Helpem FrenMichael Wesley
History, geopolitics, blood feuds and the ingredients of a successful Australian armed intervention. In 2003 Australia conceived, financed and led a Pacific-wide intervention into Solomon Islands to prevent the collapse of that state. The Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI) was to remain there for fourteen years, costing over $2 billion and involving thousands of soldiers, police and public servants from Australia and across the Pacific. It was remarkably successful in an age of disastrous interventions. And yet, by the time it was withdrawn, RAMSI had largely vanished from the Australian public's mind. Helpem Fren is the first comprehensive history of Australia and the RAMSI intervention. Drawing on still-classified official documents and over thirty interviews, it records the preconditions, motivations and dynamics of RAMSI between 2003 and 2017. Providing an intimate look at the challenges of interventions and development assistance generally, Helpem Fren is also a portrait of the personalities involved and the complex interactions between two systems that couldn't be more different in culture, wealth, size and capacity. As Australia confronts the most challenging environment in the Pacific for seventy years, Helpem Fren offers readers a deeper understanding of the recent history of Australia's involvement with Solomon Islands and the Pacific.