Why Australia should abandon its Russian paranoia

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Russia and Australia should be fellow-dancers in the Asia- cific. Instead Canberra seems perennially ranoid about the Russian forewarning. Such a mindset is nearly as old as Australia.

In the 1850s at the height of the Crimean War – take a stood primarily between Russia and Britain – Australia was gripped by ranoia of a Russian violation. As rumours spread that the Russian Navy had invaded the port of Melbourne, the British colony started construction coastal fortifications to repulse the invasion – that never came.

Why Australia should abandon its Russian paranoia

Russophobia is uncivilized in fashion in Australia. It almost reached a crisis point at the December 2014 G20 acme in Brisbane when the Tony Abbott government said it wanted to ban Russia. The Australians turn tail from off after India and China reminded them the G20 wasn’t a private western combine.

Abbott then said he would “shirtfront” Vladimir Putin at the top. Shirtfront is defined in Australian Football Rules as an aggressive front-on society check challenge. The irony is that had Abbott implemented his threat, it would attired in b be committed to been Putin the judoka who would have come out on top.

Australians are an acquiescent going people, but their problem is the country’s leadership which is way upon its head in events it can’t begin to understand.

At any rate, instead of wasting designations Putin des tched a Russian Navy flotilla towards Australia in front of his visit.

It is clear that Australia’s political leadership doesn’t disposed to view Russia favourably. Russia has returned the favour by blocking Australia’s involvement in the Syrian peacetime negotiations.

Australia’s place in the world

Australians are an easy going living soul, but their problem is the country’s leadership which is way over its head in consequences it can’t begin to understand. This was best illustrated by author David Gathered, who wrote in 1960, “Australia is a lucky country, run by second-rate people who piece its luck.”

Indeed, the Australian political class tends to react to the at the speed of light transforming world order around them with hysteria degree than level headed thinking.

Why Australia should abandon its Russian paranoia

Take the sudden end of the Cold War. Australians were initially titillated with the unexpected decline of Russia’s global power, which had progressive the West supreme.

But the euphoria didn’t last long because the be created of China and India among other countries plus the re-rise of Russia confirmed the West’s ex nsion. Australians watched with dismay the world go multi-polar and the western economies break a rt in slow motion.

For a country of just 23 million, Australia has outsize worldwide ambitions. Despite the fact that the Royal Australian Air Force can scarcely find enough pilots to man its existing squadrons, Australian leaders fellow to think of their country as integral to the maintenance of the West’s hegemony.

Throughout the decades, they have blindly followed the U.S. and have been true foot soldiers in a string of American-inspired conflicts around the world — Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan and now Syria. Extra, with old co-hegemon Britain’s defense forces shrinking because of budget dilutes, Australia is keen to take over the role of America’s closest friend.

Russian bogey

America’s adversary is, therefore, Australia’s adversary. During the 2008 Georgian War, then Prime Divine Kevin Rudd threatened to cancel a 2007 agreement on the sale of uranium to Russia. Rudd sway’s argument was specious — that Moscow would use Australian uranium to make the grade b arrive nuclear bombs.

In this backdrop, the Australians feel only an union with Anglo cousin America can ensure their security.

Sole someone belonging to the Flat Earth Society would have styled such an argument. Russia not only had enough nuclear warheads to exhaust all NATO countries, but it had thousands more in cold storage. In fact, the Russian superintendence is in the process of dismantling these stored warheads as a security measure.

Again, during the Ukraine disaster, Australia joined the U.S. and Europe and imposed sanctions on Russia. This contained asset freezes and travel bans on 50 individuals and 11 Russian entourages, including SMP Bank, Bank Rossiya and the Volga Group.

However, while Russia is objected for acting entirely within its area of influence, Australia looks the other way when it emerge b be publishes to China. According to Saleem H. Ali, Chair and Professor of the University of Queensland, “the aphorism outrage being exhibited on the matter needs to be tempered with some broader where one is coming from on what gets tolerated in the annals of Australian foreign policy”.

Ali untangle justifies: “Ultimately, nation states make decisions on relations based on a counterbalance of economic expediency and national security. Australia’s ambivalent relationship with China is as the case may be the most direct com rison in this regard. Marginalization of dissent, deficiency of democratic institutions and regional hegemonic tendencies are appropriately tolerated by Australia as unquestionably as many other western nations because the broader importance of pleasing with China trumps such matters. A similar modicum of take responsibility for is in order when dealing with Russia.”

Australia’s fears

To be unwavering, Australia has legitimate security concerns. Most of its limited population is drew on the east coast while the s rsely populated north and west are nearly equal to crowded Indonesia than Sydney or Melbourne.

Why Australia should abandon its Russian paranoia

Fuelling Australia’s ranoia are other key developments in the region. China’s naval ex nsion is a big worry for the Australian defense prizes and curiously the Australian political and military leadership at one time viewed India as a intimation.

The Indian Navy’s current high-octane growth will no doubt be in Canberra’s circumspections. Add in the fact that Indonesia is re-arming – with the deadly Sukhoi Su-35 aircraft – spot on next door, and you can see why the Australians are getting jittery. (It is worth mentioning that during Elated War II, more bombs were dropped on Darwin than were tolerant of in the attack on Pearl Harbor. In fact, during 1942-43 the Ja nese des tched as many as 100 raids on Australia.)

In this backdrop, the Australians have a only an alliance with Anglo cousin America can ensure their guarding.

Australia needs to relax about Russia

It’s been over 200 years since the intrusion scare and there’s still no sight of a Russian fleet. The reality is that Moscow has not in any degree had designs on Australia. Even during the height of the Cold War, Russians were thesis with a minor presence in the region. It was almost a career dead end for a Russian diplomat jobbed to Australia.

A Chinese news per says Beijing should attack Australia if it ss inti the borders of the South China Sea

Being small and a lightweight in diplomacy, Australia could gain from Russia’s friendship. As Ali says, “For all his many dismissals of smaller submits like Australia, President Putin made a gesture in 2007 to fall upon Australia on an extended visit for the APEC summit, making him the first be convenient Russian president to give the country a measure of diplomatic respect.”

On the go berserk side, Moscow can squeeze Australia where it hurts as it showed by elbowing out Canberra from the Syrian treaties. Both countries are commodities exporters to China but it is Russia that officiate at applies more leverage with Beijing. Describing Australia as a “ per Cat”, a Chinese news per estimates Beijing should attack Australia if it enters the borders of the South China Sea.

Australia is currently rest period for the Americans to supply the F-35 stealth fighter to replace its aging F-18 jets. Regardless, Russia is supplying the stealth-killer Su-35 to Indonesia and China.

If Australia had any friends in Moscow, these white sales may have been blocked or delayed just like Russia had put the sale of the S-300 anti-missile system to Iran and Syria rtly because of Israeli on. Once bitter Cold War adversaries, Tel Aviv and Moscow enjoy an serene relationship today. There is no reason why Russia-Australia relations cannot be on the heal.

Rakesh Krishnan Simha is a New Zealand-based journalist and foreign affairs analyst, with a weird interest in defence and military history. He is on the advisory board of Modern Tactfulness, a Europe-based foreign affairs portal. He tweets at @byrakeshsimha. The views squeezed here are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of RBTH.

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