The Australian Prime Minister was to "shirt-front" Vladimir Putin. Source: Photoshot / Vostock Photo
Ever since Crimea rejoined Russia, Australian politicians, probably at the prodding of their American masters, have called to exclude Vladimir Putin from the G20 summit which will be hosted in Brisbane in November. The BRICS foreign ministers made a statement in March denouncing an attempt to leave Russia out of the G20 summit. They said in a joint statement that “the custodianship of the G20 belongs to all Member States equally and no one Member State can unilaterally determine its nature and character.” The Aussies probably did not calculate on opposition from 3 of the biggest economies in the G20!
Australia also jumped on the sanctions bandwagon against Russia, since it claims to feel so much sympathy for the people of Ukraine. Now we have the leader of Australia’s opposition Bill Shorten asking Putin to “show enough conscience” and not visit the country for the G20 summit, blaming Russia for the MH17 tragedy. Not to be outdone, Tony Abbott said he is going to “shirt-front Mr Putin.” The Australian PM told journalists, “I am going to be saying to Mr Putin Australians were murdered.”
This clearly looks like a game of Australian political one-upmanship, but essentially it’s only Washington’s interests that are being served by this Russia-baiting. As soon as the Malaysian airliner was shot down over Ukrainian airspace in July, Russia called for an independent investigation. The Americans on the other hand immediately blamed the rebels without any kind of evidence. They used their propaganda machine across the Western world to blame Russia. So far, there has been no conclusive or indisputable evidence that the rebels were responsible for the attack. Yet, even before an investigation began, the Aussies started pointing fingers at Moscow. It’s odd that with all the evidence the Americans claimed they had in July, we get nothing now but pin-drop silence when it comes to the MH-17 incident from both the U.S. government and its media.
Australia is a beautiful country full of warm, friendly and easy going people. It beggars belief that the country’s leaders whether members of the Labor or Conservative party blindly back the American agenda, even if it is against Australian national interests. This is the same country whose government backed America’s illegal war and occupation of Iraq, which destroyed the country and led to more than a decade of chaos, deaths and misery. The end result of the American-led misadventure in Iraq was the formation of the Islamic State or whatever that group of terrorists calls itself now. The Australian government of John Howard sent troops to Iraq just to please George W. Bush. So this is the last country that should have a holier than thou attitude. The hawks in Australia’s establishment believe that America is needed to ward off a non-existent Chinese threat to the island. This is why the Australian government has turned a nation of self-respecting citizens into America’s lieutenant in the Asia-Pacific region. The isolated island-nation would be much better off positioning itself as a neutral country on the lines of Switzerland.
The G20 summit is not about politics, it is about the global economy and how world leaders can work together to meet the challenges that are faced by just about every country. The forum was formed for cooperation and consultation on the international financial system. This is why Barack Obama visited St Petersburg for the 2013 summit despite the fact that Russia refused to extradite Edward Snowden to the United States.
The focus of the Brisbane summit should be to coordinate policies that can stimulate economic growth and reduce unemployment. There also has to be an emphasis on the restructuring of the Bretton Woods multilateral organisations that in no way reflect the global economic realities of the 21st century. Any attempt to isolate Russia from the forum would not just divide members into camps and bring about a Cold War within the grouping, but also have serious repercussions on global economic recovery and growth.
It’s in the best interests of the West to ensure that the G20 functions well. The BRICS grouping is already in the early stages of carving out a new global economic order, one that will not be dominated by the West and its institutions that have been deemed biased and in the control of Western governments.
If the G20 becomes a victim of politics, it would harm the West more than Russia, which is working already working overtime to increase trade and economic cooperation with Asia and Latin America, and has managed to make the BRICS a relevant and important force. Although the 5-nation collection of emerging countries is still an economic grouping, it is very likely that its members will move closer politically as well. Attempts to politicise and divide the G20 will only hasten such a process.
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