Here’s Why the U.S. Can Always Count on Australia
The United States has a lot of friends. Who wouldn’t want to be friends with the most powerful country on earth? But the U.S. doesn’t always see eye to eye with all of its allies. Every now and again, one of America’s closest allies will turn its back and distance itself from the U.S. and its international intentions. Except in the case of Australia. For better or worse, Australia has followed the U.S. into every single war since World War II. Not even the U.K. can claim that. Australia enjoys the title of being America’s closest ally. Find out how this international love fest took hold.
Independence Looks Good on You
The story really begins with the idea of independence. Like a sheepish younger cousin, Australia has always admired the United States for declaring its independence from Great Britain. It was a bold move after all, and now America’s success is a blueprint for how a determined group of people can take destiny into their own hands. Before you can understand the nature of the relationship between the U.S. and Australia, it’s important to look at the many struggles the country has faced on its own road to independence.
The Inhumanity of the British
The British have a bad track record when it comes to international relations with Australia. When the British first began to colonize regions of Australia in the late 1700s, the population of the aborigines began to plummet. Settlers from Europe brought new kinds of diseases to the indigenous peoples, resulting in a major, unexpected loss of life over the next 150 years. Of course, there was also plenty of conflict between these colonizers and the original residents of the continent. Enduring pushback against the British was another major cause of death.
These unfortunate encounters may be one of the many reasons why the Australians eventually surrendered to the British, lacking the resources necessary to support an ongoing conflict. Things got even worse when the British started sending massive ships full of prisoners to Australia, using the continent as an oversized purgatory. The British also had the novel idea of trying to assimilate the settlers with the aborigines, mainly by stealing native-born child and forcing them to live with white Europeans. As you might image, that didn’t go over so well.
After public opinion turned against the British, the U.K. finally decided to give authority to the six colonies in Australia, although they still remained under British rule. Things finally broke apart entirely in the late 1930s when Britain’s Statute of Westminster in 1931 officially gave Australia its sovereignty.
WWII and the Pacific Southwest
When war broke out in the late 1930s, Australia was eager to become a recognizable face on the international stage. With the war right in the country’s backyard, Australia felt that it was in its best interest to pick the winning side. Australia eventually offered its support to the United States, having long admired the brazen behemoth across the Pacific.
The U.S. sent General Douglas MacArthur to the Pacific Southwest to man the Allied troops. As victory came near, the U.S. knew that it needed to keep a close eye on the Japanese. When the war came to an end, Australia was more than happy to give the U.S. access to the Pacific Southwest, beginning the trend of their lasting international cooperation. Along with New Zealand, the U.S. and Australia signed a military treaty known as ANZUS, which remains in effect today.
The War on Terror and International Solidarity
Since WWII, Australia has had America’s back in every war. The most notable was the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan. After the horrific events of 9/11, Australia commiserated with the U.S., feeling its duty to suit up for another international conflict. But Australia was the only ally to do so. Some of America’s strongest allies in Europe and even Canada decided not to go forward with the invasion. The entire endeavor seemed like too much of a risk with the added caveat that the U.S. could produce no proof of those infamous weapons of mass destruction.
The overall war wasn’t exactly a success, but it further cemented the alliance between Australia and the U.S. Only time will tell if these two countries will remain as close as they currently are, but the odds are looking pretty good.