I have always been a pragmatist. That is why I believe that the US marine base in Darwin will be of great benefit to Australia. We are a big country here with a small population and negligible defence capabilities.
That is why we need a military alliance with a power that has similar values to our own. Not that I’m naive enough to think that sharing values is enough for an alliance to work. After all, we had some sort of relationship in the past with Great Britain, but when the Great War broke out our soldiers were used as cannon fodder at Gallipoli and elsewhere. And when the Second World War broke out and Japan attacked our part of the world, Great Britain abandoned us.
So sharing a past history and having similar values were not enough to make the Brits come to our rescue.
What was in it for them? Not much as it turned out. Loyalty towards its colonies flew out the window. We were on our own. So thank goodness it was in the U.S interest to fight the Japanese and this saved us.
My point is that nations will help one another only when it is in the interest of all involved to do so. It just makes sense, therefore, to foster an alliance that will benefit the US. The by-product of that is that Australia’s survival will be useful to our ally.
I also believe that the US and Australia have common enemies and it will serve us both to strengthen our relationship.
On a personal note, I am never more comfortable than when I travel in the US. I think we understand one another in spite of our minor differences.
Nevertheless, similar values are not enough and we have to make it worth their while for the US to come to our aid if we need it. Having US military bases in Australia should help.