US President Donald Trump sent his vice-president Mike Pence on a beat-the-drums-of-war Asia-Pacific tour and even before Pence got to Australia, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull started talking Trumplish.
He regurgitated Trump's jingoistic riffs with near word-for-word precision: “Australia and Australians first”, “Australian values”.
In his April 20 interview on ABC TV's 730 program, Turnbull said he “trusted in the wisdom” of Trump and was so proud that Pence put Australia early on his visit list.
Never mind it was after South Korea and Japan, Turnbull boasted that this was the “earliest visit to Australia by a US vice-president in a new administration”.
Remember when Trump made his speech about putting “America first” and making “America great again” and comedians all around the world did those delicious parodies of it? “We know America is first, Mr President, but can Canada be second?” and so on. It was hilarious.
But Turnbull was not taking the piss out of Trump. He could have, if he really wanted to show respect for Australian tradition — but no, he was serious.
In history, when capitalist politicians go all jingoistic like this it has meant that they were about to start a war. Even as they carried on about their love of their nation and their people, they were drawing up plans to ship off the youth of their country to become cannon fodder in a war in another country.
The more they praised the supposed “democratic values” of their nation, the more they dismantled hard-won rights and freedoms. Racism and fear of foreigners was whipped up and Brown Shirts had their day.
In ugly and dangerous times like these, voices against the jingoistic tirade are all the more precious. Green Left Weekly is one of those voices. For more than 25 years this publication has called out the racists and warmongers and stood staunchly against reactionary tides.
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