Fully backed by the opposition Labor Party, Australia’s Liberal-National coalition government reacted ‘in concert’ with the Biden administration in blaming Russia for the Ukraine crisis and imposing ‘tough’ sanctions to Russian entities and individuals.
While also following the White House in not sending troops to Ukraine, the government offered unreserved political support to the United States and did intervene militarily by offering to help the Ukrainian military, including in cyber warfare. against Russia.
Like the United States, Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s government withdrew all Australian diplomatic representatives from Ukraine and urged Australians to leave the country, heightening the sense of alarm and the atmosphere of war.
Addressing a press conference yesterday, following an ’emergency’ cabinet national security committee meeting, Morrison said a ‘Russian invasion of Ukraine has indeed already begun’. The comments, echoing those of Biden and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, demonstrate that the United States and its allies are not seeking to defuse the crisis, but to escalate it further.
Morrison hypocritically called Russian President Vladimir Putin a “thug” and a “thug”. The language is that of war, not that of diplomacy.
It comes from a man and a government that has supported every violent and deadly military invasion launched by the United States to assert its global hegemony, from Vietnam to Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Libya.
Morrison provided few details on the Australian sanctions except that they would include travel bans. He said they would be strengthened in “synchronization” with the US, UK and other governments. He declined to rule out the expulsion of the Russian ambassador and other diplomats, saying it would depend on whether other governments take such action.
Morrison declined to provide information on committed military assistance to Ukraine. On Saturday he had said Australia stood ready to provide “practical” assistance to Ukraine in conjunction with allies, but said it would be irresponsible to “telecast” Australia’s plans.
Defense Minister Peter Dutton, who is one of Morrison’s rivals in the unstable and unpopular government, said Australia had the opportunity to provide support to Ukraine “through basic equipment “.
Foreign Minister Marise Payne said Australia would expand its existing “e-learning” for Ukrainian officials and could join a coalition to supply Ukraine with military equipment.
Labor leaders are equally aggressive. In fact, they urged the government to go further. Party leader Anthony Albanese called “completely unacceptable” Russia’s decision to send forces into the separatist-controlled Ukrainian regions of Donetsk and Lugansk.
Speaking before the National Security Committee meeting, Albanese called on the Morrison government to “stand united” with the United States and its allies. “Action needs to be taken and the Australian government needs to be part of that action,” he said.
The Labor leader offered carte blanche bipartisan support for any decision made by the government and the US-linked intelligence apparatus. “I would welcome any action the government deems appropriate, based on the advice it will receive from the security agencies today.”
On Tuesday, Albanese issued a joint statement with Shadow Foreign Secretary Penny Wong, condemning “Russia’s continued aggression” and urging the government to withdraw Australia’s ambassador to Russia and offer “technical military assistance.” to Ukraine, “as well as stepping up cybersecurity.” security support.
In response to Morrison’s press conference yesterday, Albanese said ‘Australians are one’ in aggression against Russia.
The Labor leader again underlined his wholehearted support for the US-led campaign and accompanying war propaganda, saying: “Australia stands against aggression, and the aggressor here is Putin. It’s not the Ukrainian people, it’s not the Ukrainian government, it’s not NATO, it’s not the United States, it’s Vladimir Putin and Russia.
The government’s sanctions come on top of those it imposed on Russia in 2014 after the downing of flight MH17 over eastern Ukraine in 2014, a tragedy for which it automatically blamed Russia, and the annexation of Crimea, which developed in response to the 2014 regime-change putsch. organized by the United States and Germany.
Bans will be imposed on trade and investment in transport, energy, telecommunications, oil, gas and mineral reserves in the breakaway regions of Luhansk and Donetsk, extending existing bans to Crimea and in Sevastopol.
Given the relatively small size of Australia’s trade with Russia, the sanctions are expected to have minimal direct impact on the Russian economy. According to reports, they will mainly affect Russian investors who may have interests or funds in Australia. Individuals can be targeted for a wide range of vague motives under US Magnitsky sanctions laws passed last December with Labor backing.
The bipartisan formation behind the US-led confrontation with Russia is accompanied by a deluge of anti-Russian propaganda in the mainstream media. “Russia Crosses the Line” was yesterday’s headline Australian, Murdoch’s media flagship. “‘Worst case’: Russia invades Ukraine,” said the Sydney Daily Telegraph.
This wall-to-wall blitz is designed to poison public opinion in preparation for war and cover up the real driving forces of the conflict, which are in Washington, not Moscow. As the International Committee of the Fourth International (ICFI) explained in its statement of February 14 “Oppose the US-NATO campaign for war against Russia in Ukraine!” Over the past three decades, US imperialism has taken advantage of the dissolution of the Soviet Union to seek to strengthen and expand the global hegemony it asserted after World War II. Washington has waged war repeatedly, wreaking havoc in the Balkans, the Middle East, North Africa and Central Asia.
The media deliberately associates the Ukrainian conflict with China, which US imperialism sees as the greatest threat to its global power. yesterday Australian the editorial put China in brackets in the demand for “action”, supposed to stop “a march of tyrants”.
Any war by the United States and NATO against Russia would almost certainly draw China into what could well be a nuclear war for dominance of the Eurasian landmass, which the United States has long sought to bring under its thumb. . Japan and Australia, close allies of the United States, would be drawn into the conflagration with China.
Over the past three weeks, as Washington escalated the Ukraine crisis, there has been an increasingly frenzied anti-China witch hunt in Australia, also driven by a deepening domestic political crisis. Morrison and his ministers have accused Labor leaders of being “China’s choice” in the upcoming federal election. In response, Albanese and his shadow ministers escalated their own accusations against China and their full commitment to the US military alliance.
This week, the Labor Party-backed government provocatively accused China of ‘aggression’, ‘intimidation’ and ‘bullying’ after a Chinese navy ship allegedly aimed a laser at a Australian surveillance aircraft.
Significantly, media polls indicate that China’s fear campaign has failed to reverse the collapse in government approval ratings. A Resolve Political Monitor published yesterday by Nine Media showed that from January to February, Morrison’s net performance rating fell from minus 10 to minus 17.
There is widespread anti-war sentiment and distrust of the entire political establishment. Many people remember the “weapons of mass destruction” lie that served as the pretext for the barbaric US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003.
This antipathy to the warmongering agenda must translate into support for a global, working class-based anti-war movement. This must be informed by a historical understanding that the danger of a third world war is produced by the efforts of US imperialism to maintain the dominant power it obtained via the first two world conflagrations.
To that end, the WSWS is hosting an international online webinar this weekend, “Fight COVID! Save lives! Stop the road to World War III! Speakers will develop a political program to mobilize the working class against war and the pandemic. We urge our readers to register and attend this crucial event.