Foreign affairs minister Alexander Downer said Australian governments had traditionally not signed the treaty because of its alliance relationship with the US.http://smh.com.au/news/National/Its-not-the-sort-of-treaty-wed-sign-PM/2004/11/26/1101219721164.html Great Friends strikes again. Honestly! My eleven year old might say "You can't be my friend if you're going to be her friend" but you'd think that international relations had evolved beyond the school-yard.
Another reason Australia is reluctant to sign up to the TAC was because it wants signatories to not interfere in the internal affairs of other nations signing up to the pact. "(This) has been interpreted by successive Australian governments as making it impossible for any Australian government for example to criticise Burma on human rights issues," Mr Downer told ABC TV.Unfortunately, he is probably right. Article 2 of the Treaty (text), points b) and c) would seem to rule out Australia criticising Burma for human rights issues. It would probably have had some impact on Australia's ability to enter East Timor in 1999. On the other hand, Article 2, paragraph 7 of the UN Charter (text)states the principle of non-interference in domestic affairs, and this hardly stopped us invading Iraq, and claiming that we did so to stop human rights abuses. I'm not sure what the Government feels they gain from not signing. What they lose is something Australia doesn't have; we effectively are already in a non-aggression treaty and non-interference pact with the entire membership of the UN. WE have, however, been trying to get into ASEAN for quite some time now. It seems childish to start qualifying our interest.
In their relations with one another, the High Contracting Parties shall be guided by the following fundamental principles :It also has in the preamble line for that article, \"guided\" which is pollie speak if I ever saw it. There is certainly no absolute lanugage in that article. As you mentioned, Australia only follows those types of agreements when it is convenient and doesnt go against what they want to do. Maybe this agreement is like Kyoto and predominantly a feel-good agreement, that everyone knows has bugger all chance of happening or being adhered to, but gives the impression that we are all one happy family. I dont like this clause so much;
a. Mutual respect for the independence, sovereignty, equality, territorial integrity and national identity of all nations;
b. The right of every State to lead its national existence free from external interference, subversion or coersion;
c. Non-interference in the internal affairs of one another;
d. Settlement of differences or disputes by peaceful means;
e. Renunciation of the threat or use of force;
f. Effective cooperation among themselves.
To settle disputes through regional processes, the High Contracting Parties shall constitute, as a continuing body, a High Council comprising a Representative at ministerial level from each of the High Contracting Parties to take cognizance of the existence of disputes or situations likely to disturb regional peace and harmony.That appears like the precursor to a super-council of appointees much like the EU. Some of the original signatories also dont inspire confidence, Suharto, Marcos ... Thanks for the great diary summarizing this issue and linking back to the original documents. I wondered about this issue myself. I think this is more of the feel-good variety of international document. It doesnt appear to have any real teeth.Given the autocratic nature of the original signatories it looks geared to entrenching and stabilizing their power from outside interference. Howard has a habit of push-me-pull-you, two steps forward, two steps back in Asia. You wonder if it is the reality of the world that is drawing him to Asia and not any real enthusiasm for it on his part. Several of his statements and actions have been pretty clumsy toward Asia. He has also used it as a political football at times too. cam
Officials are concerned as ASEAN\'s credibility could be affected if Myanmar takes the chair in 2006. They are now saying that is not automatic, and this will depend on developments in Myanmar.Channel News Asia Doesn\'t sound like criticising fellow signatories to the Treaty is all that verboten. There were even plans to censure Myanmar (or Burma if you prefer); they were dropped in the end . I found it ironic that Howard would say " Don\'t confuse treaty with FTAs " after the sly suggestions that Labor\'s disagreements with US policy might threaten ANZUS, and thus the FTA. An odd thought occured to me while I was trying not to fall asleep on the train this morning. If Australia gets into an FTA with the ASEAN nations, does that devalue the FTA with the US? The US is a huge economy, but is it larger than the combined economies of the ASEAN member nations; especially when the US currency is showing the first danger signs of an economy going bad. And if it devalues the US FTA, does it also devalue Howard\'s compromises taken in order to get an agreement? In my mind it does, but I was leery of the IP aspects of the FTA already so am inclined to take a dim view of it overall. Possibly the agricultural sector, especially sugar farmers, will find it of lesser value if they better markets in Asia. My crazy conspiracy theory for the day was that Howard might be trying to sabotage Australia\'s chances of getting into an ASEAN-based FTA to keep the US treaty on its pedestal, alone. Howard\'s Free Trade Agreement.
