Sunday 23rd of February 2020

the US/china aussie syndrome...

the elders  Malcolm Fraser occupies a rather unique place in Australia as someone who has, at different times, managed to incense both ends of the political spectrum. If nothing else this is indicative of someone who has a capacity to change his position over the course of a lifetime. Fraser’s new book, Dangerous Allies, seems certain to cement his place as an unexpected, late-blooming radical.

The content of Dangerous Allies will be familiar to anyone who has taken an interest in Fraser’s recent career as a polemicist and public intellectual. The principal focus of this book is Australia’s relationship with the United States, and what Fraser describes as the associated dangers of “strategic dependence”.

Simply put, this is a consequence of the belief that Australia’s security is best guaranteed by the cultivation of what former prime minister Robert Menzies famously described as “great and powerful friends”.

Fraser’s argument is that while strategic dependence may have been understandable and defensible during the early years of Australia’s post-colonial history and the Cold War, it is now a liability, and a potentially dangerous one at that. Whatever one thinks of Fraser’s arguments in favour of this position, the chapters devoted to these periods are impressively scholarly and – especially in the more recent periods – enlivened with anecdotes of the when-I-spoke-to the-president variety.

One of the reasons this book is likely to upset so many on the conservative side of politics is not simply because Fraser adopts such an iconoclastic attitude toward the centrepiece of Australian security policy for more than half a century, but because he’s scathing about the some of the icons of the Liberal Party, too. 

Menzies suffered from a “great misunderstanding” about the importance of Britain, Fraser contends, while Howard further entrenched the culture of strategic dependence on the US to the detriment of our regional relations.

By contrast, Fraser gives some Labor luminaries such as Gough Whitlam and especially Doc Evatt great credit for attempting to carve out a more independent foreign policy. The current generation of Labor leaders, however, suffer from the same “bipartisan failure” that has circumscribed our capacity to make separate strategic decisions from the US. The net result, Fraser argues, is that:

We have significantly diminished our capacity to act as a separate sovereign nation.

No doubt the present government – and opposition, for that matter – will dismiss such claims out of hand. So too will the great majority of strategists in Canberra, be they military or civilian. But Fraser is surely right to question the supposed benefits that have accrued to Australia from participation in wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. 

Significantly, Fraser is more equivocal about Vietnam (where he had ministerial responsibility), although much the same could have been said about that conflict too.


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nothing changed much, except the price of beer...

in my day


Washington (CNN) A Republican member of one of the House committees involved in the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump said Sunday that information provided about Trump during a closed-door deposition of a former National Security Council official "is alarming" and "not OK." 

"Well, of course, all of that is alarming. As I've said from the beginning, I think this is not OK. The President of the United States shouldn't even in the original phone call be on the phone with the president of another country and raise his political opponent," Rep. Mike Turner, an Ohio Republican, told CNN's Jake Tapper on "State of the Union." "So, no, this is not OK," he added on Sunday. 

On Saturday, Morrison testified that US ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland was acting at Trump's instruction in his dealings with Ukraine. According to Morrison's deposition, Sondland said the President told him that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky "must announce the opening of the investigations" into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden. Morrison also testified that US aid to Ukraine was conditioned on the country announcing an investigation into the Bidens. There is no evidence of wrongdoing by either Biden in Ukraine.Read more:
There is no evidence of wrongdoing by either Biden in Ukraine — except that Joe Biden DEMANDED THE SACKING OF a prosecutor in Ukraine — one which was was investigating a corrupt firm in which "the" Biden's son (Hunter) was raking in $12,500.00 a week as a whatever. Joe Biden CROWED that he managed to successfully get the sacking of the prosecutor, possibly by threatening not to pay promised loans to Ukraine, but who cares if this looks similar to Trump's demand, in which all the dues were paid and no threats were made?...

the loonies in kanbra play the human-rights card...

Senior Federal Government ministers have offered rebukes of China as more details emerge about the country's mass detention of more than 1 million Uyghurs.

Key points:
  • Marise Payne wants China to end the mass internment of its Muslim minorities
  • Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has also criticised China for its treatment of critical Liberal MPs
  • It has emerged that China has suspended a human rights program with Australia

Foreign Minister Marise Payne has demanded the country end the detention of Uyghurs in the western province of Xinjiang, while Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has criticised the country for banning two Liberal politicians from visiting.

The New York Times at the weekend revealed 400 pages of leaked internal Chinese Government documents that detailed how China organised the mass detention of more than 1 million people from the Uyghur Muslim minority.

"The entire report is concerning," Senator Payne said.

"The over a million individuals that we have seen detailed in that [report] — that is arbitrary detention, [and] there are other restrictive measures in place. 

"We very much seek the Chinese Government's amelioration of these circumstances. 

"They are not observant of appropriate human rights requirements."


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Proportionally, the AUSTRALIAN SYSTEM, INCLUDING THE POLICE, the populace AND PARLIAMENT, is far more racist and discrimatory than the Chinese. Foreign Minister Marise Payne does not have an ankle to stand on... 


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the view from another great...

Paul Keating has warned Australia’s approach to China has been supplanted by the phobias of security agencies and the hysteria of “pious” and “do-gooder” journalists.

In a typically excoriating speech, the former prime minister lambasted Australian security agencies and the media for their anti-China rhetoric, saying they failed to grasp the magnitude of shifting power in the Asia Pacific.

Keating accused the Australian media of “hysteria” and security agencies of undermining the nuance and flexibility of Australian diplomacy.

“My concern is that what passes for the foreign policy of Australia lacks any sense of strategic purpose,” he said in a speech to the Australian’s Strategic Forum event in Sydney.

“The whispered word of ‘communism’ of old is now being replaced by the word ‘China’.

“The reason that we have ministries and cabinets is that a greater and eclectic wisdom can be brought to bear on complex topics... this process is not working in Australia. The subtleties of foreign policy and the elasticity of diplomacy are being supplanted by the phobias of a group of security agencies which are now effectively running the foreign policy of the country.”

Keating said the Australian media had been “up to its ears” in drumming up anti-China hysteria. He singled out the Sydney Morning Herald and the Age, but also criticised the Australian, which was hosting the event Keating spoke at on Monday. He said the media wrongly equated the actions of individual businessmen or universities with the acts of the entire Chinese state. The long-term national interest should guide Australia’s approach to China, Keating said, not “pious”, “do-gooder” journalists who were “fed on leaks” from security agencies and failed to appreciate the magnitude of the shifting dynamics in the region.


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aussie human rights to live if your black?...

Residents of the One Mile Dam Indigenous town camp on the edge of Darwin's CBD say mixed messages from authorities over a demolition plan has left them unable to get answers and fearing for the future of their community.

Key points:
  • Residents were told most houses must be demolished because of safety concerns
  • Parts of the community are earmarked for redevelopment — a reality which is of great concern to residents
  • The status of the community's lease remains uncertain


The town camp's leader Mindy Timber and her daughter Rosemary said they were told by the NT Government's town camp housing maintenance contractor, Yilli Housing, about plans to demolish eight of the 10 houses and buildings at One Mile Dam because of safety concerns about the structures.

Yilli Housing's chief executive Leeanne Caton told them in a September meeting, which the residents were allowed to record, the organisation would "have to go in and knock down some of those shelters because they're unfit".

Mindy Timber said one of the eight houses to be demolished was her stepson's.



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