Representatives of groups affiliated with the Independent and Peaceful Australia Network (IPAN) met in Melbourne over the weekend of September 8-10, 2017. (MPG is an affiliate of IPAN and was represented at the conference by Nick Deane.)
Those who attended heard some well researched presentations that speakers packed with a great deal of fascinating information and argument. Highlights included:
- A/Prof David Vine (American University, Washington DC) author of Base Nation: How U.S. Military Bases Overseas are Damaging America and the World who discussed the impacts of the vast global network of U.S. military bases (800 bases in 80 nations, according to Vine);
- Prof Richard Tanter (Nautilus Institute, Melbourne) who stressed the fact that Australia’s national interests will not always co-incide with those of the USA;
- James O’Neill (Brisbane barrister), who pointed out that the US tends not to attack countries that are capable of fighting back;
- Dr Vince Scappatura (University of Sydney) who predicted that the US/Australia alliance is going to be increasingly tested;
- Dr Mike Gilligan (former Defence Department advisor) who argued that the ANZUS Treaty actually encourages self-reliance with respect to defence capability and that Australia had already attained this status.