Here we go again – joining an American military adventure created by Donald Trump, an adventure that has no end in sight.
Nobody with a sense of history and Liberal Party politics can be surprised that Prime Minister Scott Morrison is donating Royal Australian Navy and Royal Australian Air Force personnel and assets to a flashpoint created by President Trump and his cabal of warmongers.
Mr Morrison wants to focus on the broad principles of open trade routes and the importance of oil shipments through the Strait of Hormuz.
He doesn’t want to discuss or think about what created the problem: The Trump regime’s unilateral abandonment of the Iran nuclear deal and imposition of severe sanctions on Iran.
With all the arrogance of American exceptionalism in general and Mr Trump in particular, the US is using its financial power to force other nations to abide by its sanctions policy.
The US wants to cut off Iran’s lifeblood – oil exports. Iran has retaliated by threatening the oil exports of America’s Arab allies.
Who is responsible for this crisis?
And now a febrile President, a bellicose Secretary of State and a fundamentalist vice-president have whistled, and the Australian lapdog has come dutifully running yet again.
The Liberal Party has learned nothing from Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq.
Tearing up the Iran agreement, breaking America’s word, was against the advice and wishes of America’s European allies – allies that have shown much more sound judgment in the Middle East.
It undermined long years of international negotiations.
It told Iran there was no point trying to co-operate with a superpower that can’t be trusted, and whose Middle East policy is negotiated with Saudi Arabia and Israel.
The great misfortune for Iran and the rest of the world is that the agreement was finalised during the Obama administration.
A defining feature of the Trump presidency is the desire to undo anything done by President Obama – trade deals, health care, Iran, whatever.
America’s close ally, Saudi Arabia, a feudal time warp of an oppressive regime, is Iran’s implacable enemy with centuries of religious and racial divide – never mind regional competition.
While the rivals fight a proxy war in Yemen, Australia has made a political and industrial goal of increasing defence equipment sales to Saudi Arabia.
Now the Morrison government is committing Australian military to a developing crisis at only half-a-step removed from Saudi Arabia’s behest.
A feature of each of the American-led military blunders Australian governments have jumped at is the lack of any credible exit.
So poor is the Morrison government’s spin machine, is that a claim of this involvement being time-limited was immediately undermined.
“Our contribution will be limited in scope and it will be time-bound,” said Mr Morrison.
Defence Minister Linda Reynolds reportedly said Australia’s presence would last six months, “but Mr Morrison stressed the time length could be revised”.
That didn’t last long, did it?
Rather than accepting “an invitation from the United States to join a coalition of countries protecting oil tankers and cargo ships from attack by Iran”, it’s time we looked for a coalition of countries protecting the world from a capricious and unstable superpower.
When Mr Trump was elected, I naively hoped that would mean Australia would have to become genuinely independent for the first time since 1788.
Instead, it’s more of the same.