Double Standards: What’s Evil In Ukraine Is Apparently Good For The Solomon Islands.

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THERE HAS TO BE something wrong with us. It’s the only explanation that makes sense. Some sickness of mind and spirit that blinds us to our own extraordinary hypocrisy. The hypocrisy on display in relation to the Solomon Islands’ proposed security agreement with the Chinese is, however, beyond astounding. Indeed, with the attention of the world focused so intently on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the reaction of our own government, and those of New Zealand’s friends and allies, is scarcely believable.

What is it, after all, that the entire Western World is denouncing in Ukraine? Is it not the idea, expounded by the Russians, that Ukraine is located within the Russian Federation’s sphere of influence, and that its oft-expressed desire to join Nato constitutes a clear and present threat to Russia’s national security?

Have not the Russians repeatedly denounced the extension of Nato’s military reach to the very borders of their Federation? Do they not present this as conclusive evidence of the West’s predatory designs upon the national territory and resources of the Russian state?

And has not the West rejected Russia’s claims? Most particularly, has it not rejected the notion that it is any longer acceptable to speak about nations having “spheres of influence”? Is the West’s vehement condemnation of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine not based upon the principle that nation states have an inalienable right to determine their own destinies?

The governments of all the Western powers, including our own, are doing everything within their power, short of actually joining the conflict, to support Ukraine, and to punish the Russian Federation for violating the territorial integrity and national sovereignty of an independent nation state and United Nations member by an act of military aggression.

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The Australian Government has been loud in its condemnation of Russia – as has its news media – and yet, just a few days ago, the following opinions were given wide coverage by the Rupert Murdoch-owned News.com.au under the headline: “Australia ‘must ready Solomon Islands invasion’ to stop China security deal”. 

According to David Llewellyn-Smith, publisher of MacroBusiness and former owner of The Diplomat, a journal dedicated to Asia-Pacific affairs, the coming into full effect of the proposed security pact between the Solomon Islands and the Peoples Republic of China would mean  “the effective end of [Australia’s] sovereignty and democracy”.

“There is no way that Australia can allow this deal to proceed” wrote Llewellyn-Smith. “If it must, the nation should invade and capture Guadalcanal such that we engineer regime change in Honiara. There are other soft power levers to pull first and we should pull them forcefully. But we should also immediately begin amassing an amphibious invasion force to add pressure.”

If it was put to Llewellyn-Smith that his own reasoning is identical to that of Vladimir Putin, he would, almost certainly, reject the comparison. And yet, he is proposing to engineer regime change in the Solomon Island’s capital, Honiara, by invading and capturing Guadalcanal – the island in which the city is situated. The difference between Llewellyn-Smith’s proposal and Putin’s attempts to engineer regime change by invading Ukraine and capturing its capital city, Kyiv, is extremely difficult to discern.

And, just in case, we feel tempted to dismiss these sentiments as the rantings of yet another bellicose Australian pundit, with which that increasingly belligerent country seems infested, New Zealand’s very own Professor Anne Marie Brady has told RNZ’s “Mid-Day Report” host, Māni Dunlop, that: “the draft agreement to station military forces on Solomon Islands could see the South Pacific cut off and encircled by Chinese forces.” 

Brady’s interview reveals just how deeply the instincts of Western imperialism are embedded in New Zealand’s foreign affairs community. According to the University of Canterbury professor, the Solomon Islands represent a “failed state”, riddled with corruption and Chinese influence-peddling, problems with which, in spite of 14 years of Australian and New Zealand military occupation in the guise of the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI) its political class is still plagued. Accordingly, it can only benefit from stepped-up “assistance” from its Australian and New Zealand “friends”.

Like a good Kiwi, Brady shies away from Llewellyn-Smith’s call for a return to the gunboat diplomacy of the Nineteenth century. But, quite how the deal with China can be stopped short of resorting to the use of force and/or rampant Anzac influence-peddling and corruption, the professor does not say.

What makes Brady’s intervention even more interesting is her connections with a research-project-cum-think-tank known as SSANSE – “Small States and the New Security Environment”. As The Daily Blog noted back in May 2020,   SSANES was/is based in Iceland and was/is at least partially funded by Nato. Brady’s assessment of New Zealand’s strategic predicament back in 2020 was nothing if not dramatic:

“The global environment has not been so challenging for New Zealand since 1942 when British forces in Singapore, who were New Zealand’s shield, fell to the advance of the Japanese. New Zealand must now face up to the national security risk of the Covid-19 outbreak. The current situation poses a risk not only to New Zealand, but collectively, for our Pacific, Five Eyes and NATO partners, as well as like-minded states who uphold the international rules-based order.”

