The Guardian August 22, 2001


Australian troops for US wars

In a blunt message to Australia, US warhawk Richard Armitage said that 
Australians were expected to die alongside Americans in the event of a 
conflict with China over Taiwan.

Armitage, who visited Australia recently, also threatened Australia with a 
backlash from Washington if it failed to lend support to the US in any 
future Asian conflict.

"I am not sure all of our friends here in Australia understand the 
significance of the alliance to Americans", Armitage is reported as saying. 
"For us an alliance is an obligation, if necessary, to fight and die for 
each other.

"We are talking on the US side (of) our sons and daughters fighting and 
dying if Australia comes under attack and, by the way, we are talking about 
Australian sons and daughters who would be willing to sacrifice their lives 
to help defend the United States.

"I think the overwhelming view in the United States is [that] it is hard to 
imagine a military action of any sort here by the United States which 
wouldn't in large measure also be in Australia's interest.

"I can't imagine one of the great events of our time taking place without 
Australian participation at some level", he said.

Just in case the Australian Government and people don't get the message 
Armitage went on to say, "In the terrible event the United States was 
involved in a conflict, [and] it was not in [Australia's] interest to 
participate [at] some level, then we would have to take a look at where we 
are after the dust has settled."

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