The story of what is happening with the Solomon Islands and Australia is very important, given that it reflects the context of the Ukraine conflict.
The Solomon Islands has ostensibly agreed to host a Chinese military base as part of a wider-ranging security pact with China. Australia is claiming that this is unacceptable, and that despite the fact that the Solomon Islands is a sovereign country, they have no right to host Chinese troops so near to the Australian border. The United States and the entire Western world have backed up Australia’s claim that they have a right to veto a military base on their maritime border.
Meanwhile in the Ukraine, the West is claiming that the government of the Ukraine has an absolute right to join NATO and put nuclear weapons on Russia’s border.
It’s a virtually identical situation in some ways – but the Ukraine situation is much more extreme. Firstly, let’s do a little map porn.
Solomon Islands is over a thousand miles from the shores of Australia.
Meanwhile, the Ukraine border is literally zero miles from the Russian border.
Just to put a little bit of perspective on this – NATO member Turkey is only a couple hundred nautical miles from the Russian border.
Possibly even more relevant: the distance between Russia and Poland – that is, the length of the Ukraine – is about half of the distance of Australia to the Solomon Islands.
The second major thing is: the Ukraine people president has literally said aloud that he wants to put NATO nukes on the Russian border. Western analysts admit that we probably would not have a conflict in the Ukraine if it were not for the speech Zelensky gave in Munich calling for nukes – on February 19, 2022.
From Putin's speech today. Zelensky speech at the Munich Security Conference probably sealed his fate. Whatever hesitations Putin may have had before Zelensky spoke were removed by Zelensky's suggestion that Ukraine might acquire nuclear weapons. https://t.co/VlbsPlzg7z pic.twitter.com/1yZKT9HTJI
— George Szamuely (@GeorgeSzamuely) March 16, 2022
Talking about a small naval base is a lot different than talking about nuclear weapons.
The third thing is this: China only started this deal to put a base on the Solomon Islands AFTER the US declared war on Russia in defense of their right to station missiles in the Ukraine.
The US war against Russia is a war against all non-aligned countries, having in it an implicit threat that anyone who dares go against the interests of Washington will face the wrath of the US war machine. After this attack, moves that could have previously been framed as aggressive – i.e., China putting a base in the Solomon Islands – are now clearly defensive.
Speaking of acts of war – the leader of the Solomon Islands is now saying he’s being threatened with invasion. Australia doesn’t seem to be denying this.
Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison has urged the Solomon Islands’ leader Manasseh Sogavare to remain “calm” after he said his country was being “threatened with invasion” over a security pact it signed with China.
“We need to be calm and composed when we deal with these issues,” Morrison said on Thursday, insisting the relationship between Australia and the Solomon Islands remained friendly even while acknowledging he was concerned over “security” in the region following Sogavare’s decision to sign the “secret arrangement” with China.
Sogavare has criticized both the US and Australia’s response to the security pact his island recently inked with Beijing, insisting there is “nothing to be concerned about” and that the island nation is “insulted” by the West’s response to the move.
“We are being treated as kindergarten students walking around with Colt 45s in our hands” who “need to be supervised,” Sogavare complained, insisting his country was being “threatened with invasion” over the controversial pact and that Australia’s response demonstrated a “lack of trust.”
Sogavare said on Tuesday that there had been a “warning of military intervention” in the Solomon Islands if other countries’ security goals were undermined. “We are threatened with invasion,” he warned. “Now, that is serious.”
That is very serious.
Morrison insisted that Australia remained Honiara’s “primary security partner,” and that his country trusted the island nation as an equal.
No final version of the pact between the island nation and China has yet been published, though a draft leaked in March mentioned Chinese warships were to be given safe harbor in the islands.
Morrison had previously warned that a Chinese military base in the Solomon Islands would be considered a “red line” for Canberra, though he did not explain what he would do to prevent it, or how.
Well, apparently what he would do is send the United States to menace and threaten these peaceful island folk.
This Solomon Islands conflict gives the lie to the entire fake war in the Ukraine. The West is claiming outright that it is very serious concern if someone puts a military base near someone else’s borders, even if the context is much less extreme than a NATO move into the Ukraine.
So there is no underlying principle of “absolute sovereignty for every nation, including military bases” here. I think we already knew that from the Cuban Missile Crisis – but apparently, people have pretty short memories.
Cuba was a lot closer than the Solomon Islands as well!
I appreciate the comparison of Biden’s treatment of the Ukrainian border to his treatment of the US border, and I appreciate jokes about “undocumented Russian migrants” in the Ukraine. But ultimately, even right-wingers would have to admit that there is some difference between the US border crisis and the Russian invasion of the Ukraine.
However, there is literally no difference whatsoever between Australia drawing a “red line” and threatening an invasion of the Solomon Islands over a military base – except that the situation in the Ukraine was much more extreme.