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A National Identity in Limbo

“Australia has always struggled to assert its own identity on the world stage…”


When I was a teenager I was at work one day and one of my work colleagues came into work wearing a jumper with a U.S. flag on it. I said to him, “Why are you wearing a U.S. flag?” He just looked at me and replied, “What’s the big deal, it’s just a jumper?” I responded, “No, it’s a foreign flag, aren’t you patriotic?” It turns out that he wasn’t, he didn’t really care about representing another nation’s flag and he saw patriotism as silly. He liked American music, American fashion, and American culture, and he was very happy to represent it even by wearing the American flag, despite being an actual Aussie.

From a young age, the idea of wearing another nation’s flag has never sat well with me, and it shouldn’t. The flag you fly represents your allegiance. To this day whenever I see someone wearing an American flag or any foreign flag, I feel like saying something. I don’t always do so, but I have the impulse. Many Australians will wear the U.S. flag without thinking it is an issue. Not realizing how un-Australian that is…

Or should I say, how un-Australian I thought it was?

Let me just say before I go further, I have no issue with Americans, or their flag. I actually admire how patriotic Americans are about their nation in a way that most Aussies are not. My issue is not that at all. My issue is with a person flying foreign colours. I just cannot fathom why anyone would do that and also be proud of it. I cannot imagine the patriotic Americans I know wearing Aussie flags. Maybe they would if they were on holiday here? But it just wouldn’t seem right in any other context. However, despite these considerations, I have come to realize something, it is not un-Australian at all to fly the U.S. flag, not in the slightest.

Australia is a psychologically fractured nation. It is almost as if our nation, collectively, and historically, has had multiple personality disorders, with two strongly competing identities. One is the Australian identity that we are famous for, the larrikin persona shown to the world by Crocodile Dundee and the Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin. The laid-back, confident, speaking-a-language-most-Brits-and-Yanks-can’t-fully-understand, Aussie culture that we used to sell across the world and the Simpson’s once lampooned so well. The other Australian identity is that we are nothing more than the loyal servants of a greater Imperial power.

First, it was Britain, which is reasonable, as we were founded as a British Colony. But now it is America. It is as if many Australians, especially in power, now just see Australia as the 51st state of the United States of America. In this framework, we are the “little U.S.” that adopts every social issue the United States pedals within a few years, loyally tags along on any war the United States says we should, and completely subjugates ourselves to the foreign policy, and climate goals and cultural rule of the United States. These two identities make up the dominant way Australia now presents itself to the world, and how it sees itself internally.

When you recognize these twin identities of the Australian nation, then you really can’t say wearing an American flag is un-Australian. Because Australians can’t really make up their mind about who they really want to be and have for some time now tied their identity to their propagation of American culture, in many, but not all of its forms. This doesn’t just have implications for fashion though, it feeds into every level of society and is causing Australia to quickly head towards falling off a dangerous cliff. Because of our close relationship, really subjugation, to America, Australia is gearing up for war against a nation that we cannot beat, should not seek to fight, and have no interest in being enemies with; China.

Australia is not ramping up for war with China because this would be good for us, we have always been a nation on good terms with China[1]. Australia is doing this because it is what is good for the United States[2] elite and it is what is required of us by the United States elite to stay on their good side. This has always been how Australian foreign policy has functioned, our leaders have considered: what do our overlords require of us?

Australia may be one of the oldest democracies in the world, but it is one of the youngest nations, and before we had even settled into our national identity, we tied ourselves very close to our patrons in Britain for the first two World Wars and then this was neatly handed over to the United States during World War 2 and beyond. Australia never gave itself a chance to become its own nation, we have always been the loyal lap dogs of the greater Anglo-Saxon powers.[3] Don’t just take my word for it, here is Jo Hockey’s, the former Australian Treasurer’s, take on this issue, as recorded by Caitlin Johnstone. Johnstone[4] writes,  

“As part of Australian media’s relentless onslaught of war-with-China propaganda, the government-run Australian Broadcasting Corporation just aired a radio segment on RN Breakfast about the newly revealed details on the AUKUS nuclear-powered submarine deal, featuring two guests who are enthusiastic supporters of the deal, and hosted by another enthusiastic supporter of the deal.

One of the guests, Australia’s former treasurer and ambassador to the United States Joe Hockey, made some interesting remarks.

“This locks us in with the United States for decades to come; is there a risk, as the smaller partner in this deal, we’ll just have to do what the US tells us when it comes to future wartime engagements?” host Patricia Karvelas asked Hockey.