That “international rules-based order” is, presumably the same order which has encouraged the rest of the world to declare economic war on the Russian Federation in retaliation for its illegal invasion of Ukraine. Only time will tell whether that very same order will demand the imposition of equally swingeing sanctions on Australia and New Zealand should they “invade and capture Guadalcanal” in order to secure “regime change in Honiara.” Since neither Canberra nor Wellington would dare contemplate such an action without the endorsement of “our Pacific, Five Eyes and NATO partners”, it is reasonably safe to conclude that it would not.

It might be wise, however, for the likes of Llewellyn-Smith and Brady to ask themselves whether China might not be playing an extremely clever game here. Thinking about it, what better demonstration of Western hypocrisy could there be than a frankly imperialist and racist re-imposition of Five Eyes control in Honiara to protect the English-speaking people’s “sphere of influence” in the Pacific?

How much easier could the West make it for China to convince all those nations on the receiving end of the “international rules-based order” that its rules are meant for “thee” but not for “me”? That while it is an unconscionable violation of international law to invade the territory of people whose skins are white; it is no more than an act of friendship to invade and capture the islands of people whose skins are brown.

41 COMMENTS

  1. “….Is it not the idea, expounded by the Russians, that Ukraine is located within the Russian Federation’s sphere of influence, and that its oft-expressed desire to join Nato constitutes a clear and present threat to Russia’s national security?”

    Nato is already closer to Russia than Ukraine. Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia border Russia already. That Ukraine is to be a buffer zone between Russia and the European Union (the evil western democracies) is no argument.

    “Russian Federation’s sphere of influence” WOW how colonial is that statement! People in the Ukraine are free to chose who to be friends with. Ukraine, as a free and democratic entity is allowed to choose its friends as it’s people see fit. Be that EU, NATO, Russia or the shape-shifting extraterrestrial reptilian humanoids that invade earth from the dark side of the moon.

    It is not Russia’s entitlement to define who the Ukrainians friends may or may not be.

    That is as bad as your hypocrisy argument in regards Australia and New Zealand’s calling out the Solomon Islanders in freely choosing their friends.

    Russia “wealth” is slowly being taken over by the suitcase invasion from China and southern Muslim states. The “west” does not defend Ukraine on the basis of taking over Russia. It is defending Russia colonial expansion westwards as the Russian east is slowly lost to the Chinese.

    Worth a read;

    https://www.geopoliticalmonitor.com/was-china-betting-on-russian-defeat-all-along/

    “However, a Russian defeat, which still seems to be possible, especially if it comes at the end of a prolonged war of attrition, significantly weakening Russia and isolating it from the West at the same time, would put it in a position where it would hardly have any other choice but to become a junior partner in a Sino-Russian alliance, if not a mere satellite of China. “

  2. Thank you so much Martyn Bradbury for this article. NZers are being whipped into an anti-Russian frenzy without access (in NZ) to the context and reason for what is indeed a criminal preemptive invasion of Ukraine. Just as the NZ msm are blocked from reporting on the persecution of Palestinians and the cruel psychological torture of Assange by a corrupt UK judiciary at the behest of the US – we are now being fed the US manipulation of truth re Ukraine.

    • Lynne, There might be some justification for Russia to be pissed off with the politics in the Ukraine and Nato have been a percieved threat to Russia, and some territories have a Russian background but that’s not what the hysteria is about is it. It’s about the way Putin has needlessly killed civilians and destroyed residential areas. Russia has no claim to the whole of the Ukraine. only in Putin’s head. In my opinion Nato would never make a strike on Russia. As the situation was before Putin’s strike why would they. They new Putins intensions that’s. why they were there.

      • Today I watched a video that has gone viral. Ukrainian soldiers probably Azov Nazi goons took Russian prisoners, put bags on their heads, shot them in the legs, and then kicked their heads as the bled to death.

  3. Not the same. Considering the latest riots in the Solomon Islands the majority there don’t want China the same as the majority of people In the Ukraine don’t want Russia.

