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Anthony Albanese should attend the NATO summit if he can. This is why – WhatsNew2Day


The past two days have been there controversy on whether Prime Minister Anthony Albanese should accept an invitation to the NATO summit in Lithuania in Julywith reports suggesting he won’t.

Albanese’s office has yet to confirm whether the prime minister, who is currently on leave, will attend the meeting.

But the debate reminds us that politicians and the public must recognize the value of such opportunities.

Why is the NATO summit so important?

NATO – the North Atlantic Treaty Organization – is a 31 nation collective defense pact That includes most members of the European Union, as well as the United States, United Kingdom, Canada and Turkey.

Under treaty, an invasion of a NATO member is treated as an invasion of everyone. This is a great consolation, especially for smaller countries with a threatening neighbour. In the aftermath of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Finland joined and Sweden has signed up participate.

Read more: Finland, NATO and the evolving new world order – what small nations know

Why was Albanian invited?

Although Australia is not a member of NATO, it has a good relationship with the organisation. Australia is one of thepartners around the world”, with permanent observer status.

Australia was an important partner during the long mission in Afghanistan, and Australia was seen as an important partner in helping NATO achieve its goals. Prime Ministers Rudd and Gillard both attended NATO summits in this period.

There are currently two factors that make Australia a higher priority for NATO.

First, Australia is seen as a major contributor to efforts to support Ukraine against the Russian invasion. When I introduced myself to Ukraine’s youngest MP, the first thing he said was thank you for the Australian contribution of Bushmaster armored vehicles. Australia also cooperates with France to manufacture ammunition.

Secondly, NATO is paying more attention to security issues in the Indian Ocean. NATO’s 2022 Strategic Concept identified issues surrounding the threat from China for the first time. Australia is an obvious partner of NATO in Indo-Pacific security.

Susan Harris Rimmer of Griffith University saw Australia’s invitation to attend the 2022 NATO summit as an important step that reflects NATO’s intention to focus on the security of China and the Indo-Pacific.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg speaks very positively of NATO’s Indo-Pacific partners, including Australia:

We can be oceans apart. But our security is closely linked. And we share the same values, interests and concerns. This also includes supporting Ukraine.

Anthony Albanese attends a NATO summit in Madrid shortly after winning the 2022 federal election.
Luke Coch/AAP

The reason to attend

All this means that there are strong arguments for attending if possible. NATO is an important gathering of world leaders. As John Blaxland of the ANU post itthe chance to “press the flesh” with world leaders is part of the “process of building relationships with key heads of state from key partner countries.”

If Australia is to be taken seriously, it needs to show up. And given Australia’s location, the reality is that most of the time Australians are the ones who need to travel. If we waited for all NATO leaders to visit Australia, it would take literally decades.

It is clear that the Albanians recognize this. He attended last year’s NATO summit in Madrid not long after the election, proverb “it was important for Australia to be represented”.

The danger of negativity

Shadow Foreign Secretary Simon Birmingham has urged Albanians to attend this year’s summit he said would “demonstrate Australia’s 100% commitment to the rules-based order, our democratic partners and the defense of Ukraine”.

But it’s worth noting that others had a different reaction last year. After Albanian went to the top in Madrid, his travel schedule was criticized Shadow Treasurer Angus Taylor, Shadow Immigration Minister Dan Tehan And National Party Leader David Littleproud. He saw negative comment And keep track of news broadcasts how many days he had been out of the country.

When he returned from the NATO summit and visited Ukraine, Albanian was forced to defend his trip. He described criticism compare this to his predecessor Scott Morrison’s trip to Hawaii during the 2019-2020 wildfires as “beyond all sane”.

Supporting our leaders to make an international impact

At the moment it is not yet clear whether Albanians will attend the NATO summit. He is currently on leave and Acting Prime Minister Penny Wong said she would not announce the schedule of Albanian.

If media reports that he won’t be attending turn out to be true, I hope the only reason is a simple scheduling conflict. Albanian has a series of upcoming travel commitments, including the coronation of Charles III in the UK and the G7 meeting in Japan, both in May. He will host leaders of the “Quad” countries in Australia, and there is speculation about trips to India, the US and China.

It is important for the national interest that both the public and political opponents support our leaders in their international engagement as an important part of their role in promoting Australia’s interests and representing us on the global stage.

As Albanian said in response to criticism of his 2022 trip, “We cannot separate international events from the impact on Australia and Australians”. This connection should be widely understood.

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