“Well we’re already fully integrated with the United States military, and arguably have been for more than one hundred years,” Hockey replied. “We’re the only country in the world that has fought side-by side with them in every major battle for the last one hundred years. And already today a lot of our navy has the Aegis Combat System, which is an American combat system; our current Collins-class submarines use American torpedoes… and in every major way, communications systems and integration, we already have American technology, and we’re integrated with American systems. So there’s nothing new here in that regard.”

This is true; Australia is inseparably intertwined with the US military and is in practice nothing other than a US military and intelligence asset in every meaningful way, to such an extent that the US navy is reportedly planning to use the country as a full-service submarine station for the entire range of undersea activities in the Asia-Pacific region. In an incredibly brazen admission that the Australian government has fully given away the nation’s sovereignty to a foreign power, Deputy Prime Minister and Secretary of Defence Richard Marles said last year that the Australian Defence Force is moving “beyond interoperability to interchangeability” with the US military so they can “operate seamlessly together, at speed.”[5]

There you have it, Australia’s former treasurer has acknowledged the reality of the relationship of Australia to the United States. One of subservience.

Johnstone is also not kidding about the “relentless onslaught of war-with-China propaganda”. Here is an example from Sky News which has been especially beating the drums of war, “As an ally and partner of the United States, Australia will need to do its part in coming to Taiwan’s aid if China reclaims the self-governing island by force…”[6] You can watch the full video here, it is less than two minutes long and is quite ridiculous because of what it does not say. It does not mention that tackling China is far out of Australia’s league, and it is especially so, while we are allying with two nations that are far out of China’s reach, whereas we are within its almost direct sphere of influence.

We are taking far more of the risk in this endeavour than either of the other AUKUS nations, Britain and America. Remember, China is also our largest trading partner for a reason, they are the dominant power and population in our region. It is the size and wealth of their nation which makes them such an attractive trading partner. So, we’d be foolish fighting against China for the very same reasons that we trade with them, they are big, rich and powerful, in a way that we are not.

People also forget that Britain, supposedly,[7] went to War with Germany to save Poland. But while Britain won the war with its allies, and succeeded in crushing Germany into smithereens, this did not happen before both Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia pulverized Poland which was within both their spheres of influence. We are not as close to China as Germany is to Poland, but we are certainly far closer to China and its allies than we are to the United States and are therefore in great danger of being turned into one of America’s next proxies[8] for war. After all, why fight the enemy at home when he can be fought abroad? Isn’t that a staple of American foreign policy, and indeed that of other empires?  

It is, therefore, vitally important to take on board what Hockey says about the nature of Australia’s relationship with the United States. When asked does this AUKUS deal place us in the dangerous position of being required to go to war whenever the U.S. requires it, Hockey correctly notes, “Well, we’re already fully integrated with the United States military, and arguably have been for more than one hundred years,” Hockey replied. “We’re the only country in the world that has fought side-by-side with them in every major battle for the last one hundred years.” In other words, we are and have been for some time, subservient to the United States and nothing in this regard has changed, it is just becoming more entrenched. We are, therefore, in effect a U.S. auxiliary force.

Rome never went to war without its auxiliaries. Often their auxiliary forces were among some of their best and most specialized troops as well. But this did not change that they were merely subjugated peoples who did as Rome told them. We have served as first a British colonial force and now as an American auxiliary force. Australia has never gone to war primarily for its own interests, but always in the interests of larger powers. This does not mean that our soldiers are not brave and capable fighting men, they are good at their job, it simply highlights that even at the highest levels of foreign policy, Australians do not have their own identity. We serve the interests of a foreign empire. I would argue this trend is also built into how we memorialize ourselves as a nation.

Our most memorable military day of remembrance, indeed our most important national day, ANZAC Day, commemorates the first major battle where Australian and New Zealander troops faced major casualties during World War 1, at Gallipoli, and following from that all subsequent battles. The bravery, capability and honour of our fighting men is without question. But let’s note a few things about ANZAC DAY. First, the acronym ANZAC means Australia and New Zealand Army Corps. So, inherent in this national day of remembrance is our inclusion as a nation with New Zealand, another nation sovereign in its own right and a distinct people. So, our most sacred national day again highlights how Australians don’t see ourselves apart from our allies on the world stage.

