GRAHAM FREUDENBERG. Malcolm Turnbull’s response to the Korean crisis has been contemptible. 

In his grovelling ‘hip to hip’ statement on 10 August, he served up to the Australian people an utterly false and misleading version of the ANZUS Treaty and its meaning. 

Because of the grotesque character of the two principal figures, Kim III and Trump, this crisis is infinitely more dangerous than the Cuban Missile Crisis of October 1962. Not to mention the exponential increase in the power of even a single bomb since 1945.

To put Australia’s role in the context of ANZUS is the flea on the back of the elephant.

If we are bound to America ‘hip to hip’, it is certainly nothing to do with ANZUS, one of the sixty such treaties the US has with its allies. All that ANZUS says is that the parties will consult according to their constitutional processes. With Trump as President, America’s constitutional processes are in chaos.

If the crisis comes to the use of nuclear weapons, Australia’s involvement will not be through ANZUS, but the use of Pine Gap and other American installations in Australia; and this will raise not only the question of Australian sovereignty, but our involvement in the worst crime against humanity in history.

An Australian Prime Minister who understood his duty to his country and the world would, at this stage of the crisis, be emphasizing the historic importance of China’s vote in the United Nations Security Council.

So would a sane and responsible President of the US.

There is a kind of Plutarchian symmetry in the political lives of these clowns – between Turnbull and Abbott, and between Trump and Kim – fundamentally weak ignoramuses clawing away at each other to prove their manhood.

By what right do these pygmies – all of them mere accidents of a perverted history – toy in this way with the lives of millions and the future of civilization?

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John Laurence Menadue is the publisher of Pearls & Irritations. He has had a distinguished career both in the private sector and in the Public Service.

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