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25th Sep, 2008 03:17 (UTC)
Well first of all, the US is much further away from us than it is from you - it is 12,000 km from here to Los Angeles (as compared with 17,000 km from here to London).

There is no talk of a special relationship. Australia is officially classified by the US as a Major non-NATO ally along with fourteen other countries, including Israel, Jordan, Japan, and Argentina. And of course we are far too unimportant to have any say in what occurs, except in our own region. Outside South East Asia, Australia rates below Canada in influence. Unlike Canada, Australia is not part of the G8, and has never possessed nuclear weapons.

There is indeed a common bond of language, law, and custom, which both countries inherited from the United Kingdom; very little of this came directly from the US, so Australia resembles the UK in these regards far more. In the 20th Century, there was a growing influence of American culture through television and movies. These days, the US influence is not so much regarded as a threat to the (now atrophied) relationship with the UK.

The 20th Century also saw the growth of the trade relationship between Australia and the US. The US is the third largest destination of our exports (after Japan and China) and the largest source of our imports (ahead of China and Japan). More recent times have seen a series of trade agreements (and disagreements) between the two countries.

The military relationship, that McCain traces back to 1908, but which was put on its current footing from 1942, when the US became the first foreign country to establish an embassy in Australia. Australians and Americans fought together in both world wars, and later in Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan. A willingness to act means that we tend to agree with the US more often than most.