Second, recall also what the battle of Gallipoli was about. We were there fighting alongside and under the command of Britain in its attack against her enemy in the region, the declining Ottoman Empire. Therefore, the effort we were engaged in was as an auxiliary, or colonial, force fighting against an old and decrepit empire, ‘the sick man of Europe’ as it was called at the time, that was far away from any strategic influence on Australia, and incapable of attacking our nation anyway. Our most treasured day of military remembrance is a day where we memorialize fighting for another nation, as a small part of their larger war efforts. This is not incidental. How a nation chooses to memorialize itself, will come to determine how it sees itself, and will have a big influence on how it acts on the world stage.

It is not surprising then that Australia has always struggled to assert its own identity on the world stage and struggles to forge its own path. We don’t have a Magna Carta moment where our nobles asserted their rights against an overarching monarch. Nor do we have a revolutionary moment where we threw the troops of a foreign oppressor off our shores. Or even a battle of Britain moment, where the very safety of our whole nation was under threat if not for a desperate stand of our own independent forces.[9] There has never been that defining moment where Australia asserted itself for its own purpose on the world stage and forged its identity in that assertion. The Rum Rebellion was a non-starter. We have not even managed to say no to any foreign wars in recent memory. Australia is a passive nation, bent to the will of others.  

Australia did have to defend its shores in the past from bombing raids of the Japanese during World War 2. But we even did that as part of a larger war effort, because we were fighting alongside of our allies in the Pacific, who had their bases here in Australia. There has not been that integral moment where we asserted ourselves on the world stage for the sake of Australia alone. Neither the North Koreans, Vietnamese, Mujahedeen, Taliban, or other peoples we fought with since World War 2 were our actual direct enemies. At least not until after we went there and attacked them. They were called “enemies of our way of life” for a reason. Because they did not oppose us directly, but indirectly by having a very different way of life to ours. Nor were these conflicts for the defence of Australian borders against an invading army. They were all conflicts where we fought side by side with the United States for its imperial purposes.

Even our efforts on climate change are dictated by globalist policy and not Australia’s best interests. We are a resource-rich nation that should be energy self-sufficient, yet we are not by decree of foreign agreements.

I have written elsewhere on an extensive theology of alliances in the Bible, and I don’t want to repeat myself here on all those points. I only want to highlight this, one of the reasons God told Israel to abstain from alliances with foreign powers was because they would lose their national identity in the process. Alliances in that era included submitting to the gods of other nations in rituals that bound the nations together with spiritual bonds. They also included the trading of people, daughters as wives, plus envoys and traders, all of which added together to bring an allied nation under the influence of its major ally or allies. Israel in this way became more like Egypt, Syria, Assyria, or Babylon depending on who the major power of the day was. Because it copied the customs of its allies. This process is unavoidable and observed throughout history.  

Alliances may not be sealed with the same rituals today that they once were, but they have the same effect. The more Australia draws near to America the less Australian and the more American we become; adopting many of their ways in our own idiosyncratic forms. I remember one writer noting about Australia in the 60s, when it was still largely also in Britain’s orbit, that we had made a way of life that was more British than the Brits. This is now becoming true with the United States in some ways.

Major social advances in the U.S. are adopted in Australia within years, our manufacturing industry, which was always partially reliant on U.S. investment, now just skips to buying more and more American products. Taco Bells are going up everywhere and Wendy’s is on the way, to supplement Cost Co. and other American businesses. Our theme parks now replicate miniature Disneylands, rather than reflecting the unique Aussie society they once did. Heck, one of them is called Warner Brothers Movie World. This process is just the ramping up of a process that has gone on for decades. Our identity is being lost more and more. It is being subsumed into the identity of our largest ally, like a small comet caught in the orbit of the Earth.

But worse than that, it is being lost for a dangerous cause; the rising likelihood of war with China. Something we do not need and do not want. Yet, do we have a choice? Johnstone shares this brutally honest analysis from foreign policy expert John Mearsheimer, that warns us, if we won’t align with the U.S. then were are the enemy of the United States, “ if you go with China, you want to understand you are our enemy. You are then deciding to become an enemy of the United States. Because again, we’re talking about an intense security competition.”[10] Does it now make sense why our leaders follow America so closely when it tells us to? Because they know what happens to those who oppose the United States, they suddenly find themselves in need of a dose of freedom to replace the current “regime”.[11]

If we had a strong national identity all of these issues would still be pressures we needed to deal with. But we would be dealing with them more from a place of confidence as a nation and less from a state of fear. From a Biblical perspective, I think the only hope for Australia is to repent and turn to the Lord, and seek his protection from being caught between two global powers. From a practical perspective, I think the sooner we seek to extricate ourselves from foreign entanglements the better off we will be in the future. There will be a cost, we may drop in our standard of living for a time, and we may have to learn to become more self-sufficient. But self-sufficiency is a good thing for a nation.

