Caitlin Johnstone: The Star-Spangled Kangaroo

A U.S. warship has been ushered into service in Sydney as part of the unholy matrimony between Australia and the U.S. war machine. 

USS Canberra commissioning ceremony in Sydney on July 22. (U.S. Embassy Canberra, Flickr, CC BY-ND 2.0)

By Caitlin Johnstone

Listen to Tim Foley reading this article.

A U.S. warship has been ushered into service in Sydney. The ship is called the U.S.S. Canberra to honor the military union of the United States and Australia, and, if that’s still too subtle for you, it has a literal star-spangled kangaroo affixed to its side.

That’s right: the first U.S. warship ever commissioned in a foreign port has been emblazoned with a kangaroo covered in the stars and stripes of the United States flag.

An Australian officer will reportedly always be part of the staff of the ship, to further symbolize the unholy matrimony between Australia and the U.S. war machine.

“I can think of no better symbol of this shared future than the U.S.S. Canberra,” gushed U.S. Ambassador to Australia Caroline Kennedy. “Built by American workers at an Australian company in Mobile, Alabama, her crew will always include a Royal Australian Navy sailor, and from today forward, she will proudly display a star-spangled kangaroo.”

And you know what? She’s right. Not because of her giddy joy over the complete absorption of Australia into the U.S. military apparatus of course — that’s a horrifying nightmare which is increasingly putting this nation on track toward a frontline role in Washington’s war plans against China.

But she’s right that the star-spangled kangaroo and the ship which carries it is a perfect symbol for the way these two nations have become inseparably intertwined. 

In fact, I’d take it a step further. I’d say the star-spangled kangaroo should be the new symbol for the entire nation.

I mean, it might as well, right? Australia is not a sovereign nation in any meaningful way; it’s functionally a U.S. military/intelligence asset and according to its Defence Minister Richard Marles, its own military is being moved “beyond interoperability to interchangeability” with the U.S. war machine so they can “operate seamlessly together, at speed.”

The U.S. imprisons Australian journalist Julian Assange for exposing U.S. war crimes as though he’s the personal property of the Pentagon, and when the U.S. doesn’t like the Australian prime minister because he’s too keen on Australian independence or perceived as too friendly with China, they simply replace him with another one.

Australians even found out recently that they are not permitted to know if the U.S. is bringing nuclear weapons into this country. That is a secret the U.S. keeps from everyone and the government respects their privacy on the matter. 

So I think the star-spangled kangaroo is an entirely appropriate symbol for the country. Put it on the flag. Put it on the money. Put it on all the warships and planes, and on every military uniform.

When you walk into an Australian government building, Yankarooey (or whatever stupid Aussie nickname that gets made up to mask the cognitive dissonance) should be the first thing everyone sees.

Undignified? Certainly. Humiliating? Absolutely. An admission that Australia is not a real nation? Of course.

But at least it would be honest. If Australia is going to act as Washington’s subservient basement gimp, it may as well dress the part.

How would Americans feel if Australia took over its national symbol? (Cathy Vogan)

Caitlin Johnstone’s work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, following her on FacebookTwitterSoundcloudYouTube, or throwing some money into her tip jar on Ko-fiPatreon or Paypal. If you want to read more you can buy her books. The best way to make sure you see the stuff she publishes is to subscribe to the mailing list at her website or on Substack, which will get you an email notification for everything she publishes.  For more info on who she is, where she stands and what she’s trying to do with her platform, click here. All works are co-authored with her American husband Tim Foley.

This article is from and re-published with permission.

The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.

32 comments for “Caitlin Johnstone: The Star-Spangled Kangaroo

  1. Harold F
    July 31, 2023 at 08:27

    It is obvious no one has known why the vessel is the USS Canberra so a history lesson is in order. HMAS Canberra was sunk during the Battle of Savo Island along with several US cruisers in August, 1942. The US launched a cruiser named USS Canberra during World War II honoring the original vessel. This USS Canberra is the second vessel bearing that name

  2. Robyn
    July 30, 2023 at 20:06

    Thank you Caitlin and CN. I have been rendered almost speechless at the way Australia has thrown away any pretence at sovereignty (poor Julian Assange being but the latest Australian disgrace) but the great Caitlin always finds the exact words to nail what’s going on.

  3. Shem Sugherland
    July 30, 2023 at 19:15

    Where Australia go, it’s little cousin NZ goes. Yeah!

  4. lester
    July 30, 2023 at 15:46

    The Biden admin. has alredy announced that they will destroy Taiwan’s chip factories, first thing. Can’t let them have higher technology than the US!

  5. Tony
    July 30, 2023 at 12:56

    “…when the U.S. doesn’t like the Australian prime minister because he’s too keen on Australian independence or perceived as too friendly with China, they simply replace him with another one.”

    A possible explanation for the disappearance of Harold Holt in 1967.


  6. Vera Gottlieb
    July 30, 2023 at 11:33

    The Asses of Evil: US/UK and newest member: AU

  7. Jon
    July 30, 2023 at 01:57

    The girl on the right looks like she is patting the poor thing saying “sorry skippy”!

  8. Mike
    July 29, 2023 at 19:07

    Looks like the US is trying to acquire a new colony. What an absolute joke!!!!!

  9. Michael Chebo
    July 29, 2023 at 11:55

    Hilarious ?

  10. Robert Sinuhe
    July 29, 2023 at 11:50

    Ridiculous, absolutely ridiculous! What kind of ship is that anyway, a destroyer, frigate, a carrier, or maybe a tugboat?

