Helen Clark is insulting our Asian neighbours and giving credibility to a US invasion of Iraq by not categorically rejecting the moral and legal justification for pre-emptive strikes on other countries, Green Foreign Affairs spokesperson Keith Locke said today.
“For months George Bush has been asserting America’s right to attack Iraq in order to remove a perceived ‘threat.’ Now, John Howard’s words and Helen Clark’s silence are giving him some cover,” said Mr Locke.
“Helen Clark’s refusal to distance herself from John Howard’s comments will seriously undermine relations with our South East Asian neighbours.
“Governments in the region are justifiably outraged at the prospect of Australian special forces landing on their soil and killing their people. We must join them in roundly condemning the Australian Prime Minister’s interventionist stand.
“There is no justification in international law for pre-emptive strikes, only the law of the jungle. When the United Nations Charter was formulated the experience of such pre-emptive strikes as Pearl Harbour and Hitler’s blitzkriegs were recent memories.
“Helen Clark should remember that ‘those that forget the lessons of history are condemned to relive them’, and be working to uphold the Charter rather than appearing to back Howard’s call for it to be amended.
“We all value a strong relationship with Australia, but both countries have to realize that they cannot act as co-bastions of Western imperial interests.
“We are in the Asia-Pacific region and we are part of the Asia-Pacific region. We have an obligation to respect and protect the sovereign rights of all our neighbours.
“Howard and Clark’s statements do not help combat terrorism. They only weaken the cooperation between governments which is essential to track down terrorists and bring them to justice,” said Mr Locke.