Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Dangerous Allies, by Malcolm Fraser

Staff Review by Chris Saliba 

In this carefully argued book, Malcolm Fraser argues Australia's alliance with the United states has brought us more potential danger than security.

Former prime minister Malcolm Fraser argues that for too long Australia has relied on what he terms 'strategic dependence'. Rather than set our  own course on defence strategy and foreign policy, we have looked first to Britain, then to the United  States. Fraser suggests that this was perhaps right for the times, but since 1945 we have followed America uncritically into foolish and dangerous wars. During the current Obama presidency, Australia's Pine Gap facility provides intelligence required for US assassinations performed by drones. The legality of drone killings under international law remains untested. Fraser suggests Australian personnel performing such security work could be culpable.

Critics may think Dangerous Allies a piece of anti-American propaganda from a former cold war warrior. The book is actually a thoughtful and nuanced history of Australian foreign policy. Fraser make a persuasive argument that we should pursue an independent path on foreign policy, focusing  on building good relations with our neighbours in the Asia pacific region.

This is a book that is sure to generate a lot of vigorous debate. Malcolm Fraser's calm voice, careful reasoning and meticulous presentation makes Dangerous Allies essential reading for any one interested in Australian history, politics and national security.

Dangerous Allies, by Malcolm Fraser. Published by Melbourne University Press. ISBN: 9780522862652  RRP: $49.99

This review was first published in Books + Publishing magazine.  

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