June 26, 2006 [LINK]

Australia: Our pals "Down Under"

In Friday's Washington Post, Charles Krauthammer lauded our most loyal ally over the past century, Australia. Its troops have fought alongside ours in every major war, including Korea, Vietnam, Kuwait, Afghanistan, and Iraq. Krauthammer highlights the cultural and strategic reasons for this close partnership: Both countries were settled by rough-hewn frontiersman with a disdain for social pretense, and most people in both countries understand that their long-term security depends on the maintenance of a pluralistic world order that promotes free trade. Ever since World War II, Australians have had a keener sense of foreign security threats than Americans, mainly for geographical reasons. They live much closer to tumult and violence than we do, as the 2002 terrorist bombings in Bali reminded everyone.

Unfortunately, Australia was eliminated from the World Cup today, losing to Italy, 1-0. It was only the Aussies' second appearance in the World Cup.

U.N. Security Council members

Motivated in part by the flurry of global security controversies that have arisen recently (i.e., Iran, North Korea, and Venezuela), I have finished yet another background chronology page: U.N. Security Council. It dates back to 1990, the onset of the post-Cold War Era when the ideal of collective security first became a practical reality. Indeed, it was tested almost immediately by Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait. Only two of the 15 member countries voted against military action to liberate Kuwait: Cuba and Yemen; China abstained. That chronological table is color-coded according to region, and the customary rotational pattern is readily discernible. To my surprise, I learned that Australia has not been a member since 1985-1986.