Salient. Victoria University of Wellington Students' Newspaper. Volume 32, No. 19. August 6, 1969
Nuclear News: We're in!
Nuclear News: We're in!
Ingredients: Anzus. refurbishing job, new weaponry, complicity, liberalism.
Results: The West's biggest military complex for thermonuclear purposes outside the U.S., less than 1,000 miles from New Zealand and approaching fast (Omega) or even established (Woodbourne, Mr. John).
The main difference between radicals and liberals is that the former see things more in objective terms; they can draw a dividing line. Liberals on the other hand, because they seek essential consenus in the polity, find it hard to draw lines. They also play by a set of rules, and they rely upon all men accepting these; this makes them vulnerable to any rule-breakers.
Thus, politics being the art of the possible, liberals are thereby either all-time losers, or liberalism is irrelevant. Or both. In the advance of the military political-industrial complex to greater power, in the while Pacific Dominions, liberals have not been a counter.
In Australia and New Zealand liberals can often be heard disparaging explicitly anti-communist pacts such as SEATO, while the other major anti-communist alliance both countries belong to, ANZUS, is treated with flippancy, or ignored, ANZUS was a child of the Cold War at its height, a product of the pre-missile era. The delicate equilibrium of the missile balance of terror at that time had yet to come: when it did the apparent usefulness of ANZUS as part of the defence perimeter of containment was rendered largely obsolete.
To recapitulate. ANZUS has always been regarded as a
"kind of double indemnity policy for the contracting parlies, an insurance to Australia and New Zealand against the resurgence of Japanese militarism, remote though that possibility might be, and an insurance to the Untied States against the loss of or any threat to Japan." (1)
On this basis, there seemed to he something in it for New Zealand and Australia if Japan after 1951 could be considered a real danger. It was held as the least the Pacific Dominions could settle for. As Nash said of ANZUS:
"On the evidence, it does not seem much. It has not the same bite in in clauses as have the clauses in the North Atlantic Treaty." (2)
Australian and New Zealand accepted the "soft peace" with Japan of 1951 since the United State, was allowing part of its skirt to protect them. This view, however, does not take into account the other security treaties the U.S. signed at that time: the mutual security treaties with the Philippines, and Japan itself. These other agreements first make clear the real meaning of ANZUS.
The three interlocked with the Japanese Peace Treaty, and, "by a unique westward extension of the Monroe Doctrine, the Untied States declared her intention to defend a ram part of islands and territories stretching from north to south in the Pacific Ocean, and to create machinery to effectuate this purpose." (3)
The sequence of events leading to ANZUS and the rest of the package deal (later 10 include treaties with South Korea and Formosa, as well as SEATO) included Korea and the extension of the Cold War 10 the Pacific in 1950, and the emergence of China as a formidable socialist and military force in Asia.
Anzus is, then a strong unit in the anti-communist alliance. In this there was advantage to America in being assured of the actual or possible use of bases or territorial facilities.
But this is not evident on first reading Anzus, for neither bases nor installations are mentioned. What has happened is that the treaty has given new life: Australia and New Zealand signed into the U.S. power system, "and this imposes obligations on us. . . ." (4). Mr. Gorton now says the treaty
"provides that we shall co-operate in the establishment of installations to help our joint defence. Under Article 2 we have an obligation jointly to maintain and develop our collective capacity to resist armed attack." (5)
Ingredients: Anzus, refurbishing, new weaponry, complicity, liberalism.
Results: The biggest military comple for thermo-nuclear purposes outside the United States less than 1,000 miles away and approaching fast (Omega) or even established (Wood-bourne, Mt. John).
You don't have to he a radical or activist to not like it; you might have to be to take action against it.
In Australia, the government credibility gap is not assisted by Americans who can't help telling the truth. And it was this that brought into focus the eighteen U.S. installations in Australia, and brought their purpose to the light; something which was not the intention of the Australian government, or Opposition. The "trade journals" of U.S. space and electronics people revealed it all—like Omega.
There are several questions arising from the Australian situation which must be asked in New Zealand now, before Omega is sited in Canterbury, or at East Cape (another site, which you weren't told about). These questions include the accountability of Government to people and Parliament, whether secrecy should close off debate, the cost (militarily) of such complexes, and why the U.S. has chosen these allies for this purpose. Radicals might ask these questions; liberals will probably die close-lipped.