  4. There’s footage going around on social media of Ukrainian soldiers hauling captured Russian soldiers out of vehicles and then shooting them in the legs at point blank range. Now imagine if it was the other way around and the Russians were the ones kneecapping people.

    There is evil on all sides

    It’s not hypocrisy with what the west are doing, it is worse than that: it is dishonesty and calculated deceit

    • Well the Russians could go home if they don’t like it. At least they make it personal and don’t drop faceless bombs on women and children

  5. Poland got sanctioned by the EU for not being Gender Woo and liberal enough. Never mind the 1.5 + million refugees. Is the west fucked, yes Virginia, the West is fucked beyond believe, and yes, the west is hypocritical.

  6. This was Damien Grant’s point on “The Working Group” last night too.

    Indeed there is a double-standard thing going on here. Our interference in another country’s affairs for our own interests is similar to Russia in Ukraine. In that sense the hypocrisy is pretty blinding.

    But it is messier than this. Underneath the idea of equivalence are at least two things.

    One is equivalence of actual conduct. The Chinese are trying to bribe their way out of opposition to the not-yet-done deal. We are diplomatically tut-tutting. Telling people one’s views is ubiquitous. But we are not using force in the Solomons to prevent them doing as they will, and it isn’t conceivable we will.

    Another is an unstated position of morally equivalent values between the “west” and “east”. There’s always been a current in left politics that the west is no better than the east. This isn’t a good path to go down – it only gets us to “might is right”. There is no doubt the Americans, supposed torch bearers of our values, have messed up basically everything foreign policy wise particularly since 2001. Guantanamo, Iraq, Afghanistan, etc etc. Disgusting.

    But for all that, and for all our other failures, we need to have the confidence to say it quite simply: “our values are better”. They just are.

    I think once you do that, some of the equivalence stuff goes away. Our position and actions on the Solomons is about the best future for its people and ours.

    • “Our values are better”. Bullshit in a word . Just look a bit closer and you will see the Americans have no values that are inviolable. Theirs is an empire of lies.

      • Thanks, G. Obviously I agree that the Americans have their (severe) problems, as mentioned. But their problems in upholding the values I’m talking don’t invalidate the values themselves. Things like commitments to freedom of expression, sanctity of life, free and fair elections with universal suffrage by secret ballot, the rule of law and not of men, etc etc. Are these things seriously ‘bullshit’? Or does the BS lie in the fact we move towards these things but always fail in their perfect achievement? If the latter, sounds a bit utopian aye. Be interested in any further thoughts

        • Hi Brenty. The simple answer is that America lost it’s way many years ago by subverting everything to the military/ industrial complex which had managed to wrest total control. This was even before WW2.

    • “we need to have the confidence to simply lie and assert: “our values are better”. They just are.”

      That reads more realistically.

      • Hi Richard

        I see where you’re coming from, but I disagree. The issue – which you frame as a ‘lie’ – is that we don’t achieve perfection in the pursuit of our stated values, with things like corruption motivated by selfishness running deep in many places, and the legacies of past wrongs lingering.

        But an expectation of perfect achievement isn’t realistic. What’s important is vigourous pursuit. I would agree that stuff like our obscene inequality brings into question whether we do or do not genuinely pursue our stated values. And that is immensely damaging, because people (you and G?) stop believing in them, rather than in the means of pursuing them. So for me I can only say it again: our values are better. They just are. This is not to say our methods of moving towards them – our economic system, identity politics and other things – are working well. Which is why we a coherent left both to reassert its belief in these values and to put an alternative programme together to get us towards them.

  7. Soft geopolitical influence, the Chinese Navy will be able to work closely with the Chinese Fishing Fleets in the Pacific ?

    • Yep they need a well maintained route to the Pacific’s fishing grounds and onward to South America for the rest of their protein. It’s all about food which China doesn’t have. But NZ is too stupid to understand that that is what makes us rich and why we should be calling the shots when trading with China.
      Solomons to replace the Port they lost in Samoa of course.
      China is a bully Chris. Fuck em!

  8. All this braindead western mass hysteria simply points to fact that our once great western civilization is in it’s death throes. For a long time I’ve been ashamed of being a thinking citizen of the west & this condition just gets worse everyday. Surely it’s not wrong to dream of a day when our pathetically childish little nation of globalist lapdogs throws off it’s shackles, & blazes it’s own unique trail in our God forsaken world. When will we ever realize it’s better to lead & die on our feet than to grovel & live on our knees. Today’s world is run by blind, stupid, greedy, arrogant & hypocritical fools & we travel with it.

