Asia does not recognise the United States as the chief international policeman in Asia and the question of Australia arrogating to itself the role as United Statesí deputy international policeman for Asia is not only the height of arrogance but completely misplaced and unwelcome to Asians.
Howard has drawn the wrong conclusion from Australiaís peacekeeping role in East Timor. Australia is heading the International Force for East Timor (Interfet) not because it was delegated by the United States but as a result of the decisions of the United Nations Security Council and the United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan.
The Howard Doctrine smacks of a resurrection of "White Manís Burden"
to save humanity, especially when Howard claimed that Australia
"has a particular responsibility to do things above and beyond in
this part of the world" as America's "deputy" in the region.
Howard said: "We have been seen by countries, not only in the region but around the world, as being able to do something that probably no other country could do, because of the special characteristics we have, because we occupy that special place -- we are a European, Western civilization with strong links with North America, but here we are in Asia."
Howard also said that Australia planned to be a "participant on our own terms" in Asia and would spend less time worrying about fitting in as Australian foreign policy had "spent too much time fretting about whether we were in Asia, or part of Asia, or whatever. We should be ourselves in Asia."
If Australia wants to be part of Asia, closer to Asian countries and play a greater role in Asian affairs, then it should forget about the Howard Doctrine as Asians do not want any form of resurrection of "White Manís Burden"; as the task to save mankind is not just the responsibility of white men but peoples of all colours.
Australia must prove that it is not going to be an agent of the United States but would be a modest and responsible international team player in the new international search for the internationalisation of peace-keeping roles in trouble spots, whether in Asia or other parts of the world.
Australia is not welcome as a deputy, delegate or proxy of the United States which fancies itself as the international policeman, but only as a member of an international peacekeeping process decided not by the United States but by the international community in the United Nations.
By enunciating the arrogant and conceited Howard Doctrine, John Howard would have done more than any previous Australian Prime Minister to damage Australiaís relations with Asia since the White Australia immigration policy was abolished in the sixties.