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‘The world is bloody messy’: Jacinda Ardern urges end to ‘black-and-white’ view of global conflict

The world is “bloody messy” but must take a step back from polarisation and black-and-white approaches to conflict, Jacinda Ardern has said in a wide-ranging speech in which she addressed the war in Ukraine and rising tensions with China.

In a speech to foreign policy thinktank the Lowy Institute in Sydney, the New Zealand prime minister decried Russia’s “morally bankrupt” war in Ukraine – but also argued against the hardening of alliances, saying that the war should not be presented as a conflict of “democracy v autocracy” or be seen as an inevitable direction for other tensions between competing nations.

“In taking every possible action to respond to Russia’s aggression and to hold it to account, we must remember that fundamentally this is Russia’s war,” she said.

“And while there are those who have shown overt and direct support … who must also see consequences for their role, let us not otherwise characterise this as a war of the west vs Russia. Or democracy v autocracy. It is not.

“Nor should we naturally assume it is a demonstration of the inevitable trajectory in other areas of geostrategic contest.”

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