Both John Barich and, apparently, John Stone, seem to be saying – as far as I can gather – that we should make any kind of trade agreement that the US asks us for on the ground that, without giving that concession, the US will never give us the benefit of their security protection. (John Barich, Letters, News Weekly, April 12, 2008).
Leaving aside what kind of protection the US may or may not be able and/or willing to give us now or in the future, the two commentators seem to be overlooking a fundamental point.
If we can’t afford to negotiate trade deals in our own interest, why not take the next logical step? Abandon our trade department altogether, and simply ask the US what they want and then give it to them. It would certainly be quicker and easier.
For me, Mr John Howard’s legacy is to have failed to develop a skilled workforce during his 10 years in office. This will cost us dear for the next decade or two.