In a blunt message to Australia, US warhawk Richard Armitage said that Australians were expected to die alongside Americans in the event of a conflict with China over Taiwan.
Armitage, who visited Australia recently, also threatened Australia with a backlash from Washington if it failed to lend support to the US in any future Asian conflict.
"I am not sure all of our friends here in Australia understand the significance of the alliance to Americans", Armitage is reported as saying. "For us an alliance is an obligation, if necessary, to fight and die for each other.
"We are talking on the US side (of) our sons and daughters fighting and dying if Australia comes under attack and, by the way, we are talking about Australian sons and daughters who would be willing to sacrifice their lives to help defend the United States.
"I think the overwhelming view in the United States is [that] it is hard to imagine a military action of any sort here by the United States which wouldn't in large measure also be in Australia's interest.
"I can't imagine one of the great events of our time taking place without Australian participation at some level", he said.
Just in case the Australian Government and people don't get the messageArmitage went on to say, "In the terrible event the United States was involved in a conflict, [and] it was not in [Australia's] interest to participate [at] some level, then we would have to take a look at where we are after the dust has settled."