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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

swings and roundabouts « Previous | |Next »
July 16, 2003

North Korea has more relevance to Australia's long term strategic interests than Iraq ever did. It is all about ensuring regional stability and the balance of power by preventing civil war on the Korean Peninsula and ensuring that Japan and China are not threatened.

First we had the tough talk on the "rogue" North Korea about the possibility of nuclear war and military intervention; then the backpedalling by Alexander Downer when a North Korean spokesperson said if you bring the interdiction on we'll nuke ya; today the Iraqi-style war rhetoric has been replaced by the diplomacy through China and the despised United Nations.

In the backdown Alexander Downer, the gungho warrior posing as a diplomat, was reported as saying on Melbourne radio station 3AW that:

"We don't believe for a minute North Korea would launch some kind of nuclear attack against Australia, or have the capacity to fire nuclear missiles that sort of distance... "That's if they have any capacity to fire nuclear missiles at all."

Meanwhile in the US the war talk is about the US and North Korea drifting towards war, with an imminent danger of nuclear explosions in American cities.

Another tangled web is being woven, even if one agrees with Hugh White's argumentthat "Australia is right to support American plans for international co-operation to intercept exports of weapons of mass destruction."

I heard the American Ambassador on Radio National this morning stirring the fear factor by saying that Australia is threatened by missiles from North Korea.

This is more than the Howard Government being all over the place in their rhetoric. Blowing hot and cold on war is a familar pattern from Iraq to create the new bogeyman to shape public opinion.

Underneath the twists and turns the neo-con strategy is to allow provocative actions by US forces to destabilise and topple the dictatorial regime of Kim Jong-il. It is deploying aggressive military tactics to back the regime into a corner. Its the first steps in the new doctrine of pre-emptive strategy in which the US will respond to a belief that its security may be under threat.

"Belief" and "may be" are pretty vague terms, so the spin doctors create the image of the world beign a very dangerous place. So they talk in terms of rogue states, invading missiles, imminent threat, nuclear war for domestic consumption, security umbrellas, and ballistic missile defence programmes. On the domestic front the strategy is one of using national security issues to out manoeuvre their political opponents.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 11:59 AM | | Comments (1)


"The violent have been victorious for most of history because they kindled the fear with which everyone is born." - Theodore Zeldin, "An Intimate History of Humanity"