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.

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

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RICHARD BUTLER. Domestic fixation/ Foreign Salvation?  

Plainly Trump is fixated upon the domestic political scandals in which he is mired. The idea that he can find salvation through an achievement on the international stage is dubious. Whatever happens at the Summit with Kim Jong Un will … Continue reading

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RICHARD BUTLER. US Ultimatum to Iran: A Classic or a Fake?

Secretary of State Pompeo’s speech to roll out the US Plan B on Iran’s nuclear programme was an ultimatum and, a plan for regime change in Iran. The ultimatum will be rejected but without the classic follow up; in this … Continue reading

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RICHARD BUTLER. United States and Israel: Known By the Company We Keep.

In our voting with the US against a resolution of the UN Human Rights Commission to establish an independent enquiry into recent Israeli use of lethal force against Palestinian demonstrators, we have shown far and wide, our subservience to the … Continue reading

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RICHARD BUTLER. US and the Iran Agreement: True Lies and Chaos.

In explaining his decision on the US leaving the Iran nuclear agreement (JCPOA), President Trump told a number of true lies. His National Security Advisor, John Bolton, then told the truth: it was to conform with Israel’s wishes. Israel and … Continue reading

Posted in Politics, World Affairs | 2 Comments

RICHARD BUTLER. An Avalanche of Advocates

While the US will be without an Ambassador in Canberra for a while it can be forgiven for thinking it will be able to rely, on our own home-grown Alliance advocates.  

Posted in Asia, Politics, World Affairs | 3 Comments

RICHARD BUTLER. Admiral Harris is not coming: does it matter?

The decision by incoming US Secretary of State Pompeo, to withdraw the nomination of Admiral Harry Harris as US Ambassador to Australia, is something within his gift. Julie Bishop and Malcolm Turnbull had fervently welcomed the proposed appointment. Presumably she … Continue reading

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RICHARD BUTLER. Hypocrisy and Sanctimony: a Poisonous Brew.

The arguments advanced to justify the illegal US/French/UK attack upon Syrian CW related facilities incorporated buckets of sanctimony and numbing hypocrisy. There has been no serious discussion of the justification given by the three; because it was known to be … Continue reading

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RICHARD BUTLER. The US/DPRK Summit: War or Peace?

The planned Trump/Kim Summit has a clear choice between a negotiated solution, or war. There is a choice, whatever both sides may say. War is not unavoidable and if it were to occur it would be devastating.  

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RICHARD BUTLER. Turnbull and Trump: Meeting of Mates

It is not clear what this weeks US/Australia summit meeting will achieve. Both participants might welcome its optics, but each have other political needs. The critical issue for Australia is likely to be what exactly will Trump ask of Turnbull … Continue reading

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RICHARD BUTLER. The Right to Keep and Bear Arms; and to use them.

Guns and arms are embedded in US culture. It seems unable or unwilling to fix this, even though its people want it fixed.Its arms manufacturers are opposed to any solution. This shapes US foreign policy. Our engagement in this syndrome … Continue reading

Posted in Defence and Security, World Affairs | 4 Comments

RICHARD BUTLER. The Alliance: Deeper Thought Required Urgently.

This is not the time to deepen our commitment to the alliance and, become ever more involved in the US’ imperium and need for enemies. We need to think freshly about our international relations and security. The recent Foreign Policy … Continue reading

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RICHARD BUTLER. The State of the Union: Pantomime, With Menaces

Trump’s State of the Union speech was filled with menaces to enemies both foreign and domestic. US policy is now comprehensively militarized and in the hands of Trump’s Generals. It was a dangerous pantomime, with much cheering from Republicans who … Continue reading

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RICHARD BUTLER. The Real Danger: A New Nuclear Arms Race.

New US nuclear weapons policies, quantitative and qualitative will ensure that a new nuclear arms race proceeds. Global danger will increase as will the possibility of the use of nuclear weapons. Its not just Trump that is at issue. He … Continue reading

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RICHARD BUTLER. Resolution for 2018: convince our political leaders to work harder on establishing an independent Australian foreign policy.

Australia’s foreign policy must no longer be formed by the interests of the US military/intelligence/industrial lobbies or the neuroses of US domestic politics. 

