Solomons intervention — dangerous step
A meeting held last Monday of Foreign Ministers of the countries that make up the Pacific Forum endorsed the Australian and New Zealand sponsored proposal for a police and military force to intervene in the Solomon Islands supposedly to restore "law and order". This decision will not come as any surprise. With the exception of Australia and New Zealand, the Pacific Island states are small, have very little economic or political power, and even less military strength. Furthermore, Australia over many years, has built up a core of government administrators and business connections that owe much to Australia's political and economic machine. The immediate intention is to send a contingent of about 150 Australian and New Zealand police, backed up by a military force of up to 2000 members, to the Solomon Islands. According to the blueprint for the occupation of the Solomon Islands prepared by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, the police will "impose a policy of zero tolerance for violence and intimidation, and be prepared and willing to use significant force, including lethal force, to do so." This follows the implementation by the United States, Australia and Britain of a "pre-emptive strike" policy in Afghanistan and Iraq. Needless to say, the Solomon Islands does not possess any weapons of mass destruction or chemical and biological weapons but, is at the present time, experiencing some instability. It is, according to the Australian Government a "failing state" and, therefore, qualifies to be taken over and run by an "ad hoc" administration that will be appointed by the Australian and New Zealand Governments. The approval of the governments making up the Pacific Forum and consent from either "the Solomon Islands Government or perhaps from some other highly credible group of Solomon Islanders" is to be used as the excuse for the Australian and New Zealand Governments to undertake their intervention. New aggressive foreign policy Foreign Minister Alexander Downer in an address to the National Press Club last week outlined Australia's new aggressive foreign policy. Previous foreign policy documents had asserted respect for the independence and sovereignty of Pacific Island states. This commitment has now been swept away. Downer asserted, "Outcomes are more important than blind faith in principals (sic) of non-intervention, sovereignty and multilateralism" and "we look for outcomes not just empty form and posturing". He said that, "Sovereignty in our view is not absolute" while self-righteously claiming that "Acting for the benefit of humanity is more important". Following the lead given by the Bush administration the Australian Government is moving strongly to undermine the United Nations. In the case of the Solomons it is clear that the Australian Government will do no more than "inform" the UN of its action. Downer claimed when speaking about Iraq that, "When the UN baulked, yet again, at enforcing its will, we had to decide what Australia's best policy option would be. We decided that disarming Iraq, through the use of force, would deliver the outcome that Australia and the international community required." In this case, the "international community" is limited to the US, Britain, Poland and Australia and a small number of other states that supported the military invasion of Iraq. No weapons of mass destruction The invasion and occupation, which had been decided long ago by the US leaders, took place despite the fact that the UN weapons inspectors had not found weapons of mass destruction and none have been found since the war. In what must is a grim warning to the Australian people, Alexander Downer declared that, "Our interests are global." The implication is that the Australian Government will follow the United States and Britain into any actions they may undertake in Latin America, Africa, Asia, the Middle East and even in Europe. His speech is embellished with statements such as "maverick states", "states that cheat", and "unacceptable" behaviour. Downer said that Australia "can not afford to spend time and effort on processes and institutions that are marginal to our interests" and that while "Our commitment to the WTO is unswerving, we will not allow it to deny us other trading opportunities". Disregard UN It is clear that the Australian Government does not intend to comply with the decisions of any institution — the United Nations or its agencies or even the World Trade Organisation — if they make decisions with which the Australian Government does not agree. This has already been indicated by the Government's refusal to accept the Kyoto protocols regarding global warming gas emissions or the processes adopted by the United Nations Security Council regarding Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. Downer said, "Increasingly multilateralism is a synonym for an ineffective and unfocused policy involving internationalism of the lowest common denominator". Presumably this would also apply to the Pacific Forum should this body also refuse to be cajoled into supporting the Australian Government's decisions. Downer announced the formation of a "Proliferation Security Initiative" that was formed by 11 countries meeting in Madrid in June. It is a body set up outside the United Nations and is considering "how we might together interdict and disrupt — directly if necessary — the transfer of materials to and from states suspected of developing weapons of mass destruction." This obviously follows allegations against North Korea and the attempt of the US navy to "interdict" a ship carrying missiles from North Korea to Yemen last year. Of course, this does not apply to weapons that may be shipped from the United States to Israel or any other state to which the US arms manufacturers choose to send weapons. Again indicating the unrestrained arrogance of the present Australian Government Downer concluded, "Our choice is whether we want [to] lead rather than follow the international community in responding to a new and rapidly changing international environment. I think we should lead .". In this case, Downer refers to the "international community" that he regards as employing "empty form and posturing". The Australian Government has embarked on an extremely dangerous foreign policy that will inevitably involve the use of Australian forces not only in the Iraq, Afghanistan and the Solomon Islands but in other Pacific Island states as well. Aggression, intervention and occupation are also being planned against North Korea, Iran, Syria and wherever else the coalition of aggressor states decides to go. Downer said: "The coalition's actions in Iraq [have] potentially created new strategic opportunities in the region that should be seized".