In view of the sycophantic nature of Australia’s relationship with the United States over the past 60 years, I guess it was inevitable that Australia, in the absence of tough-minded governments, would eventually come to host a US military base. The North West Cape, Pine Gap and Geraldton communication facilities and joint exercises were incremental steps along that path, not to mention Korea, Vietnam, the Gulf war, Iraq and Afghanistan.
As announcements go relating to major policy change, this one was a shocker. While the rest of the world called it for what it was, the establishment of a US base, the Australian Defence Minister said it was merely an enhancement of joint exercises. Then to make matters worse, few other details were provided. We have been told that in mid next year, 250 US Marines will arrive on a six-month posting to undertake training. Over five years, that commitment will rise to 2500 Marines. That figure represents a stripped down brigade.