Author Archives: Richard Butler

Richard Butler

About Richard Butler

Richard Butler AC Former Ambassador to the United Nations, Executive Chairman of UN Special Commission to Disarm Iraq, Professor of International Affairs.

The US’ gravest pandemic: the assault on truth. 

The future of Democracy in America is at stake in the November election and, underlying this, is the future of its essential foundation – truth in public discourse.

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US: Grand Theft Election

Trump is working on stealing the result of the election in November. His main contention of political substance – that it is a “law and order” election – is shadowed by the actions he is taking to prevent an unhindered, … Continue reading

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Kamala Harris might ensure a fair fight

Joe Biden’s choice of Kamala Harris as his candidate for Vice President is outstanding. It takes the fight to Trump and Pence forcefully. Harris’ presence in the debates and the campaign will strengthen the possibility that the vote will be … Continue reading

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RICHARD BUTLER. Covid19 USA: The Human Exchange Rate   

Trump has now clarified that the meaning of the disaster that Covid-19 is posing to the US is that it could threaten his re-election. It is not a health problem. He thinks reopening the economy is his path to political … Continue reading

Posted in Health, World Affairs | 2 Comments

RICHARD BUTLER AND RICHARD WHITINGTON. “Manufactured Consent”. Think Tanks – two different animals.Part 4 of 4

In the last of this series examining the contemporary relevance of Noam Chomsky’s thesis on “Manufactured Consent”, Richard Butler says there is a sharp division between Think Tanks that mainly think and those that target specific interests.

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RICHARD BUTLER AND RICHARD WHITINGTON. “Manufactured Consent” in truth-deprived and electronic times.Part 2 of 4

This is the second in a series by Richard Whitington and Richard Butler about the contemporary validity of Noam Chomsky’s thesis on “manufactured consent”: the coalition of convenience between business, the military, the intelligence community and a complicit partner – … Continue reading

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RICHARD BUTLER Spaghetti Americana: US Middle east Policy

Trump’s agreement on the telephone with Erdogan that Turkey could go ahead and invade Kurdish Syria was a disaster; local and, geo-political.

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RICHARD BUTLER. Trump’s impeachment:By any decent standard?

  The Republicans have ensured that there is no decent standard under Trump. They will need to think again or allow Trump to burn down their house as he seeks to save himself from impeachment.

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RICHARD BUTLER. The Termination of a Terminator: John Bolton

The departure of John Bolton from the post of national security advisor to Trump removes from a crucial position a person whose belief in the US waging war on what he identified as its enemies was boundless. His recommendation for … Continue reading

Posted in Politics, World Affairs | 4 Comments

RICHARD BUTLER Trump’s Weapon of Choice: Animus

It is widely believed that Trump’s continually expressed animosity towards black and brown people, particularly Mexicans, his description of immigrants/asylum seekers as constituting an invasion of the US, an “infestation”, caused the mass murder at El Paso. Trump’s animus dominates … Continue reading

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RICHARD BUTLER-Fake News, Alternative Facts and now Alternative Intelligence

Trump has terminated the supremo of US intelligence, John Coats, and has nominated as the new Director of National Intelligence, Texas Congressman John Ratcliffe. His unstinting commitment to all things Trump and, his inexperience in intelligence and foreign affairs, would … Continue reading

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RICHARD BUTLER Australia can expect to be asked to take part in an attack on Iran: unless Putin saves us.

US hostility towards Iran has reached a threatening level. Disarray in policy making, lies and, the absence of any clear strategy is involved. War is now at hand and may even seem easier for the US. Australia must think through … Continue reading

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RICHARD BUTLER The Espionage Olympiad and the Art of “Plausible Deniability”.

If there was a competition between the key ways in which international relations is conducted, aside from the use of military force, then the area of intelligence gathering and the covert pursuit of national objectives – all-round spookery – would … Continue reading

Posted in Politics, World Affairs | 3 Comments

RICHARD BUTLER US Foreign Policy: Preference for Conflict

US foreign and military policy is thoroughly fused. The cliches which assert that: military postures are designed to shore up diplomacy and, the other favourite; articulated by the US in virtually every situation:- “all options are on the table”; do … Continue reading

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RICHARD BUTLER The Ostrich in the Room: The Alliance

The ostrich buries its head in the sand in the belief that what it can’t see isn’t there; won’t harm it. If perception is everything, the Ostrich has a point. But it isn’t and, the wilful exclusion from our recent … Continue reading

