Political strategies

Submissive Australia unable to criticize India’s independent strategies on Ukraine crisis

Artwork: Liu Rui/GT

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Some Australian media have woke up feverishly in recent weeks, sowing discord over the ongoing military conflicts in Ukraine. They criticized countries like India and Indonesia that refused to follow the US-led West’s denunciation of Russia and called for imposing sanctions. Instead, they called for diplomacy and dialogue as solutions to the crisis.

As a member of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad), which has been assembled and mobilized by the United States as the axis of its valuable Indo-Pacific strategy, India should synchronize and take inspiration from Washington.

Canberra have been a faithful sidekick to Team USA, with consistent and unwavering dedication. Former Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has pledged to “join at the hip” with the United States in defense and foreign affairs. His successor, Scott Morrison, boasted that “there is no deeper friendship than that which exists between Australia and the United States… We see the world through the same eyes”.

Indeed, Canberra has supported almost every initiative and strategy that has come out of the White House for decades. He never missed a single US-led war, at the cost of Australian lives and Australian taxpayers’ money. For Canberra, it is unimaginable for developing countries to show maturity and independence and stand up to political pressure from the West.

It is a universal truism that all sovereign countries are politically independent, with their own national interests to protect and promote. They have the indisputable right to make decisions and formulate their own international policy.

Moreover, as a longtime member of the non-alliance movement, New Delhi has never abandoned its own interests or strategic targets to serve Washington’s hidden agenda.

The new version of the Biden administration’s Indo-Pacific strategy repeatedly stresses its desire to engage India as a close partner in the regional spider’s web of US strategic groupings, aimed at containing and deterring the development of China. He deliberately tries to increase tensions between India and China by drawing attention to border disputes.

The Modi government has not been as submissive as Canberra to Washington. A calmer approach is at stake in New Delhi, with India’s national interest and long-term strategic goals taking precedence. India has refrained from blindly joining the Western-led chorus that censors Russia, and has instead taken an independent diplomatic approach, much to the chagrin of many Washington vassal states.

There is something important for Australia to consider. Why is India making its own diplomatic decisions on an important international issue like the Ukraine crisis, while Australia continues to pledge allegiance to Washington at the expense of its own national interest?

In psychology, there is a neurotic syndrome called Fear Of Missing Out, or FOMO, which often causes stress and anxiety because the victim is always afraid of not being able to possess or achieve something good. Some people in Australia apparently need a psychiatrist’s couch because they constantly fear being left behind by Washington. They pathetically believe that Australia should cling to American hegemony to achieve security, just as creeping vines must wrap themselves around a strong tree trunk.

It still remains uncertain whether Canberra will achieve true independence or remain immature in a perpetual cocoon.

The author is President of the Chinese Association of Australian Studies and Director of the Center for Australian Studies at East China Normal University. opinion@globaltimes.com.cn