From 'down under' to 'over there'

"From 'down under' to 'over there'" Continued...

Issue: "PAS: The truth hurts," Feb. 8, 2003

The Australia-U.S. tie has long been binding. Australian forces have served alongside U.S. soldiers in conflicts from North Africa under Gen. Patton to Vietnam. Unlike European allies in NATO, Australia has taken the lead to police conflict in its Pacific neighborhood, most recently in East Timor. Unlike Japan, it has no constitutional constraints on deployment of forces abroad. More recently, an Australia-U.S. military alliance has been strengthened not as a result of the war on terrorism, but because of security concerns within the region: the nuclear threat from North Korea and tensions with China over the downing of a U.S. spy plane two years ago.

If most Americans are unaware of the alliance, the Bush administration is attentive. Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage visited Mr. Howard in December to discuss Iraq. With deployments underway from ports on the Pacific and Indian coasts, Mr. Bush put in a 35-minute call to Mr. Howard on Jan. 23. Also, the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln docked in Freemantle for an extended port call.

Australians are attentive as well-perhaps to the chagrin of Prime Minister Howard.


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