30 June 2003

The wisdom of the Solomons
From the Age:
The Howard Government has been persuaded of this reality for the reason that if these peripheral states are insecure, so is Australia. Their insecurity is Australia's insecurity.

Australia is now prepared to behave as the leading power in this corner of the world to protect itself from the vulnerability of shaky, failing and failed states to the forces of international terrorism and transnational crime.

As the influential Australian Strategic Policy Institute has put it in a recent report, "Unless the quality of government in the South-West Pacific can be restored, and social and economic development resumed, we risk seeing our neighbourhood degenerate into lawless badlands, ruled more by criminals than by legitimate governments."

At worst, it means that a small island nation can be bought. Its resources, flag, passports, banks, territory and officials can all be made available to gangsters and terrorists for running drugs and weapons, training insurgents, launching atrocities, laundering money, smuggling people, dumping toxic wastes and other activities that are likely to be highly prejudicial to Australia's interests

The Solomons is clearly a case for international humanitarian intervention. This intervention will be at the request of the Solomons parliament and government and is supported by New Zealand and a consensus of Pacific nations. Hopefully, the South Pacific Forum will restrain the government's enthusiasm for sidelining the UN.

No comments: