April 12th 2008

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Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY: Red Star over Canberra

EDITORIAL: Behind the bid for UN Security Council seat

CANBERRA OBSERVED: Kevin Rudd's ideas summit looms

BIOFUELS: Ethanol doesn't have to compete with food

QUARANTINE: AQIS blamed for equine influenza outbreak

FINANCE: Right and wrong way to tackle financial crisis

STRAWS IN THE WIND: The American elections / Rudd's honesty / Conservative blues / NATO's fastidious peace-keeping

TAIWAN: KMT victory paves way for improved China ties

EUROPE: The Dutch disease - how low can you go?

BIOETHICS: Man - a vanishing species?

OPINION: Twilight of the British Raj

AS THE WORLD TURNS: Beijing's one-child policy a demographic powder-keg / A nation of dunces? / Fragility of the affluent society

High cost of foregoing trade deal (letter)

Finlandisation? (letter)

News Weekly's stand on global-warming (letter)

Earth Hour a silly idea (letter)

BOOKS: THE LITERACY WARS: teaching children to read and write in Australia by Ilana Snyder

BOOKS: ORIGINS: An Atlas of Human Migration edited by Russell King

Books promotion page

High cost of foregoing trade deal (letter)

by John R. Barich

News Weekly, April 12, 2008

I always enjoy Colin Teese's incisive trade analyses (e.g., "Rudd Government to re-examine FTAs", News Weekly, March 29, 2008), but national strategy is much more then trade.

While Australia's free trade agreement with the United States may have cost us some benefits, I tend to side with former Secretary to the federal Treasury John Stone who recently said:

"I relate this history because there is, I believe, a parallel with Howard's crowning achievement - namely, the negotiation in 2004 of the Australia-United States Free Trade Agreement.

"In a perfect world, I am a multilateralist where trade negotiations are concerned; but this exception to that credo will, I predict, become as important to Australia over the decades ahead as the CER [Closer Economic Relations agreement] has been to New Zealand.

"And make no mistake: without the personal 'chemistry' of the Howard-Bush relationship, and the related standing of Australia in the US Senate where the agreement had to be ratified, it would never have happened." (Quadrant, March 2008).

An objective assessment of Australia's strategic situation by Cameron Stewart (The Australian, March 28, 2008) places Australia in 2050 in very perilous straits. Only the American alliance can balance the growing power of China, India and Indonesia.

This is worth the price of some loss of a trade advantage.

John R. Barich,
Claremont, WA

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