satisfaction and assurance that it will not be as a ‘Little America’.
We have both Russia and China to thank for that. And I know that they are both prepared and future-proofed for any such eventuality – though perhaps not for all potential and looming eventualities of a different nature.