Author Archives: Ramesh Thakur

KIM OATES. An insidious tragedy

Imagine what would happen if a fully laden 747 airliner crashed in Australia every week for a whole year. There would be public outcry, an outrage, swift political action and  an enquiry at the highest level, possibly a Royal Commission.

Posted in Health | 2 Comments

PATRICK COCKBURN. The Drone Strikes on the Saudi Oil Facilities Have Changed Global Warfare (Counterpunch 24-9-19)

The devastating attack on Saudi oil facilities by drones and missiles not only transforms the balance of military power in the Middle East, but marks a change in the nature of warfare globally.

Posted in International Affairs | 4 Comments

RENUKA MAHADEVAN and ANDA NUGROHO. RCEP must move forward, with or without India (East Asia Forum 19-9-19)

As the international trading system grows increasingly strained under the escalating US–China trade dispute and the paralysis of WTO reform, many have eagerly called for the conclusion of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) by the end of 2019. The ASEAN-led initiative is … Continue reading

Posted in Asia, International Affairs | Comments Off on RENUKA MAHADEVAN and ANDA NUGROHO. RCEP must move forward, with or without India (East Asia Forum 19-9-19)

GEORGE MONBIOT. For the sake of life on Earth, we must put a limit on wealth (Guardian 19-9-19)

It is not quite true that behind every great fortune lies a great crime. Musicians and novelists, for example, can become extremely rich by giving other people pleasure. But it does appear to be universally true that in front of every … Continue reading

Posted in Politics | Comments Off on GEORGE MONBIOT. For the sake of life on Earth, we must put a limit on wealth (Guardian 19-9-19)

RAMESH THAKUR. Justin Trudeau is trashing his own brand

Canada’s PM Justin Trudeau is caught in a messy hypocrisy scandal, not a racism scandal. To be absolutely clear: Trudeau is not a racist, was never a racist and, in my judgment, has never behaved in a racist manner – … Continue reading

Posted in International Affairs, Politics | 1 Comment

ANDREW FARRAN. UK Supreme Court thwarts Boris’ sneaky exit from the EU

The implications of the UK Supreme Court’s decision in holding the Boris government’s Prorogation of Parliament as unlawful, null and void, have far reaching implications for the Westminster system both in the UK and elsewhere. As for Brexit, the decision … Continue reading

Posted in International Affairs | 2 Comments

JACK WATERFORD. Albanese’s race against time (Canberra Times 20-9-19)

On paper, Anthony Albanese has all the time in the world. The electorate is not paying any attention to defeated Labor at the moment, and won’t probably for at least another year. That’s time enough for a comprehensive review of … Continue reading

Posted in Politics | 6 Comments

ROSEMARY O’GRADY. For the Record

On the evening of Monday 16 September 2019 at a Melbourne bookshop, Allen & Unwin launched Fallen: The inside story of the secret trial and conviction of Cardinal George Pell by Lucie Morris-Marr.

Posted in Religion and Faith | 3 Comments

BILL MCKIBBEN. If the world ran on sun, it wouldn’t fight over oil (Guardian 18-9-19)

We are sadly accustomed by now to the idea that our reliance on oil and gas causes random but predictable outbreaks of flood, firestorm and drought. The weekend’s news from the Gulf is a grim reminder that depending on oil leads inevitably to … Continue reading

Posted in Politics | Comments Off on BILL MCKIBBEN. If the world ran on sun, it wouldn’t fight over oil (Guardian 18-9-19)

BENEDICT SHEEHY. Bupa’s nursing home scandal is more evidence of a deep crisis in regulation (The Conversation 13-9-19)

British health-care conglomerate Bupa runs more nursing homes in Australia than anyone else. We now know its record in meeting basic standards of care is also worse than any other provider.

Posted in Health | 1 Comment

RAMESH THAKUR. Nuclear arms treaty and umbrella states (Japan Times 12 Sep)

In 1984, U.S. President Ronald Reagan noted the nuclear emperor had no clothes: “The only value in our two nations [United States and Soviet Union] possessing nuclear weapons is to make sure they will never be used. But then would … Continue reading

Posted in Asia, International Affairs | 1 Comment

KEVIN RUDD. Australia destroys its own reputation in the Pacific (East Asia Forum 9-9-19)

The dust-up at the Pacific Islands Forum was not simply a zero-sum game between the Pacific and Australia over coal. While this may have been the tip of the spear, it went to a far deeper divide over climate and … Continue reading

Posted in Environment and climate, International Affairs | 1 Comment

ABUL RIZVI: Bob Birrell’s War on Partner Visas

The partner visa categories are for people who have formed a genuine relationship (formally married or de facto or prospective marriage) with an Australian citizen or permanent resident. In July 2019 Bob Birrell continued his long-standing war on partner visas, … Continue reading

Posted in Politics | 3 Comments

RYAN MANUEL. The United Front Work Department and how it plays a part in the Gladys Liu controversy (ABC News 15-9-19)

Gladys Liu is in hot water over her alleged association with the United Front Work Department of the Chinese Communist Party. Yet no-one has alleged that Ms Liu herself, nor the Liberal Party she belongs to, holds any communist sympathies. … Continue reading

Posted in Politics | 1 Comment

MIKE WALLER.What Westminster system, Prime Minister

“These core elements of the Westminster tradition are as important as they have ever been…” Scott Morrison Speech to IPAA “When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said…, ‘it means just what I choose it to mean…’ ’The question is,’ … Continue reading

