Occupying the "Other": Australia and Military Occupations from Japan to Iraq

TitleOccupying the "Other": Australia and Military Occupations from Japan to Iraq
Publication TypeBook
Year of Publication2009
AuthorsDe Matos, Christine, and Robin Gerster
Number of Pages326
PublisherCambridge Scholars Publishing
CityNewcastle upon Tyne, U.K.

In late 1945, Australia eagerly put up its hand to join the American-led military occupation of war-devastated Japan: the old enemy was still hated, yet the Australian involvement was motivated by ideals of democratic reconstruction rather than retribution. In the age of Iraq, when Australia has again participated in a US occupation of a 'rogue' non-Western state humbled in war, it is time to consider troubling questions surrounding the nation's engagement in contentious overseas occupations. Can Western conceptions of democracy be imposed militarily on other societies? To what extent has Australia's willingness to support the United States been an expression of independent policy-making or meek acquiescence in the neocolonial imperatives of the global superpower? How do occupations differ? When does 'intervention' become 'occupation'? To what extent are entrenched cultural attitudes to race and religion a factor in decisions to occupy, and on how these occupations are perceived at home? And how has the Australian media influenced public attitudes to these ventures? This collection of essays by leading Australian academics and commentators places Australia's historical role as an occupier on the critical map. Now, as the country juggles complex national, regional and international alliances and obligations, this conversation is as compelling as it is belated.

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