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The John & Alex routine « Previous | |Next »
March 1, 2003

Have you noticed the routine?

Whilst John Howard is whipping up anxiety at home about Australia needing continental missile defences because North Korea just might fire missiles at us, Alexander Downer is travelling northern Asia doing the soothing routine selling a collective security pact and talking about trust between nations.

One script is for domestic politics the other script is for international politics.

The subtext that links the two is unilateralism and pre-emptive strike. That is the way the two scripts are being read in Indonesia, South Korea and North Korea. The US and its allies are flinching their muscles and have their finger on the trigger.

And the neo-cons? Well Greg Sheridan reinforces the Howard line, in his 'Facing up to a dark new world'. (no link) He says that North Korea:

" developing missiles that could reach Australia. The Howard Government used this as a rationale for investigating the developing missile defence technology....the more sobering reality is that over the next few yesars a range of Asian nations---China, India possibly Pakistan--- will develop missiles that can hit Australia. There is no reason to fear any of these nations."

We should query the routine by asking: where is the reason for why we should fear North Korea? Is the reason that North Korea is a rogue regime, that Pyongyang that is isolated and paranoid, and that is run by the dictatorial psychopath Kim Jong-il----as Paul Kelly maintains?

It is hard to take that seriously. As Brian Toohey observes in his 'Missile test puts Australia in a spin', (AFR, March 21, 2003, p. 51 no link.) 'North Korea has not yet tested a workable intercontinental ballistic missile, let alone one that could deliver a functioning nuclear warhead.'

So let us call a spade a spade. There is no strategic reason for North Korea to attack Australia even if it had the capacity to do so. The threat is being used by the national security state is being used to increase the level of anxiety within Australia. It is a deliberate political strategy of general alerts medium level threats, hostile dark worlds, hostile nation states.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 11:36 AM | | Comments (0)