I also do not propose that we switch alliances with the United States to then draw closer to China and its goals. I propose that we step out as a nation to determine our own destiny on the world stage, one based on non-interventionism and friendly relations with surrounding nations. Rome was always able to find new auxiliaries, for a very important reason, its auxiliaries were expendable and readily available by going to war and subjugating new nations. We should recognize this because we are an auxiliary force.

Like the small store owner in downtown Chicago in the time of Al Capone, it is likely our leaders don’t really think they have a choice but to do as they are told. Nor did ancient Israel, hence it continually played the alliance game, which led to the eventual invasion of their nation and exile for their people. But I see no better future for our nation if we continue to play this game. As a proud Australian, I would like to see us have a new desire to forge our own destiny as a nation. I don’t see how going to war over Taiwan, against China achieves that at all. In fact, it is almost certainly going to ensure that we will not be able to stand on our own. Because if the U.S. wins we then become more entwined with the imperial police of this region more permanently which will create growing resentment for our nation in the region, and if the U.S. loses, which is more likely, we backed the wrong horse, and our nation will then be in imminent great danger.

We no longer stand on the shores of Gallipoli. But maybe, just maybe, if every Australian remembered how the British Generals and Admirals drank tea as they sent ANZAC forces into overwhelming and impossible odds to die for a cause not their own, then perhaps this might give us reason to pause and think. And perhaps this can stir a little bit of long-term foresight about how we better assert our independent national identity soon before we no longer have the chance.


[1] Perhaps too close, in fact. Australia is too reliant on China for prosperity and immigration, which is setting us up to replace America with China in a near future date. Something which would not enhance the Australian identity at all, but propagate as continuing submission to larger powers.

[2] While I use America and the United States interchangeably in this piece, people should note there is a distinction as the American halls of power are currently dominated by a foreign elite who have foreign interests at heart, that are not in line with those of the founders of America. Who you may remember were non-interventionists.

[3] Some people hate hearing me say this, but it is true. I don’t say it because I like saying it, I say it because the truth must be named, and then we can consider how to deal with it.

[4] Caitlin Johnstone 2023, On War With China, Australia Is Caught Between A Rock And A Pentagon https://caitlinjohnstone.substack.com/p/on-war-with-china-australia-is-caught

[5]Caitlin Johnstone 2023, On War With China, Australia Is Caught Between A Rock And A Pentagon https://caitlinjohnstone.substack.com/p/on-war-with-china-australia-is-caught    

[6] Sky News 2023, https://www.msn.com/en-au/news/other/australia-will-need-to-do-its-part-if-china-takes-taiwan-by-force/ar-AA19QR5v?ocid=emmx-mmx-feeds&PC=EMMX01

[7] It didn’t, it went to war with Germany to maintain its hegemonic dominance of trade in Europe and top place among the colonial powers. Britain viewed Germany as a threat precisely because Germany was starting to assert itself on the world stage just as the British Empire had for more than a century. The war was less ideological than is often thought today and much more an extension of traditional Great Power politics, only on a scale that brought most of the world this time into the conflict. This happened precisely because the sun never set on the British Empire, that is it became a world war because the dominant world power went to war. Germany was a threat, but without the dominant world power getting involved, it could have remained a localized European threat as it had in the Prussian wars with France in the 19th century.  

[8] A proxy war is when one nation fights another nation through an intermediary. So, for example, when America was fighting Vietnam, it was really fighting Communist Russia. Vietnam was simply the proxy.

[9] We did have multiple attacks from Japan in World War 2, and our soldiers bravely defended our nation from them here and abroad, but we stood alongside both larger British and American forces, which were fighting those enemies and defending their bases here in Australia, as much as defending our nation. This is qualitatively different to an existential threat to our way of life by a major invasion from a major power. But who knows, maybe our day is coming?   

[10] Caitlin Johnstone 2023, On War With China, Australia Is Caught Between A Rock And A Pentagon https://caitlinjohnstone.substack.com/p/on-war-with-china-australia-is-caught

[11] Notice how friends are always governments and enemies are always regimes. Spot the propaganda. Certain terms are used to trigger an expected emotional response.  

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