what a prediction!

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    a few months ago, i posted a sarcastic article about the massive aids funding the usa was giving africa.sure enough,the lefties in australia have fallen into line.

    High price of hate

    14aug03

    IT was the raucous applause that our Australian of the Year, Professor Fiona Stanley, got for vilifying America that was the most frightening.

    A tape of that cheering should be played to the Australian American Leadership Forum in Melbourne tomorrow, before there's too much talk of how matey we're becoming, with a free-trade agreement and closer defence ties still to come.
    At the dialogue we'll see people such as Foreign Affairs Minister Alexander Downer, Treasurer Peter Costello, US Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, General Peter Cosgrove and US Ambassador Tom Schieffer chumming up, as business leaders look on and beam, jiggling their coins.

    There's unlikely to be a hint there of anti-American hatred, not unless Opposition Leader Simon Crean smuggles in some of his rowdier backbenchers.

    But before the participants -- and I'll be there, too -- settle our rumps too snugly into the upholstery, let's hear Stanley's recent rant at the Adelaide Festival of Ideas. Just so everyone can witness how toxic is the anti-Americanism that could sink our fine plans.

    Let me first set the scene.

    The Adelaide Festival of Ideas is, like next week's Melbourne Writers' Festival, a taxpayer-supported gathering of our leading writers and "thinkers".

    It has on its advisory committee such prominent taste police as the ABC's Phillip Adams and La Trobe University's Morag Fraser, who is also the Melbourne Writers' Festival chairwoman.

    And, like the Melbourne Writers' Festival, it is a parade of one anti-American xenophobe after another. Adelaide's keynote speaker, who failed to turn up, was journalist Robert Fisk, infamous for barracking for Saddam's genocidal Iraq against the Americans.

    Melbourne's is the veteran British Trotskyist, Tariq Ali, who thinks the Americans and their Iraqi "collaborators" in Iraq should be shot or driven out by the Saddamite gunmen and terrorists now picking them off.

    F RASER, naturally, hates her festivals being described like this, and wrote in The Age how unfair it was to call the Adelaide speakers anti-American "luvvies".

    Look at Fiona Stanley, she said. This child-health expert -- our Australian of the Year under the conservative Howard Government -- was no "luvvie", but of an "independent mind".

    Which makes what Stanley said at the festival -- in a session recently replayed on Phillip Adams' Late Night Live program on the ABC -- even more startling.

    Stanley was on a festival panel discussing Africa's AIDS crisis and the $15 billion that US President George Bush this year pledged to fight this epidemic in what he called "a work of mercy beyond all current international efforts to help the people of Africa".

    For people who have seen, as I have, how AIDS is devastating Africa, Bush's promise was inspiring. Visionary. Magnificent.

    This was the US at its best. More than seven million would be saved from AIDS. Life-extending drugs would be given to two million for whom prevention was too late.

    Only free enterprise America could raise such vast amounts of cash, and develop so many miraculous drugs. Only America could mount such a war on AIDS, helping a continent unable to help itself.

    As Sir Bob Geldof, the musician turned activist, enthused: "The Bush administration is the most radical -- in a positive sense -- in its approach to Africa since Kennedy." So who could see this initiative as anything other than a credit to the US and its President?

    S AY hello to Fiona Stanley. "Wonderful," she drawled sarcastically at the Festival. "Astounding."

    Ha! Bush's $15 billion aid program "in fact was a payback for the pharmaceutical companies that got him elected," she raged.

    "It was money that went straight from his pocket into the pockets of the pharmaceutical industry so they would re-elect him the next time . . . Now if they really cared about preventing AIDS, they would go in with safe sex campaigns, needle exchange programs and all the things they don't do because the fundamentalists who are driving that won't fund them.

    "And they don't even pay their (United Nations) dues for safe motherhood."

    Oh, the crowd went mad, whooping and cheering. This was the stuff! This was what they'd come to hear. Bad Bush. Wicked America.

    But fellow panellist Professor Dennis Altman, the gay activist, was incensed. "Stop making cheap political points," he yelled at Stanley. "This is too f...ing easy to say. . ."

    The crowd started laughing at him. Some even jeered. This was not what they wanted to hear. Fancy defending the satanic US.

    "The US is also funding many of the things you say they are not," Altman managed to add before the laughter and the compere shut him up completely.

    And Altman was right. Bush's money will indeed pay for condoms and safe sex education, as it does already with such success in Uganda. The US pharmaceutical companies -- which did not "elect" Bush -- will be disappointed that his cash will also buy the cheap generic AIDS drugs they've been fighting.

