Aussie US subservience likened to Kurds
South News July 1

New York: Rupert Murdoch, chairman of News Corporation slammed Australian subservience to the dictates of US foreign policy on Tuesday night, predicting it would lead to a disaster like CIA misled Kurds in Northern Iraq.

"If Australians think they can rely solely on their past loyalty to America, or on American resolve, they should consider the fate of the Kurds of Iraq," he said.``In my view a more assertive Australia will be a more valuable partner to America than the old fashioned supine one.''

Mr Murdoch, who became a US citizen in 1995, seemed to be having a dig at Australian UNSCOM chairman Richard Butler at a dinner marking the 50th anniversary of the American Australian Association. The richest and most influential American-Australian said it was time for Australia to scrap its "all the way with the USA" policy.

The News Corp boss said Australia should abandon its traditional role as a junior partner of America and instead attempt to exert a ``modifying balancing influence on American behaviour'' on the world stage. He urged Australia to become involved in America's debate about its relationship with China and to exert an influence on the US in its approach to South-East Asian economies.

"I leave it to the experts to decide whether the IMF's role in Indonesia was right or wrong," Mr Murdoch said. "But I wish that Australia had made its voice heard more loudly by the Americans who formulated the policies that seem to have destabilised Indonesia."

Rupert Murdoch has predicted there is "more to come" of the recent political instability and economic turmoil in Asia, warning there is a risk of a trade war on a scale not seen since the Great Depression.

"Should the currencies of the region deteriorate further, as they well might, and America's trade deficit soar as a result, we may, or we will, see a trade war and a wave of protectionism on a scale that we have not seen since the Great Depression," he said.

In an address in New York last night Mr Murdoch said: "This is a tremendously dangerous time. We are dealing here with more than a normal currency crisis." The chairman and chief executive of News Corporation said the consequences of a further decline in Asian currencies could be dire.