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RICHARD BUTLER Iran: Another US War by Choice

The character and political needs of President Trump and the obsessions of John Bolton are coalescing towards US action directed at regime change in Iran. The reasons given for the current increase in US military deployments in the Persian Gulf … Continue reading

Posted in World Affairs | 11 Comments

RICHARD BUTLER. Brexit: Wilful Blindness

The manic pursuit of Brexit by PM May, against all the facts and reason, dismisses any clear sight or recollection of the relevant history of Europe. Her actions will determine the future of the UK as presently constituted and, have … Continue reading

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RICHARD BUTLER -Rationality and Fairness in International relations

The reliable and stable conduct of international relations rests on two key assumptions: rationality and fairness. Both are in dangerously short supply today. When a new government is formed in Australia, it should at least make a start on correcting … Continue reading

Posted in Politics, World Affairs | 4 Comments

RICHARD BUTLER. Nuclear Nonsense

Nuclear Nonsense The profound hypocrisy of the ownership of nuclear weapons is growing. Sideshows such as those wanted by Trump, in Singapore and Hanoi will change nothing. A return to serious discussions by the two nuclear weapons mega-powers, Russia and … Continue reading

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RICHARD BUTLER. A Guessing Game

Trump’s extraordinary public attack on the whole of the US intelligence community has fuelled a guessing game: the well established one which questions the relationship between intelligence assessments and policy development; and, a current one, which questions whether Trump has … Continue reading

Posted in Defence/Security, World Affairs | 6 Comments

RICHARD BUTLER. Unconstitutional politics.

The evidence is now in.  Donald Trump wants a second term: his base is indispensible to this end; he must deliver on the biggest chunk of red meat he tossed it during the election campaign – the wall on the … Continue reading

Posted in Politics, World Affairs | 2 Comments

RICHARD BUTLER. Ethics Etherised

Based on the facts of his conduct of his office, and there is clearly much more to emerge, the end of Trump should be in sight. But, this is not certain to be achieved. To an unprecedented degree, the President … Continue reading

Posted in Asia, World Affairs | 2 Comments

RICHARD BUTLER. What is History?

President Macron’s warning against growing nationalism and the need to ensure the preservation of values, as against unalloyed selfishness in international relations, was an important way to mark the Centenary of the end of the First World War. Trump was … Continue reading

Posted in Asia, World Affairs | 5 Comments

RICHARD BUTLER. Will behaving like the 51st state of the United States win Wentworth for the Liberals?

Prime Minister Morrison has been channeling Donald Trump for the Wentworth By-Election, on two key policies and in his handling of the truth of important matters.

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RICHARD BUTLER. John Bolton’s speech: Hostility, misrepresentations, US self-regard.

Bolton’s authorized major speech on the International Criminal Court misrepresented it, expressed deep hostility to it, but was revealing of just how deeply entrenched in US foreign policy is the notion of US exceptionalism, under which it and Israel are … Continue reading

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RICHARD BUTLER. Trump: It’s not legal, it’s political and the jury’s out on that.

It should be anticipated that Trump will be found to have broken various US laws and, obviously, trashed established political and Constitutional rules. What it is decided should be done about this will not be guided by the law but … Continue reading

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RICHARD BUTLER. Foreign Policy on Auto-Pilot: In Spite of the Weather

Every week now, we are presented with another reason to think hard about exactly what our “joined at the hip” relationship with the US obliges us to do. July Bishop’s Foreign Policy White paper doesn’t meet that need. Indeed, it … Continue reading

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RICHARD BUTLER. Trump/Putin : Finnish Rhapsody

In a most unusual Trump/Putin media conference in Helsinki it seemed that the notably absent participant was Robert Mueller.

Posted in World Affairs | 4 Comments

RICHARD BUTLER. Trump Banishes Compassion: “zero tolerance”

The events at the US/Mexican border of the last days have been marked by: a quintessential Trumpian mix of lies, obfuscation, an Administration in disarray and, above all, cruelty, with children and infants as its victim.  There has been a … Continue reading

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RICHARD BUTLER. Singapore: Sound and Lights  

Trump told us that, in Singapore, he would make it up as he went along. It appears that he kept his word on that. Afterwards he told the world that if it all tanks, he will “make up an excuse … Continue reading

Posted in Defence/Security, World Affairs | 1 Comment