    Nor is the US holding back UN dues meant for "safe motherhood". It instead stopped paying for UN schemes involved in abortion, particularly forced abortion in China, and switched its $52 million, plus some other aid, to real "motherhood" programs.

    So what Stanley said was utter nonsense, fuelling only the wildest anti-American conspiracy theories. Yet her audience of "intellectuals" lapped up every vicious word and begged for more of this middle-class racism.

    This deep desire to see the US in the most depraved light is growing -- particularly in Europe -- and in Australia now influences important politicians. It may not be long before it influences our foreign policy, too.

    It's of course clear that many of our "intellectuals" are, as Downer says, "obsessed with anti-Americanism".

    This has long been a disease of the "thinking class", as French philosopher Raymond Aron pointed out more than 40 years ago.

    Intellectuals resent a superpower that ignores them and their ideas. And the capitalist US has insulted them even more by making poor people richer and freer than the Marxism of the intellectuals ever could or will.

    And so, during the Iraq war, people like Marx-loving ABC host Terry Lane said they wanted Iraq to win, and Guy Rundle, co-editor of the far-Left Arena magazine, hoped for a "slaughter of some duration" to teach the US a lesson.

    See, too, how many writers and journalists blamed the US for the deaths of so many Iraqi children before the war, when it was actually Saddam and his cronies who hoarded and exported the medicines those children needed.

    The US is the "Third Reich of our times", raged journalist John Pilger, who was honoured with a big exhibition this year in the Melbourne Museum.

    It's a regime that sees its role as "one of initiating and waging virtually perpetual war", said "former" communist Phillip Adams, who has served on many of our most influential arts bodies.

    This propagandising has its effect, even on a public that's got no real gripe with America.

    A recent Roy Morgan Research survey found that while 64 per cent of Australians liked the US, 39 per cent still thought it made the world a more dangerous place. Another poll, by lobbyist Hawker Britton and UMR Research, even found public support for a free trade deal with the US was slipping in part because of rising anti-Americanism.

    Labor politicians, who could one day form the next government, have been succumbing to this creeping virus -- so much so that US Ambassador Schieffer publicly complained in February that Simon Crean was making a "rank appeal to anti-Americanism".

    Schieffer was rightly alarmed by the "very emotional" tone of some of Labor's attacks on President Bush in the months before the Iraq war.

    Frontbencher Mark Latham, for instance, had called Bush the "most incompetent and dangerous president in living memory", a "flakey" man filling the US with "puffed-up patriotism" and leading the "American war machine" to the "slaughter of tens of thousands of innocent people".

    Foul, irresponsible stuff. Yet Latham has since been promoted to shadow treasurer, and is likely to be Labor's next leader.

    SUCH hatred of America is not unusual now, and is most obvious in former political leaders free to say what they really think.

    Former Liberal Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser last month called the US a "fundamentalist regime", and has often warned us not to side with it against China's fascist regime -- or Iraq's. Likewise, former Labor premier Joan Kirner claimed America's "lack of honesty, lack of integrity and absolute power" was a "very dangerous mix for the whole world".

    Such are the voices whispering in the Opposition's ear, as it nitpicks over a free-trade deal with the US, instantly dismisses the idea of letting US troops stay here, and ignorantly opposes helping the US to build a missile defence system that would protect not only America but its allies.

    Such are also the voices in the ear of the Australian Democrats, which hold the balance of power in the Senate, and decided just before the September 11 attacks -- when terrorists were still mere visions of Right-wing paranoia -- that our ANZUS treaty with the US was old hat and "reflects a problem of lacking national self-confidence".

    We instead "need(ed) to work closely with New Zealand", the Democrats said brightly. New Zealand, which had just mothballed its jet fighters, and scrapped part of its navy.

    To explain this new "policy", the Democrats actually issued a paper that quoted a Peter Garrett song: "US forces get the nod. It's a setback for our country."

    True, not every objection to the US, its leaders or its policies is a sign of anti-Americanism.

    But listen again to those cheers for Fiona Stanley. Hear how influential people want so badly to believe the very worst of America, even when it's at its very best.

    Yes, let's have those close ties -- economic, diplomatic and military -- with the US. They'll make us richer and safer, more influential and perhaps more dynamic.

    But let's not assume sweet reason will triumph. Bitter, chippy, envious anti-Americanism is on the rise, and in this unreasoning resentment could yet drown our best interests.


    andrew bolt
    herald-sun


 
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