Category: International Affairs
I find it amazing that Rudd is considering leaving the election campaign to go to the G20 conference to talk about Syria. Maybe he realises that he is going to lose the election and so might as well have one final overseas junket?
In any case, I don’t think launching a few missiles into Syria is going to stop anyone from using chemical weapons. Let’s face it, Syria is on the other side of the planet; we have no connection whatsoever to Syria; our Navy does not have long range cruise missiles and we are not about to send over a squadron of Hornets with their JASSMs. So from Australia’s perspective, as horrible as the situation is, Syria is basically a non-issue. There is nothing we can or are prepared to do other than talk.
Sober reading on China’s incredible level of indebtedness and shrinking labour market:
The IMF’s Article IV report on China states – as clearly as the IMF dares – that excess credit has been pushed to the outer limits of sanity, and that there is a growing risk of an “adverse feedback loop” as the financial system and the economy take each other down in a mutually reinforcing spiral….Loans have jumped from $9 trillion to $23 trillion since 2008, a faster pace of debt build-up than in any major episode of the past century.
Not sure if this includes around $2 trillion in Chinese provincial and city government debt. Interesting to note also that relative to the USA, China’s per capita growth rate has not been as strong as Japan’s and Korea’s was during the 1950s and 1960s. Growth is now slowing.
So what’s Rudd’s response? More debt, tax, welfare and regulation…..
Wayne Swan is already taking money out of people’s superannuation accounts here in Australia.
SIX years of Labor government, by this year’s election in September, will result in a new Australia. We have contracted the European disease. Labor has taken us towards the most spectacularly unsuccessful model of government in the developed world today. We will have almost all the European pathologies but none of the European security of a big local market and a benign security environment.
From our southern waters:
A JAPANESE military ship has joined its whaling fleet in the Southern Ocean, increasing tension between whalers and activists after collisions last week.
The 140m-long Shirase icebreaker, operated by the navy and described by activists as “intimidating”, arrived near the Nisshin Maru whaling ship and Korean-flagged fuel tanker Sun Laurel in Australia’s Antarctic territory early yesterday morning, Sea Shepherd Captain Paul Watson said.
Let me preface what I am about to write by stating:
- I don’t believe anything the people associated with the Sea Shepherd (SS) say;
- I don’t necessarily have a problem with whaling as long as it can be conducted in a sustainable manner; and
- Nations that engage in whaling must respect the territorial claims made by other nations when conducting harvest operations.
Having said all that the SS are serving a public good. Like a militia unit, the SS are harassing a foreign power (Japan), which has complete disregard to our territorial claims to Antarctica. It is an insult enough that Japan is even conducting economic activities in our Antarctic waters (they claim it is for scientific purposes) without our permission and without paying the requisite license fees to the Commonwealth (if whaling was legal), even worse is that whaling is an activity that Australians generally find offensive. It is like Japan is rubbing our noses in it. So as far as I am concerned, the SS can employ the full spectrum of non-lethal militia tactics against the Japanese to discourage them from whaling in our waters.
Japan may not recognise Australia’s claims over Antarctica, but our territorial claims are more credible than Japan’s claims that their whaling operations are for scientific purposes.
Yes, they are pirate-like:
A court in the US has labelled conservationist group Sea Shepherd “pirates”.
Judge Alex Kozinski said the group’s “aggressive and high-profile attacks” on Japan’s whaling fleet endangered lives, ordering them to stop.
He added that the illegality of whaling in Australian waters did not excuse Sea Shepherd’s activities.
Sea Shepherd argues that the US court has no jurisdiction over foreign-flagged vessels sailing in Australian waters with an international crew.
Don’t you think it is time the Australian government maned-up and did something about Japan willfully ignoring Australia’s territorial waters? For me the issue is not about whaling, but the integrity of Australia’s territorial interests. If Japan can get away with conducting whaling, or whatever other activity it might be, in Australia’s waters why wouldn’t some other nation at some point in the future also take advantage of our slack attitude to our own claims to certain territories? Yes, the SS are a bunch of you know what (Sir Francis Drake come to mind?), but the issue is not about the SS. Japan is conducting
scientific economic activities in our waters without our say and the Commonwealth is not doing anything about it.
The economic ‘powerhouse’ of the EU is in trouble:
The German economy contracted by a larger-than-expected 0.5 percent in the final quarter of 2012, a preliminary estimate from the Federal Statistics office showed on Tuesday, as the euro zone crisis weighed on exports and corporate investment.
Imagine if an Australian politician told the UK to get out of the EU so we could negotiate a FTA and NZ-like CER movement of people arrangement.
After observing the rise in popularity of Ukip and the rise of anti-European sentiment generally, the issue was raised by President Barack Obama in a video-conference call with the Prime Minister on Tuesday. It was also high on the agenda of a visit by a US national security council official to Downing Street and the Foreign Office earlier this week.
Palestine has been offered state hood four times – never by any Middle East country – and has rejected the offer every time. Palestine has also refused to recognise Israel’s right to exist.
So it is not entirely clear why the ALP would choose for Australia to abstain from a vote on granting Palestine ‘non-member observer state’ status at the UN. Australia has never done so before. Clearly the far left are now running the ALP.
WSJ, Alan Dershowitz :
Rather than condemn this pervasive violence, the U.N. has done everything in its power to reward it, including devoting special agencies entirely to Palestinians and their cause. Meanwhile, the U.N. and the international community have given the cold shoulder to Tibetans, Kurds and other stateless groups that have not used terrorism as their primary means of achieving recognition and statehood.
Yet the case for Palestinian statehood is far weaker because the Palestinians have been offered statehood on numerous occasions—1938, 1948, 2001 and 2007. On each occasion the Palestinian leadership has rejected the offer, choosing the gun and the bomb instead.
Hundreds of rockets fired into Israel in 2012, and counting.
All major Israeli political parties support a two-state solution and have done so for a long time. Hamas do not and you may as well add the ALP to that list as well.
Well, the USA has voted for failure and mediocrity…. and around $21 trillion in Federal US debt in four years time and nearly $240 trillion in unfunded liabilities.
I think the implications for Australia are pretty clear. The USA is in terminal decline due to a sluggish economy, high taxes and high debt. All of which will increase the risk to Australia’s financial and national security.
Niall Ferguson has estimated, along with our economic historians, that when a country starts spending between 40 to 50 per cent of revenue on interest payments on debt then that country goes into terminal decline.
Habsburg Spain defaulted on all or part of its debt 14 times between 1557 and 1696 and also succumbed to inflation due to a surfeit of New World silver. Prerevolutionary France was spending 62 percent of royal revenue on debt service by 1788. The Ottoman Empire went the same way: interest payments and amortization rose from 15 percent of the budget in 1860 to 50 percent in 1875. And don’t forget the last great English-speaking empire. By the interwar years, interest payments were consuming 44 percent of the British budget, making it intensely difficult to rearm in the face of a new German threat.
While “Net interest” payments are only around 10 per cent of US government revenue, this excludes interest payments on debt held by GBEs Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and the debt the US government has lent itself. If revenues remain stagnate and if inflation picks up, then essentially within about 10 years the US government will be getting close to Niall’s threshold.
Australia’s response? Low levels of government and private debt, less welfare and more spending on national defence. We need to prepare for a post-American world.
The EU did not bring peace to Europe. Millions of dead allied service personnel, along with US tax-payers, brought peace to Europe.