What the Australian/American alliance really means

Scott Burchill and Kristian Lewis, The Age, 8 January:

The only rationale left for our involvement in Afghanistan is to restore Washington’s military credibility, which was badly tarnished in Iraq. As John Howard said recently, a withdrawal from Afghanistan would be “an enormous blow to American prestige”.

For the same reasons it bombed Serbia in 1999, Washington needs to remind the world that it’s the boss. Contributing to this task is what “maintaining the alliance” now means for Australia. More than just a quid pro quo for quitting Iraq, Australia is in Afghanistan to help shine the master’s shoes.