Mattis on U.S.-Australia Counter Terrorism Cooperation
The United States and Australia have a long history of close cooperation. In the words of Australian Minister of Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop, “We are the strongest of friends and allies. We have a shared military history going back 100 years, and today, we work as closely as two nations can operate in terms of promoting peace and stability and security.”
This is particularly true when it comes to counter terrorism. Both countries are committed to defeating ISIS in its strong-holds in Iraq and in Syria, and to preventing its spread around the world.
“[ISIS] is an enemy against all civilization. It's the reason there are 66 nations that have joined the campaign besides the Arab League, the European Union, Interpol, and NATO, and in this campaign where before we were shoving them from one town to another and just falling back, we now take the time to invest and to make certain that foreign fighters cannot escape for return to Paris, France, to Australia, to wherever they came from, and bring their message of hatred and their skills back to those places and attack innocent people,” said U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis at a recent press conference in Australia.
We will protect the innocent wherever and however we can. “But at the same time we're going to have to take that caliphate down or the attacks that you've seen going on around the world that you all have reported on will continue,” he said.
“The enemy has got to be taken out by military means where they are powerful enough to cause these attacks on others, and we can't sit idly by and let them hold it.”
Speaking later before an assembly of Australian representatives, Secretary of Defense Mattis said, “We're here to work together in a manner that protects the freedom and the values that we share together and we're committed to passing those freedoms onto the next generation intact. Relationships either get stronger or weaker — they don't stay the same, and we're here as a commitment that we are going to strengthen further a relationship that's in both our nations' best interest.”