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In the meantime, we thought we would post this comment for most to consider.

24 June 2018



Sundays for many are relaxation days and in my household the day begins with breakfast while watching Insiders on the ABC. Despite beliefs from many Liberals (as shown at the 60th Federal Council of the Liberal Party in Sydney on 16 June 2018) that the ABC is a left wing clarion call for a Socialist Australia, we are still shown footage of Ms Julie Bishop, Minister for Foreign Affairs, repeating the lie that Russia, more specifically, Putin's government, shot down Malaysian Airlines flight MH17. Bishop, who enjoys the notoriety that comes from being the first international politician to accuse Russia of being directly involved and therefore responsible for the destruction of that aircraft, continues to beat her chest in anger and demand that Russia be made to pay. Any loss of life in crimes like this are unforgiveable and must be condemned and punished but as recently as 24 May 2018 the Chief Dutch Prosecutor Fred Westerbeke told Reuters (which is not a lover of things Russian) that although it was known that a Russian-made "Buk" anti-craft missile was used, who was in charge of this weapon is still not known. If anger is going to be measured in lives lost, the Dutch have more reason to be angry — 196 Dutch were killed, 42 Malaysian and 27 Australian. Yet Bishop wants to maintain the image of being the lead actor calling for retribution against Putin's government. And, sad to say, not one of the guests on Insiders (or on any other ABC television program for that matter, including Q&A, 7.30 Report and ABC Breakfast when anti-Russian views are expressed) even stops for a moment to challenge these Russophobic views that can only be explained as a form of psychosis. How else can such hatred of anything Russian be explained?

Logically, the Russophobia promoted by Australia's conservative media and voiced by both sides of the government, does not make sense. Using the example of the "Buk" anti-craft missile, it may have been made in Russia but does it follow that we should call for sanctions against the Russian government and refuse to cooperate with it? Is Putin or any of his ministers to blame for the use of this missle? I do not recall almost thirty years ago anyone in the Australian Government (whether from the Hawke or Howard side) calling for sanctions against the US government or blaming Ronald Reagan or the commanders of the USS Vincennes for shooting down Iran Air Flight 655 killing all 290 people on board including 66 children. And that was not an accident! It is documented that orders were given to shoot down that commercial Iranian flight routinely flying over its own air space. It would seem that the tragic death of so many innocent lives is the same — unmeasurable suffering and pain for all the families and friends of the victims. What is certainly not equal is the Australian government's response to such international crimes. Why are the Russian government and its people viewed with such animosity, acrimony and disrespect. For those wondering whether Sting was actually posing a riddle by asking "if the Russians love their children too", let me remove any doubt, yes they do! After all, Russians are human.

Russophobia does not make economic sense. We know that the engine of capitalism is the reproduction and accumulation of capital to produce increasing profit. This dynamic is devoid of ethics. Australia, like all capitalist countries, has traded and continues to trade  with regimes that are morally reprehensible. Corporations and businesses, generally speaking, do just about anything to maximise their profits. Yet, the potentially huge economic benefits of trading with Russia are ignored or deliberately avoided because such action would strengthen Putin's regime and Russia's influence worldwide. Once again, what is about Russia's wealth and resources that make Russian capitalism so different? China is a communist state yet it is clearly locked into the world capitalist order as overseen by the USA and, consequently, is an important trade partner for Australia. Multinational companies traded with Hitler's Nazi Germany when it was killing thousands of innocent people at the height of its power. Yet trade with Russia is considered undesirable and a threat to the world's capitalist order. Can anyone explain this absurd contradiction?

Finally, politically and militarily it does not make any sense to continue trying to isolate Russia. Russia no longer poses the communist threat that the propaganda of the Cold War Era once claimed. Now, it appears, Putin's Russia has to be contained for protecting its borders like any other sovereign power. Not wanting to make this an anti-American foreign policy commentary but it is worth asking this question: why is it that the US can go beyond protecting its borders with an ambitious, unchecked, unilateral imperialism but Russia cannot protect its very long border with 14 countries? Does it not make more sense to invite Russia into the economic fold rather than push it away forcing it to build partnerships with countries that are less sympathetic to our way of life? Pondering this thought from a different perspective, why is it that the Australian government blindly backs the role that the US has taken upon itself to police the world and by doing so involve Australia in conflicts that do not benefit us? Isn't it about time Australia begins to develop an independent foreign policy that puts Australia's interests first?

No matter how Australia's, indeed the west's, Russophobia is examined or how governments justify this mentality, it just does not add up. Russophobia flies in the face of capitalist economic policies and world government efforts to achieve global peace and stability. Russophobia comes from ignorance, a fear that resides in the past, the dangerous  belief in cultural superiority, a failure to reason and to question ideas, the lack of courage to change the way we do things, the pessimistic belief that cries "this is as good as it gets". It is time to look at Russia with open eyes and an open mind.

Dr John Gonzalez
Rozhkov Historical Research Centre