In the modern age the question of 'what it means to be Australian' is often
raised, but is usually just answered with politically
correct slogans about the wonders of digeridoos, bunyips and
The more serious question of 'what is Australia?' is hardly
ever asked. But consider the following definitions
- Regional: The big island south of Asia (and some of the islands near it).
- Constitutional: The Australian Constitution.
- Membership: The set of people with Australian
- Proprietary: The assets owned by people with Australian
citizenship, and the Australian government
(regardless of where they are).
- Or various combinations of these.
And these definitions raise an interesting question:
If Australian sovereignty is just the collection of people - regardless of the
region they are in, then sovereignty is really just a big protection coalition.
Nothing wrong with that it itself - but it's a little counter-intuitive.
It's even less intuitive when applied to the U.S. of A., and its national
anthem's - land of the free, home of the brave. Did you say
land, and home?
The US government clearly feels it has the right (and perhaps the obligation) to protect US
citizens who voluntarily leave the US, and enter into other sovereign
territories which have their own rules. Some would describe this as pragmatic,
others would describe it as arrogant. It's one thing to assert your rules in
your own house - it's quite another to apply them in someone else's. Forcing
people to apply your rules in their nation is good old fashioned imperialism.
This is of course, a different issue to taking preemptive defense of the
realm. Attacking people outside your region if they are likely to attack you
in your region in the future is totally justified.
And some would say using force to prevent abuses of fundamental human rights
is justified, wherever they occur. Unfortunately though there is no agreement
on what fundamental human rights are - first world leftists seem to think that
refusing to buy someone a color
television is a fundamental human rights abuse.
But attacking Iraq because
may be used to attack American interests outside America in the future? Maybe
not. There are good arguments for a war with Iraq - but this is not
one of them.
And attacking Iraq to avoid another Bali massacre? Not our business. If we
don't like the fact that Indonesia has an oversupply
of murderous Islamic psychopaths, well .. we
can take our holidays at home. And maybe go and smoke some dope up at Byron Bay and hang
out with those naked
Hmm .. on the other hand, maybe intelligent and well
informed people who are willing to take responsibility for
their own decisions may decide, on balance, that Bali is still worth the risk.