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Sunday, August 10, 2014

Trust, Law, Compromise toward Better World: fmr’ Aussie PM Malcolm Fraser

Member States 193
Flags of United Nations
All are created equal and must be treated as Equal
Editing, brief commentary by 
Carolyn Bennett

We must “try and build a better world.” Support leaders inclined toward and capable of understanding how to achieve this, as only it can be achieved -- politically, nonviolently

Just after World War II, Malcolm Fraser said, “there were many people who realized that the world nearly destroyed itself” and leaders among the “victors and the vanquished determined to do better” in trying “to create a safer, more secure world.” But today great nations and leaders seem bent on destroying considered, substantive ideas of that earlier period. Moral, nonviolent, law-abiding, progressive leadership is today sorely lacking. Fraser says,

Nuremberg Trials
It is a sobering thought that in recent times, freedoms hard won through centuries of struggle, in the United Kingdom and elsewhere, have been whittled away. …

In many cases the onus of proof has been reversed and the justice that once prevailed has been gravely diminished.

Former Australian Prime Minister John Malcolm Fraser in late 2012 criticized the current state of human rights in his country and in the Western World. Also in 2012, he opposed basing U.S. military forces in Australia. In 2011 he opposed the Australian government’s decision to permit the export of uranium to India, a non-signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. When holding office in the 1970s, the Fraser government expanded immigration from Asian countries and allowed more refugees to enter Australia; supported multiculturalism and established a government-funded multilingual radio and television network. Fraser also opposed white minority rule in Rhodesia (South Africa).

Last week Malcolm Fraser discussed East-West affairs with Oksana Boyko on RT’s “Worlds Apart” program. These are some of his observations and recommendations.

Compromise and Trust are imperative

You've got to try and build a better world and building trust is essential, Fraser said.  The West and NATO in the post-Cold War period missed an opportunity for essential world collaboration, he said. And to end the deepening hostility between the Russian Federation -- and the consequential harm to many other nations of the world -- the West, NATO and Russia must reestablish trust. In order for there to be peace and not a return to a cold war, Russia and the West “need to try and make a new start,” he said.
UN General Assembly hall

You don't build trust “by behaving as though a Cold War is still in place.” Putting ABM (anti-ballistic missile) sites in Poland and Czechoslovakia -- shifting NATO east, even though former Russian President Mikhail Gorbachev believed he had an agreement that it should not – “was behaving as though the Cold War was still alive and well.”  The act “was a provocation” -- a hostile move compounding NATO’s move to the boundaries of Russia – “and not conducive to establishing the kind of trust and cooperation which is so necessary if there is to be a real peace and real cooperation.”

To China, the United States speaks in contradictory rhetoric. “On the one hand, they say they want strategic cooperation, they want economic cooperation, social cooperation. On the other hand, they tighten, they strengthen their defenses -- from Japan south through Australia, around Singapore and now talks of making India a strategic partner.  Fraser says his Chinese friends ask which America are they to believe…

‘The one that talks cooperation or the one that’s seeking to strengthen it’s already very powerful military forces?'

Fraser reminds that China’s current “military expenditure is about eight percent of the world’s total” while the U.S. military expenditure “is about 42 percent of the world's total.” And after the USA’s Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, all evidenced failures, the United States still fails to grasp reality: “that a good political outcome is very difficult to obtain through military means.”

Obedience to International Law is imperative

Criminal Court
The United States of America “feels it can break international law.” The character of leadership takes the view “that what America does is right. Rules are made for other people -- for countries like Russia or Australia.” But “whatever America does is right because America does it.…The United States has regarded itself as an exceptional nation  -- as a nation that’s better than all others; that has only ever gone to war to fight for the freedom of other people.” But, as U.S. history bears out, this oft-repeated narrative is simply untrue.

The U.S. invasion of Iraq,  Fraser correctly notes “was [and is again] a total violation of international law.”

The great powers,  Fraser says, “tend to push the rules aside when it suits their national interests.” When U.S. officials say that what Russia has done in Ukraine “is in defiance of international law,” the statement lacks credibility because the change of power in Ukraine “was itself in defiance of democratic principles.”

Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Eleanor Roosevelt
 Fraser says the great powers “too often interpret international law as what is in their particular interest at the time.” However, if the United Nations comprised of 193 countries “is ever to work, the great powers and the lesser powers are all going to have to abide by the rules” of the United Nations.   

   o one and no nation should be above the law. No one should be allowed to get away with murder – even when they call it “humanitarian.” Killing, displacement, denial of life, livelihood and liberty are never humanitarian. Civilized peoples, by the nature of being “civilized,” use language (when necessary many languages aided translators as within the United Nations) to resolve disputes, to relate and negotiate, to engage in enterprise, whatever that enterprise might be.

All people are created equal and no nation should be allowed to deny others their rights as equal.  

Sources and notes

“Cold war & peace”

…  Kosovo’s secession demonstrated that international law is only as applicable as the force used to back it. But with Crimea now free on the wings of that precedent, the West cries foul.

Why does the Western world fail to recognize parallels between Kosovo and Crimea?

Is it a case of double standards or the result of decades of adversarial EU and NATO policies towards Russia?

Former Australian Prime Minister John Malcolm Fraser joined Oksana Boyko on these issues, August 7, 2014, http://rt.com/shows/worlds-apart-oksana-boyko/

Malcolm Fraser bio brief Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malcolm_Fraser


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