The Guardian July 2, 2003


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".

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