Surely an independent government in the western alliance would not quietly sign away rights over 10 square miles of its own territory for a U.S. defence project of which the public knew nothing? Australia did just that and while Messrs. Gorton and Fairhall invoked Anzus as a cover, their actions were either those of knowing men acting knowingly, or stupid men agreeing naively. Robert Cooksey, senior lecturer in international relations at A.N.U., would argue the second:
"These questions are for too important to be left to Ministers and their official advisers, more particularly as none of the latter have training or experience in the analysis of nuclear strategy."
This signing away was for the Pine Gap missile site 12 miles from Alice Springs, being erected and operated under the strictest security by the U.S. and Australia at a cost of $225 million. Like the Woomera base, it has rare and delicate reconnaissance, hacking and control equipment, for military use.
From the North-West Cape Communications Station (for craft in the Indian Ocean) through Pine Gap, and Cooby Creek in Queensland, to Tidbinbilla. Orroral Valley and Honeysuckle Creek in A.C.T., Woomera in S.A. and Norfolk Island's receiving station to Omega, there runs a familiar thread. These bases are militarily significant not just for sustaining the delicate balance of nuclear deterrence. They will (planners hope) contribute to an American future superiority—and increase the chances of world nuclear war.
Must the bases have military purposes? Mr Gorton, commenting on the need for secrecy on these bases, said:
"If the advice of military leaders and military scientists is that little or no information should be given he-cause it would help a potential enemy then we should accept this advice...." (7)
Of course the ability to draw the dividing lint between military and non-military projects (or bases) is rare. Our Tasman neighbour is deeply involved in a number of U.S. satellite and space projects. Even rockets for meterorogical research imply a capability for sending nuclear explosives beyond the atmosphere.
"The interpenetration between American business and Government, including defence, is both deep and complex. There is a wide area . . . which is neither clearly and solely military nor equally clearly non-military. . . . The very decision on what is solely military, what is and is not restricted information, is very much a matter of administrative judgment." (8)
In a mailer which a Government deems so vital, New Zealand has yet to see the principle of accountability ignored (perhaps Woodbourne is the exception?), but the Gorton Government seems to have lost any sense of accountability to people or Parliament. Statements are obfuscating, so that Mr Gorton says:
"The question to be resolved is: Do we believe that the Anzus Treaty is tralia ? If we do believe that, we have an obligation to assist the defensive capability of the United States, which is underwriting not only our security but the security of many nations." And Mr Fair-hall:"Australia has a clear obligation under the Anzus Treaty to agree to the U.S. request. It is a contribution to our own and the joint defence of the free world." (9)
Cold War platitudes in the missile era: not an explanation of the nature of a base. Today this can be seen as a clear surrender of national independence in return for (hopefully) an ultimate guarantee of security. What do I mean?
Accountability is at the heart of the democratic process, and yet the implications of The Woomera defence communications terminal, the Pine Gap control and monitoring centre, and the Omega navigation system are that, once installed, accountability is dead. For they make instantaneous warfare possible.
As Dr Nancy Wheeler points out: "Computerised warfare has congealed war, diplomacy and politics into one over-arching art. Clauswitz's famous dictum hat been superseded. War is no longer the continuation of politics by other means. Both now take place in a simultaneous synthesis." Therefore accountability's end is nigh: if the liberals cannot speak now, then they will die without saying it.
These installations bring Australia territorially into the instantaneous system— but leave it out in the cold as far as taking part in the politico-military process is concerned.
After all, these client states have no other sources of intelligence to help them evaluate the Super Power's conclusions. And worse, it is not possible within a worth-while time frame for either Australia or New Zealand to "be informed", or for all within the alliance to "jointly consult" and act according to respective "constitutional processes" as Art. IV of Anzus states: Anzus is not a treaty for the missile age; as Peter Robinson says:
"By any standards, this seems to be an extraordinary extension of the terms of the Anzus Treaty." (10)
So too is this an extraordinary extension of warfare for Australia and New Zealand literally, out of this world and out of our hands.