Doesn\'t sound like criticising fellow signatories to the Treaty is all that verboten.Yeh given that Suharto and Marcos signed it, the treaty was probably more a \"make us appear legitimate\" and \"don\'t do a Shah of Iran on us\".
I found it ironic that Howard would say \"Don\'t confuse treaty with FTAs\" after the sly suggestions that Labor\'s disagreements with US policy might threaten ANZUS, and thus the FTA.I think it is hilarious that Brandis came out and said his nickname for Howard was \"lying rodent\". Truth to populist politicians appears relative to whatever gives them the most power at any one time. They will spin what they can to whatever short term political advantage they can get. Building an election campaign on interest rates is a good example of how truth comes second to using spin to increase/maintain political power.
If Australia gets into an FTA with the ASEAN nations, does that devalue the FTA with the US?The Au-US FTA is going to get devalued anyway, it is mainly symbolic as it appears studies have shown there is nothing much in it for Australia. Howard traded away any advantage and gave in to American demands. Many nations have bilateral FTAs with the US, we are not alone nor most favoured in that regard. Any nation who is willing to give in on IP and US Farming Subsidies can have one. Singapore, Costa Rica, Jordon and Chile all have one or have one in the process. That isn\'t including NAFTA either. It is nothing special, everyone wasn\'t bilateral trade agreements at the moment.
does it also devalue Howard\'s compromises taken in order to get an agreement?This is one issue not focused on, Howard\'s ineptness in negotiating and speed of giving in to demands of others. Yet he holds out on the feel-good treaties like Kyoto and this Amity agreement. Sounds like he doesn\'t know how to bargain, the \"great and powerful friends\" doctrine is not an excuse either, as us being an uncritical ally is supposed to give us greater bargaining power in trade agreements, yet the trade department wiped the floor of our negotiators. In my opinion the \"great and powerful friends\" doctrine has never worked and has a century of failure behind it - this is another nail in the coffin of how it earns no influence at all with a super/hyperpower.
My crazy conspiracy theory for the day was that Howard might be trying to sabotage Australia\'s chances of getting into an ASEAN-based FTA to keep the US treaty on its pedestal, alone. Howard\'s Free Trade Agreement.I think he is not comfortable in Asia or dealing with Asia. I don\'t think he is racist, not openly anyway. I just think it is outside of his comfort zone and he acts all over the place. Like Menzies he prefers Australia to be anglophilic, and cant handle the changing world around him. This is true of many older Australians. Howard is 65, and a product of the \"White Australia\" policies in the 50/60/70\'s that he spent half his life living under. IMO this ingrains a certain ambivalence to racism, which in my experience afflicts many older Australians. Many Australians are very quick to blame Wogs, Lebos, Abbos etc for the ills in white suburban society. I find it amusing that the static world of the 1970\'s that only needed a touch of economic rationalism to get it going has become infinitely more complex for old folks like Howard. His \"Culture Wars\" can be seen as an attempt to retard progress. We know have China and India emerging as new economic powers, Indonesia democratized, Thailand and Malaysia are negotiating bi-lateral trade agreements, ASEAN finally wants us, NE Asia is emerging as a power bloc, America has turned imperial and unilateral .... Keating would have revelled in this environment ... to Howard it is alot different to the known quantities of the cold war. The success of East Timor and the Solomons were cold war style responses, which Howard excelled at. But his defence policy has been confusing and shown he does not understand power projection. Consequently Australia despite its beligerance is going trading away its ability to project martial power. His negotiations of trade agreements have not been great and in the case of the US exceedingly poor. He led Australia into Iraq which was a massive misjudgement, if there was a time to be critical of support of the US, this was it, and he failed there. The squashing of the Republic, the indulgence in the \"Culture Wars\" are all examples of retrograde social and cultural policy where the government decides it knows better than the people as to what they want. His authoritarian nature has damaged many institutions now as they have politicized in his quest for absolute control. He has also been the lucky beneficiary of the banks lending to all and any, along with China\'s increased demand of our commodities. Those along with Americans spending on the credit card interminably has saved the globe and Australia from genuine recession. The only thing I can think of to recommend his Prime Ministership is his control of the party discipline and his ability to manage the media/party during an election process. As to a statesman, he is really quite poor, even by Australian standards. cam