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Do we really need the ANZUS Treaty?


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Hello all,


The reason for the question in the thread title is that I frequently hear the comment that we need the US to defend us, as we don't have the capability to defend ourselves. I suspect that we don't really need the treaty, being more the case that we want the treaty and all the side benefits and trade collaborations that orbit around it.


One question is who do we need defending from? Looking at who has the military power to do us damage, I could safely say that we are under no threat from the UK, the US, the European nations, NATO, and the Russian Federation, or Iran for that matter. All of them are far away and have no bone to pick with us.


In our region, the pacific island nations to our east and north east have no capability or motive. Looking to our north, the countries with some military forces would include Vietnam, Malaysia, Thailand , the Philippines, Indonesia and Singapore. Again, none of them have a military capability anywhere near ours, and no motive or desire to be hostile in the context of a direct military confrontation.


So that leaves only two major powers in our region that have the capability of doing us much harm - India and China. India is a friendly nation to us, and a significant trading partner. In the case of China, our biggest trading partner, whether we like it or not, we're joined at the hip. In my opinion we will see pigs fly past before China attacks us. It's much easier and more politically correct for them to buy Australia instead.


And I doubt the Kiwis will go to war with us over an ugg boot ownership issue. Even with the underarm bowling episode, they fell short of direct military action. I'd be interested to hear other opinions on the subject. I can't think of any potential threats I've left out in the above.


Cheers, Willie.



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Perhaps Australia is like pre-Bleriot England. We have an efficient defence in the moat that surrounds us. Until one of those Asian countries develops a really big merchant navy to transport troops and material, there's not much chance of an invasion.None of them have big enough logistical air forces to cross the seas to invade.


The ANZUS Treaty came into force on 29 April 1952 at the request by Australia and New Zealand who felt threatened by a possible re-ignition of Japanese militarism and Asian communism. Both countries knew that Great Britain, their pre-war protector, would not be able to protect them in the event of attack. The USA was initially reluctant to promise the desired protection, but the Korean conflict and the victory of Chinese Communist forces over non-communist forces caused the US to enter into the treaty, many to retain access to Australian soil from which it could conduct military operations as it did in WWll.


The real period of instability in relationships over ANZUS was the Hawke years. While the New Zealanders had shown objection to US nuclear ships prior to Lange's election, it was only with the election of his Labour government that this objection was acted upon. The treaty fell apart when New Zealand did a "mouse that roared" act on the USA and banned US military vessels from New Zealand ports because the Yanks would not confirm if the vessels were nuclear powered, or carrying nuclear weapons. Then, when world leaders, including those of the USA, failed to condemn the French for bombing the Rainbow Warrior when it was in a New Zealand port, New Zealand told the US to bugger off completely.


Australia's involvement in the Treaty has taken our military into Korea, Malaysia, Vietnam, East Timor, Bouganville, Iran and Afghanistan. Hardly places from which " in the opinion of any of them the territorial integrity, political independence or security of any of the Parties is threatened in the Pacific".


As far as Australia and New Zealand are concerned, the Treaty is still in force, but I dare to say that the very close cultural ties between the two countries carry more weight than lines on paper.



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My concern is that Australia's military capability, apart from personnel, is almost solely US or UK/EU sourced. I am sure there are Aussie contractors in there somewhere and I know some of the stuff is built (or assembled) in Australia, but our access to tech is somewhat secured by out treaties and our involvement in international intelligence sharing (which is also based on treaties). So while our money will still pay for the hardware we need, the technological capability of that hardware may well be reduced as a result.. Yes, the airframe of an F35 are the same wherever they are but the rest can be vastly different.


In some ways, Australia is a land of missed opportunities. The resources and natural wealth have not been used as effectively for the nation as it could. There is no reason, other than short-sightedness, that Australia shouldn't have a decent heavy industry manufacturing base and advanced research facilities - gawd knows we produce some wold class engineers et al - problem is the really good ones often get poached - over here (I am not an engineer!)



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Don't mention ANZUS to Trump. He probably doesn't know it exists but once he is told he will want Australia & NZ to pay for everything even though there is nothing to pay for. ANZUS is defunct and a complete waste of time. If we are attacked the US will determine whether it is in their interests to help & if so it will wade in boots & all. That goes for any atoll or island anywhere in the Pacific if the Yanks think the Russians or Chinese are getting too friendly with the locals by parking a few ships or planes on their little patch of paradise. The US still thinks it is the worlds police force whether we like it or not. Telling them to bugger off won't change anything.



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