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Malcolm Fraser: Message for 30th Anniversary Conference of the Schiller Institute

Malcolm Fraser

Former Prime Minister of Australia (1975-1983)


I wish you well in your deliberations. We desperately need a more cooperative and more inclusive world. The West needs to be prepared to recognise, and also to accept, the consequences of past grievous errors. The move of NATO eastwards was giving notice that the West did not want Russia as a collaborative partner, but rather as a defeated foe still to be marginalised. It is not surprising that NATO’s move has led to a cool or even to a sour relationship between the United States, NATO and Russia. They virtually made a cooperative relationship impossible.

Other Western initiatives have generally ended in failure. The GulfWar to free Kuwait was an overwhelming success, but the possibilities that could have flowed from that war, where 31 nations participated with troops on the ground, were thrown aside by policies of the neo-conservatives and their ideas of American exceptionalism and manifest destiny. In that vision, whatever America did was right, because America did it. The 2nd War in Iraq was an unmitigated disaster, predicably unleashing sectarian violence which has engulfed, and still plagues, the whole region.

The West has begun a new war against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, without the means to complete that war or to achieve peace. We need a new and more open inclusive society, where others can participate in making the rules that affect everyone. We have a Monetary Fund and a World Bank, dominated by American and Western interests, it is not surprising that there are now moves to sidestep these institutions and create alternatives.

There is an option and that is for the most powerful Western nations to realise that there have been great changes in the world, that the strategic context has altered, that other powers such as the BRICS are emerging and that the West should collaborate with them as partners to establish a more equal and a more just world.