  9. You’ve hit the nail on the head again Chris. But, really, where does it all get us? Those that need to get this message, and so many others published on TDB, are prevented from receiving it, and so nothing changes, Until the MSM is confronted for failing in its responsibility for its duty of care to the truth, nothing will change.

  10. we are russia in this situation* self determination is a thing or it isn’t…simples

    *actually OZ will be ‘russia’ in this NZ really doesn’t matter, we’re just obedient puppies

  11. You should know by now @ Chris that this kind and transformational government is made up from a number of foreskins that are champions of the double standard and the unintended consequence.
    It won’t be long though before they’re going to have to check their fundamentals if only because there is a series of headwinds on the horizon that could result in a perfect storm in this political space, going forward.
    All ‘on the back of’ an electorate that’s experiencing something that’s completely different from what their elected representatives are capable of seeing (often based on advice from their sheilded ;officials)

    It could even take till ’26, tho’ hopefully not.
    God! how I wish my aspirations as a kid had tended towards being an ‘influencer’ than a jet pilot.

  12. To be consistent with the bourgeois doctrine of self-determination of nations, both Ukraine and the Solomon Islands have the democratic right to elect governments mandated to break or form ties with other nations. This was the right demanded by the rising bourgeoisies as they became the ruling classes in the transition to capitalism. However, while these rights were always held as sacrosanct in reality they were never observed. As capitalism overflowed the limits of national markets (inevitable as capital must expand or die), the stronger nations colonised the weaker nations until the world was divided between the big powers and their ‘spheres of influence’. This has led, several world depressions and wars later, to the current situation in which the US bloc and their client states (NATO, ANZUS etc) is in a zero-sum fight to the death with the Russia/China bloc and their client states (BRICs, SCO etc).

    The fate of semi-colonies (politically independent by economically oppressed) and colonies (still ruled by imperialist powers), is to be occupied, partitioned, and turned into client states of whichever great power wins the political, economic and military wars. So it has always been impossible for colonies and semi-colonies to realise their right to self-determination within the framework of global capitalism. Self-determination today, as it has been since the turn of the 20th century, is only possible as the result of socialist revolution where the working masses impose their ‘workers democracy’ by overthrowing the ruling classes, ending imperialist wars, and allowing the right of self-determination of all peoples to be realised through political and economic unions or federations of socialist states.

  13. This was all avoidable. Australia and NZ might have looked harder at the welfare of their backyards and acted accordingly. Chickens to roost comes to mind.

  14. and the phrase ‘oh shit our faux morality is exactly that faux morality’ comes to mind second, followed by ‘quick look for spurious reasons to justify what we were against last week’ coming in a close 3rd

  15. this article made me “roll my eyes”.

    You’re talking as if Eastern Europeans are some sort of pampered minority in England & colonies.

    When in fact, some (not all, I met many wonderful kiwis) kiwis still suffer from oggs-iitis, or view Eastern Europe as some sort of geographic accident, which unfairly makes them (the nerve on them!) consider themselves equal to North-Western Europe.

  16. I don’t believe history will paint your picture. Not saying we are without blame but we’ve all seen the Chinese MO over the last few decades in places like Mozambique. Look over here – a new port – just don’t look too closely at all the fish protein being vacuumed out of your seas. Look a new railway – just don’t look too closely at all the rainforest on the wagons. Like I said – we’ve done similar in the past but now it’s just gauche, yet you’re happy to still wish it upon them in the name of freedom. Let’s see how that freedom looks in 15 years with ongoing unrest, secessionist ambitions, but now under the sights of Chinese assault rifles.
    As for the Aussies and their grandstanding – hardly Putin, although a few battlegroups in the area could stir things up.

  17. billd as I frequently say the chinese are capitalists par exellelence..but not ‘imperial’ they prefer to control via money rather than invasion…that may change if the chinese economy tightens but they don’t demand regime change and bring benefits to a country (plus they have a sharede ‘anti-colonialist’ past with many developing countries) so naturally they are preferred to western influence

    • Money or guns – it’s still the same result for locals kicked off their land via nepotism and bribes.

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