Posted in Defence and Security, World Affairs | 3 Comments

RICHARD BUTLER. Turnbull and Trump: Everything Is Illuminated. – A REPOST

In New York, for the Coral Sea commemoration, Turnbull pledged permanent Australian fealty to the US and expressed agreement to Trump’s concept of “fake news”. Rupert Murdoch presided over the ceremony. Greg Norman was present as a witness. Very illuminating. … Continue reading

Posted in Defence and Security, World Affairs | 8 Comments

RICHARD BUTLER. 2018: La Commedia Continua?

Two new basic policy statements by Canberra and Washington offer no hope for a constructive engagement of either in finding multilateral solutions to major political and humanitarian problems.

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RICHARD BUTLER. The ring seems to be closing on the Trump Presidency

Every day brings deeper levels of concern about Trump’s conduct of his office. There is widening and, given American respect for the office itself, uncharacteristically public speculation about his fitness for it. The ring appears to be closing.       

Posted in World Affairs | 3 Comments

RICHARD BUTLER. Jerusalem: US Foreign Policy begins at home.

In fulfilling a campaign promise made to what he discerned to be an important part of his base, Christian evangelicals and Jewish Americans, that is, to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, Trump has: trashed all prior iterations of … Continue reading

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RICHARD BUTLER. North Korea joins the club

North Korea (DPRK) has made clear that it expects recognition as a nuclear weapon state (NWS). It has now implied, like most existing NWS, that it would follow a policy of “no first use”. US policy continues to be that … Continue reading

Posted in Asia, World Affairs | 2 Comments

RICHARD BUTLER. Making the use of nuclear weapons thinkable – again?

The Trump  Administration is preparing a new Nuclear Posture Review, (NPR) to be completed by early 2018. The instruction under which it is proceeding is to make US nuclear weapons more useable, in a variety of situations. It is being … Continue reading

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RICHARD BUTLER. The showdown between principles and interests.

The conflict between principles and interests now afflicting the US polity is stark. Participants from all sides of the political mainstream know that Trump’s presidency is proving disastrous and that they will need to act to rectify this. For now, … Continue reading

Posted in Politics, World Affairs | 7 Comments

RICHARD BUTLER. Iraq 2003: the Fabricated War of Choice

Gordon Brown has revealed a report showing that US intelligence Agencies knew Iraq did not have WMD and told the Bush Administration so. The invasion of Iraq was a war of choice, preferred by Bush, and Blair which Howard joined … Continue reading

Posted in World Affairs | 5 Comments

RICHARD BUTLER. The Alliance: The Facts and the Furphies

A review of how we conduct our alliance relationship with the US is urgently required, not simply because it has elected a President who is unfit for his job, but because of the US’ attachment to war.

Posted in Defence and Security, World Affairs | 7 Comments

RICHARD BUTLER. New Sanctions on North Korea: No substitute for direct political engagement

The new sanctions on DPRK will likely suffer the failure of so many such sanctions orders. DPRK policy and actions have their reasons. Those must be addressed directly, politically. Will the nuclear weapon states do it, or is it too … Continue reading

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RICHARD BUTLER. Anarchy restored: Trump and Kim jong un.

The dispute over the DPRK’s nuclear weapons program is a disturbing example of the renewal of anarchy as the main determinant in international politics. It is being conducted by two unreliable leaders. Intervention by saner states is needed urgently.  

Posted in Defence and Security, World Affairs | 2 Comments

RICHARD BUTLER. Iran: Trump is demanding fake facts.

President Trump is demanding that US intelligence agencies provide material on which he can base a declaration that Iran is not in compliance with the international agreement to curb its nuclear programme. The material does not exist, so they’ll need … Continue reading

Posted in Defence and Security, World Affairs | 3 Comments

RICHARD BUTLER. Trump’s “Principled Realism” : details withheld

President Trump’s speech on a new Afghanistan strategy was partly designed to mitigate the extreme harm he did by his Charlottesville outbursts.  Apart from claiming that the US would win in Afghanistan, no details were given.  He bashed Pakistan, embraced … Continue reading

Posted in Defence and Security, Politics, World Affairs | 6 Comments

RICHARD BUTLER. Has Bishop’s time come?

The publication by a leading journalist of an extraordinary puff piece on Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and her leadership skills, is bound to set political hares running. But, where to?

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RICHARD BUTLER. Turnbull’s Appalling Statement

Australia is not compelled to accompany the US in a war on North Korea, as PM Turnbull has asserted. His recent statement would seem to reflect his need to distract attention from the serious disputes within his government. That it … Continue reading

Posted in Defence and Security, Politics, World Affairs | 4 Comments