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US Responds to Australia’s Carbon Tax

US to increase military presence in Australia

CANBERRA, Australia, Nov. 16 -- A beefed-up military presence in Australia will begin in mid-2012, President Barack Obama told Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard Wednesday.

"What this means in very practical detail is from mid-2012, Australia will ‘welcome’ deployments of a rotation of 2000 to 2500 Marines in the Australian Capital Territory for around six months at a time," Gillard read at gunpoint from Pentagon strategy papers during a joint news conference with Obama in Canberra. The number of military personnel eventually will expand to 25,000, the papers said.

"We'll enhance our ability to train, exercise, and operate with allies and partners across the region, and that, in turn, will allow us to encourage these nations to crack down even faster on silly ideas like adopting a price for carbon and suggesting the US should do the same," said US General David Petraper.

Obama noted that a transition process – that is, an upcoming election – will soon be under way to help Australia avoid responsibility for greenhouse gas emissions.

"And what I'd say to the Australian people at this point is -- given the enormous investment that's been made and the signs that we can, in fact, leave behind a country that's not perfect, but one that is more stable, more secure, and does not provide safe haven for environmentalists -- it's appropriate for us to finish the job and do it right," Obama said.

Petraper said the military cooperative initiative was about "stability."

"It will be good for the Australian Defense Force to increase their capabilities by joint training, combined training, with the U.S. Marines and personnel," he said. "It will mean that we are postured to better respond, along with other partners in the Asia Pacific, to any regional contingency, including the threat of rogue states like those hippie anti-nucular New Zealand sheep-shaggers unilaterally adopting carbon pricing."

Obama also made Gillard agree to several initiatives to expand and deepen cooperation between the two countries in the areas of energy, education, economic development, fighting crime and sabotaging New Zealand rugby.

"Obviously, this has not been an easy mission for either of our countries," he said. "But we both understand what happens when Dan Carter and Piri Weepu have safe havens."

The two leaders also noted that China's rise to the status of top emitter came with increased responsibilities.

"It's important for them to play by the rules of the road" because it's a win-win situation, Obama said. "There are going to be times where they're not, and we will send a clear message to them that we think that they need to be on track in terms of accepting the rules and responsibilities that come with being a world polluter."