Fair Dinkum, … an original essay in response to A Note from Darini Rajasingham (reproduced below) … but with highlights imposed by The Editor, Thuppahi
Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare’s statement that a country intends to invade Solomon Islands is political rhetoric directed at Australia in response to some of the outrageous criticisms against him by Australia over a new security agreement between China and the Solomon Islands. In his criticism of Australia, Sogavare is more than just irritated by US and Australian criticisms of the deal. He is angry, insulted, and deeply disappointed with Australia’s response to the security agreement. In deciphering his comments, we can see Australia’s relationship with the Solomon Islands is on the verge of being destroyed.
Sogavare’s “invasion” threat statement refers to an outrageous statement made by an Australian security expert who demanded Australia “must” invade the Solomon Islands, topple its government, and install a new government that would comply with Australia’s demands to tear up its security agreement with China and sign a new security agreement with Australia. Some Australian commentators jumped on the bandwagon in support of Australia invading the Solomon Islands. Sogavare has good reasons to strongly condemn Australia and it is not surprising that he has used such harsh language. If a security expert in another country had called for the immediate invasion of Australia, and to topple the Morrison government, tear up the AUKUS agreement and instil a new government, we would expect our Prime Minister to respond in the same manner. In fact, he would very likely declare war on any nation making such threats.
In calling for “a calm response”, Morrison is behaving like a benevolent father figure watching over the Solomon Islands, to pacify its Prime Minister. Morrison cannot respond in any other way because if he were to continue criticizing the Solomon Islands over its security agreement with China, he would only inflict further damage on the already strained relationship between Australia and the Solomon Islands. His call for calmness – which is disingenuous at best – is a pathetic attempt to salvage something of the relationship
Some weeks ago, we witnessed a significant number of Australian media commentators vomiting out a vast load disinformation on to the Australian public claiming China would have a military base on the Solomon Islands within four weeks, and that China would be pouring troops into the island in preparation for the May elections in Australia. None of these things have happened. There is no evidence whatsoever to substantiate these claims, and it is clear this disinformation campaign was mounted by the Australian government. Its purpose was not to provide accurate information to Australians, but rather to use disinformation to instil fear into the Australian public over China. Now that these claims are proven to be false, the Australian government will no doubt devise a fresh set of disinformation stories to keep alive their anti-China fearmongering campaign.
Given Australia’s extreme hostility towards the China-Solomon Islands security agreement, which is a blatant interference into the Solomon Islands, I can well understand why China and the Solomon Islands decided to keep the agreement confidential. Governments have a right to keep agreements confidential or secret and they always do. Agreements made by the Australian federal government and all state governments with other parties are always confidential, which is normal business practice.
Another important issue concerns the way Australian leaders have suddenly invoked the idea of Australia being part of the “Pacific family”. A few years ago, there was a raging debate in Australia over how our European values were gradually being lost and needed to be revitalized throughout the nation. Academic institutions were criticised for being “Marxist” because they were too critical of Western colonial history.
I can remember the likes of John Howard, Tony Abbott, and the cheerleaders at The Australian, calling for a new Western Civilization Centre to be established at ANU. Its aim would be to educate Australians into understanding and loving their European heritage as part of the European family. Back then, no one spoke about Australia belonging to a “Pacific family”. Indeed, to do so at the time would have invoked the rath of Western civilisation cheerleaders at The Australian.
We rarely hear Australians talk about this country being part of a “Pacific family”. Australia’s consciousness is deeply embedded in the womb of Western culture, especially American and European culture. It was only after China and the Solomon Islands signed a security agreement that Australia suddenly announced it was part of the “Pacific family.
Australia is in a state of perpetual confusion as to which family it belongs. It wants to belong to “the American family”, “the European family” and “the Western family” far more than to “the Asian family” or “the Pacific family”. Australia needs to decide whether its national identity and national interests will be shaped by a Pacific and Asian consciousness or continue to be shaped by a European-American one. Australia can’t have it both ways. It certainly can’t do so for national security reasons. What is abundantly clear to any rational thinking person is that Australia has become a vassal state of America and Western hegemony. No amount of invoking the “Pacific family” idea will change this fact unless there is a radical change in Australia’s consciousness as to where it belongs.
An EMAIL NOTE from Darini Rajasingham-Senanayake, 5 May 2022, in reaction to Australian PM urges calm after Solomons leader cites ‘invasion’ threat (msn.com)