Posted in Politics | 4 Comments

JOHN CASSIDY. Trump’s Awful Middle East Policies Are Coming Back to Haunt Him (New Yorker 17-9-19)

Trump’s in a pickle, and he’s the one responsible for it. By needlessly reneging on the U.S.-Iranian nuclear deal and launching a sanctions campaign that amounts to economic warfare against Tehran, he has strengthened the Iranian hard-liners and further destabilized … Continue reading

Posted in Politics | 2 Comments

MACK WILLIAMS. The CSIS report on Iran’s missile program

In The Iranian Missile Threat, published by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (Washington DC: 30 May 2019), Anthony Cordesman examines Iran’s view of the threat, the problems in military modernization that have led to its focus on missile … Continue reading

Posted in Politics | 1 Comment

FINIAN CUNNINGHAM. China Slaps Britain: You Can’t Afford Hostility (Strategic Culture 13-9-19)

China gave Britain a stern warning this week that any naval maneuvers conducted with the US near its declared territories in the South China Sea will be met with a military response. Beijing rapped London further, telling it to dump its “colonial … Continue reading

Posted in Politics | 2 Comments

AMY VERDUN. What to Make of the Win of the AfD in Germany? (Australian Outlook 13-9-19

On 1 September 2019, the German far right-wing political party, Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) had a historical win in state elections. It won 28 percent of the votes in Saxony and 24 percent of the votes in Brandenburg — the … Continue reading

Posted in International Affairs | 2 Comments

GEORGE FRIEDMAN. US Military Options in Iran (Geopolitical Futures 17-9-19)

The United States has openly accused Iran of being behind the drone and cruise missile attacks on Saudi Arabia’s largest oil refinery.

Posted in Politics | 3 Comments

NICOLA NYMALM. Washington’s old ‘Japan problem’ and the current ‘China threat’ (East Asia Forum 11 Sep)

In April 2019, Kiron Skinner — former director of policy planning at the US State Department — described Washington’s new China strategy as built on the understanding that the current clash with Beijing ‘is a fight with a different civilization and a … Continue reading

Posted in Asia, International Affairs | 1 Comment

ANDREW FARRAN: A diplomatic niche in early Australian-Afghan Relations

Given that Australia has been engaged in military operations in Afghanistan, in addition to military/civil reconstruction and stabilisation efforts, in the provinces for over 18 years, it is only appropriate that we should greet the publication of a considered history … Continue reading

Posted in Politics | 1 Comment

CLINTON FERNANDES. Worried about agents of foreign influence? Just look at who owns Australia’s biggest companies (Conversation 12-9-19)

The attention being given to possible covert influence being exercised by China in Australia shouldn’t distract us from recognising that very overt foreign influence now occurs through investment.

Posted in Economy, Politics | 3 Comments

TIMOTHY L. O’BRIEN. Trump Is Cornered by the Saudi Drone Attacks (Bloomberg 16-9-19)

Regarding the drone strikes on Saudi oil facilities, writes the executive editor of Bloomberg Opinion: “Not everyone is telling the truth here (although everyone might think they are) and any prudent response to the attacks hinges on more factual certainty.”

Posted in International Affairs | 1 Comment

GARETH EVANS. Emotion, reason and nuclear disarmament

I first came to Hiroshima in 1964 as a twenty-year old student, and it was one of the most formative experiences of my life. Nothing had quite prepared me for the experience of standing at the epicentre of that first … Continue reading

Posted in Defence/Security, International Affairs | 3 Comments

GEORGE GRUNDY. Already Gone

As the Democratic field narrows and the political commentariat speculate which candidate is best placed to defeat Donald Trump in 2020, America’s national conversation continues to ignore an elephant in the room – the profound threat to democracy posed by … Continue reading

Posted in Politics | 1 Comment

MOUIN RABBANI. Jerusalem and the Trump administration

In December 2017, the administration of U.S. president Donald Trump upended seventy years of U.S. policy by recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. In doing so, it also effectively recognized Israel’s sovereignty over the city.

Posted in International Affairs | Comments Off on MOUIN RABBANI. Jerusalem and the Trump administration

JACK WATERFORD. Politics and the rustle of folding money (Canberra Times 13-9-19)

I wouldn’t hang a dog on the evidence so far assembled in support of the proposition that Gladys Liu, Liberal MP for Chisholm, is an active agent of the Chinese government, engaged in nefarious and illegal activities against Australia. On … Continue reading

Posted in Politics | 1 Comment

JOHN ENGLISH. Canada goes to the polls: “It can’t happen here”.

Looking south as Canadians must and can do invariably provokes the comment, “It can’t happen here.” But it already has. While Donald Trump certainly cannot be replicated, the nativist, populist, and authoritarian tendencies of American Republicans have often appeared in … Continue reading

Posted in International Affairs, Politics | 1 Comment

ABUL RIZVI: Morrison’s Mixed Messages on Migration

A string of immigration related articles in The Australian on 5 September 2019 and on 7 September 2019 again dutifully conveyed the Government’s mixed messages on immigration policy without asking a single question about the inherent inconsistencies and loss of … Continue reading

Posted in Economy, Refugees, Immigration | Comments Off on ABUL RIZVI: Morrison’s Mixed Messages on Migration