What has brought such a strong commitment to the Anzac Powers from one of the Super Powers? Some claim that a credit balance has been built up by our two nations through the four wars fought at the side of the Americans and that this should he bankable. Hut the U.S. is a notoriously usurous banker: she may well use the accruing interest for her own purposes. Altruism has not brought her to underwrite our security. New strategies and weapons have.
It is geographical reality that makes Australia and New Zealand so attractive to the United States. The more sites outside the U.S. that call for Soviet or Chinese ICBM first strikes the less destructive effects in the U.S. itself. Secondly, Australia is uniquely located for monitoring, commanding and watching any space vehicles with an orbital path across China and the Soviet Union.
Thirdly. ICBMs follow a ballistic trajectory along a great polar circle route, and a ballistic missile early warning system (BMEWS) will become necessary as China is felt to be a greater threat to the U.S.: Australia is the obvious site for the system.
Then, of course, any Russian or American fractional orbital bombardment systems (Fobs) would pass over the Australian Bmfws This would give a warning time of 45-60 minutes in the case of a (South Polar) Soviet Fobs attack. Unless the tracking installatoins were taken out the element of surprise would be lost from the Soviet Fobs. For, data from the monitoring system would be fed to the anti-ballistic missile (ABM) screen deployed on Johnson Island in the Pacific (Cooksey 1968) or even to ABM sites elsewhere in the Southern Hemisphere. It is belter to have their dirty H-hombs explode over this area than in the airspace of American cities.
One further use for facilities of the Pine Gap type can be mentioned. American FOBS could be launched on a South Polar route against China. At the moment the U.S. has only ICBMs deployable against China, and these travel the North Polar route—i.e. across Russian territory, a likely source of mis-understanding without prior arrangements. A Fobs over the southern route would bring Anzus sites into play as vital for accurately placing them on Chinese ICBM sites and other installations.
It is superflous to detail the necessary Soviet and Chinese countering strategies, except to emphasise their absolute need to take out all possible stations in the U.S. system. But there is one further point: Chinese missile guidance is as yet not very sophisticated, and up to four nuclear-armed ICBMs might be needed for any one BMEWS site. Certainly the fallout from a pre-emptive strike of this kind would be considerable.
• Anzus has a new look and a new range of costs. For the vulnerability of Australia and New Zealand is increased infinitely by the American alliance.
• One cost is undoubtedly that the Anzac allies have no control over a great many operations, and this includes facilities in Australian and New Zealand soil.
• Another is that "the alliance's bases and stockpiles upgrade the hosts as targets for actual or potential enemies." (11)
• Since the alliance emails dangers which might otherwise be absent, a further effect takes place "vulnerability must be increased by any limitations on the U.S. commitment" to Australiasia.
Gorton has summed up in this matter: "In my judgment Australia is subject to less danger, nuclear or otherwise, having these bases and a joint defence treaty than not having these bases and not haying a joint defence treaty." Perhaps he needs some nuclear strategists to assist his judgment.
The conclusions are clear to see. If Australia and New Zealand are threatened by nuclear weapons, in particular, this will be so precisely because we are allied with be so precisely because we are now threatened (even Mr Gorton has spoken of "half a dozen" nuclear targets), and will continue to be so long as we provoke others by our forward military policies and association with American power.
Omega is one drop in the bucket: but the nuclear question is central to world politics, and the survival of peoples. We have assumed a big role in that nuclear question. Will the liberals act?
(1) J. G. Starke. The Anzus Treaty Alliance, (Melb 1965), pp. 71-2.
(2) Parl Debs, vol. 291 (1951) p. 202.
(3) Starke, p. 70.
(4) Prime Minister Gorton. External Affairs Review (N.Z.) (May 1969), p. 60.
(5) Gorton, ibid.
(6) R. Cooksey. The Australian Quarterly (March, 1969). p. 84.
(7) Gorton, op. cit., p. 61.
(8) H. G. Gelber. The Australian-American Alliance (Harmonds-worth, 1968), p. 64.
(9) The Australian (April 30, 1969), p. 3.
(10) Australian Financial Review (May 2. 1969. p. 5.
(11) Getber, pp. 68-9.