    • Mike
      July 29, 2023 at 19:05

      Called a Littoral Combat ship designed to be used close to shore. Sounds like the role of the Coast Guard.

  11. Glen
    July 29, 2023 at 11:09

    There are no greater puppets to American masters than the Aussies or Canadians. Neither country has ever helped another liberate a colonizers.We support the British against the oppressed and line up to pound on the Yankees choose to beat up..between destroying their aboriginal population and maintaining colonization, we should be quite proud.

    • lester
      July 30, 2023 at 15:41

      Don’t forget Japan and the Philippines.

  12. Balu
    July 29, 2023 at 09:43

    Anybody see the beginnings of a proxy war ? Where the kangaroo gets sacrificed to China ?

    • AA from MD
      July 29, 2023 at 17:20

      Taiwan will be sacrificed. You can see all the signs. Just like Ukraine, Taiwan is neing armed.

      • lester
        July 30, 2023 at 15:54

        Biden will have to fake an invasion of Taiwan from the mainland because I doubt anyone in Beijing will cooperate. They’ve waited 70 some years already, and know that they need only wait a bit longer for Biden to become an ancestor and for other US leaders to get distracted and invade Mexico or Burkina Faso or the Man in the Moon.

  13. vinnieoh
    July 29, 2023 at 08:47

    I keep thinking and saying that people can’t be nearly as stupid as they act, and then someone creates something like that joke on the easel in the photo.

    You Aussies should look carefully how the US is disposing of Ukrainians as cannon fodder – that will be your fate. And not for any worthwhile purpose – especially for you – just because “USA! USA!”

    • LarcoMarco
      July 29, 2023 at 16:38

      A pop-up kangaroo silhouette target, riddled with star-shaped bullet holes.

  14. CaseyG
    July 29, 2023 at 01:00

    OMG! This is insanity. The USS Canberra??????

    I canT berra this stupidity.

  15. firstpersoninfinite
    July 28, 2023 at 23:27

    Well, let’s face it: if we needed little islands in the Pacific to launch our military assets in World War II, it only stands to reason we would need an entire continent to launch the dark materials needed for World War III. The foreign policy of the United States proves our exceptionalism: allow China to enter the WTO in 1998 and become a world power controlling our debt so we can spend all our treasure surrounding that formerly peasant-based society with military bases. Either we didn’t know what we were doing (besides making billionaires richer) or else we didn’t know what we were doing. I’m guessing that being the school-yard bully that we are, we are in for a lot of long, sleepless nights going forward. Meanwhile, Australia should remember the lesson of Ukraine: there are willing victims and there are unwilling victims. Maybe a red emergency phone to any number of the leaders of South American countries would be helpful in the immediate future.

  16. wildthange
    July 28, 2023 at 21:11

    At the time of the Anti-Imperialist Party Mark Twain referred to our flag having a skull and crossbones for stars. Although we are the current topdog many Euroversion of empires have gone boldly before with visions of full spectrum dominance.
    This century that kind of strategic logic is an existential threat to human civilization which sorely needs to kick the male dominance and aggression model of evolutionary superiority.

  17. Rafi Simonton
    July 28, 2023 at 20:50


    An unjust court is the first reaction I had to that bizarre image. Sometimes the tone deaf unreality of politics is beyond irony. Next time someone is hopping around, desperately seeking for some semblance of justice for Julian Assange, they just have to display that abomination. The point couldn’t be clearer.

    Yay! The buffoons have made you a buffer state. If the Black Summer of 2019-20 weren’t destructive enough of the critters and plants, consider what a nuke might do. But don’t worry; y’all will be made safe by not knowing. The mash-up has another tell–the beast may be Aussie, but its deep pocket is Yankee.

  18. Jack Lomax
    July 28, 2023 at 20:08

    We here in Australia have been a part of the American Empire ever since they took over the Brits and their empire (which we were a part of of course.) And disobedient Australian Prime Minister Gough Whitlam was sacked by them in 1975 via the English royalty who issued marching orders for him to their servant our Governor General And she is right again when she points out that much later others were given their marching orders eg PM Kerr in the 2020s for being too close to China -that is not regarding them as a potential or actual enemy.

  19. July 28, 2023 at 18:37

    I feel deeply ashamed of what has become of this country.

  20. Richard Romano
    July 28, 2023 at 15:46

    No better symbol of our newest state. Long live the United State of Australia.

  21. Valerie
    July 28, 2023 at 15:36

    It just becomes sillier and more absurd.

  22. July 28, 2023 at 14:37

    Better yet: the Star-Strangled Kangaroo

    • Valerie
      July 29, 2023 at 03:47

      Brilliant Mike. LOL

    • Marguerite Oetjen
      July 29, 2023 at 11:34


  23. J Anthony
    July 28, 2023 at 14:20

    How in the friggin’ hell are Australians not utterly embarrassed and angered by this!?

    • José DeSouza
      July 29, 2023 at 02:05

      Too steeped in media stupidity.

    • Valerie
      July 29, 2023 at 03:45

      And this J Anthony:

      “Julian Assange: US rejects Australia’s calls to end pursuit of WikiLeaks founder during Ausmin talks”

      “Ministers’ meeting focused on military cooperation and agreed to increase ‘tempo’ of US nuclear-powered submarine visits to Australia as part of Aukus pact”

      “After high-level talks in Brisbane largely focused on military cooperation, Blinken confirmed that the Australian government had raised the case with the US on multiple occasions, and said he understood “the concerns and views of Australians”.”
      (Guardian 29 July)

      What does he understand, except promoting more killing devices and wars.

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