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Thursday, 26 November 2020 11:48

US needs to get its mitts out of Australia's internal affairs Featured

Arthur Culvahouse is acting like a bull in a china shop. Arthur Culvahouse is acting like a bull in a china shop. Courtesy YouTube

If proof were ever needed that the US directly interferes in Australia's internal affairs, US ambassador Arthur Culvahouse has provided it in spades, intervening in a dispute between Beijing and Canberra over a list of Australian actions which reportedly annoyed the Middle Kingdom.

Yet, neither the Federal Government, nor the Opposition nor any of the great bloviators of the mainstream media outlets have seen fit to ask the man to butt out.

There is no lack of big-mouths who will spout on every topic under the sun, but when it comes to American interference, they all fade into the distance. Where is Peter Hartcher? Where is Chris Uhlmann? Where is Philip Coorey? Where is Laura Tingle? Where is David Crowe? Where is Paul Kelly? Where is Chris Kenny? Where is Andrew Bolt? Where is Lenore Taylor? Where is Katharine Murphy?

And these are all people who claim to be fiercely loyal to Australia. It takes a journalist from a tiny publication to do their dirty work and condemn this intervention in the strongest possible terms.

Culvahouse, a political appointee of President Donald Trump, will be leaving his post in January. He went on the record on Wednesday, accusing Chinese diplomats of foreign interference after they told the Australian Government to back down on key policies.

Who exactly is Culvahouse to comment on Australia's dealings with China? And why has the Prime Minister Scott Morrison failed to tell him, politely, if he so wishes, that these are Australia's affairs and this country is perfectly capable of dealing with them? Coward is a mild word to describe the head of a country who will not stand up for his own nation.

Culvahouse's act was akin to that of a bull in a china shop (no pun intended), coming as it did at a time when both Beijing and Canberra had issued respectful statements about each other. It's beginning to look like Washington would like to fan the flames so that the row between Australia and China gets worse.

This follows a pattern of interference by the US that began decades ago. Most recently, Washington pushed Canberra to ban Chinese telecommunications equipment provider Huawei Technologies from bidding for 5G contracts in 2018.

Of course, former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull has repeatedly claimed he was the decision-maker on this issue, but his claims have been roundly negated by stories that appeared in the Australian Financial Review.

This is not the first time that Culvahouse has put his foot in his mouth. Back in July, he made a claim that the US was Australia's most important economic partner, even though official figures show that this is wildly off the mark.

Is Australia such a weak-kneed country that we need some hick-town Republican loudmouth to run its affairs? Morrison and the rest of his team should hang their heads in shame if they do not speak up firmly and put Culvahouse in his place.

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Sam Varghese

Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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