Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | News Flashes | Scoop Features | Scoop Video | Strange & Bizarre | Search

 


Guest Opinion: American In Canberra

American In Canberra


By Ilan Kelman

In John Howard's continuing successes at ingratiating himself with the White House, Australia has joined the American "coalition of the willing" to build a missile defence shield. Perhaps Howard is seeking the 2008 Republican Vice-Presidential nomination, perhaps he enjoys being a Blairite World American-Statesman (The Emperor's New Friends?), or perhaps he is just thrilled at the prospect of new techno toys: radar systems which track incoming ballistic missiles followed by lasers, rockets, and other interceptors for destroying the threats. If the shield works.

Not to put a damper on these invigorating plans nor on the Yankee-Aussie special relationship, but I am forced to wonder idly if the $50 billion over the next five years for the system is cost-effective. Remember, that's American dollars, not a South Pacific currency. Because, while I am certain that the American decision to go ahead with the missile shield is not in any way related to the amount of personal shares held in defence companies by members of the Republican party, for half that dosh, they could:

(a) Bribe the leaders of the rogue states into retiring to small, tropical islands and install other, more obedient rogues instead.

(b) Make significant inroads into poverty reduction, open-minded primary education, and sustainable livelihoods internationally, thereby stymieing terrorist recruitment.

(c) Buy every village on Earth a television, a satellite dish, a generator, and a 15-year supply of diesel plus a maintenance subcontractor, thereby ensuring that the next generation has neither the intelligence nor the initiative to launch a missile or to plant a bomb. At last: a foolproof (fool-creating) method for American ideals to conquer the world without resistance. A McD's shack could even be built next to each television!

Plus, with any of the above options, there's still $25 billion in the bank for Howard's and Bush's cronies to treat themselves to that spare Learjet or two for attending climate change conferences in style in order to present their anti-Kyoto stance. Not to mention hiring brainpower to work out why the September 11th terrorist attacks are being used as a justification for the missile shield. Would the new radar systems lock onto hijacked passenger jets and would the "interceptors" distinguish between evil Osamamen and innocent citizens?

Well, at least we have the comfort of knowing that Indonesia opposes the missile shield, since "dialogue and diplomacy would be far more effective". Pity that this principle was not enacted for East Timor, a country which would make far better use of a spare billion dollars or fifty.

*************

Dr. Ilan Kelman is the Deputy Director of the Cambridge University UK Centre for Risk In the Built Environment http://www.arct.cam.ac.uk/curbe


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Top Scoops Headlines

 

Werewolf: Living With Rio’s Olympic Ruins

Mariana Cavalcanti Critics of the Olympic project can point a discernible pattern in the delivery of Olympics-related urban interventions: the belated but rushed inaugurations of faulty and/or unfinished infrastructures... More>>

Live Blog On Now: Open Source//Open Society Conference

The second annual Open Source Open Society Conference is a 2 day event taking place on 22-23 August 2016 at Michael Fowler Centre in Wellington… Scoop is hosting a live blog summarising the key points of this exciting conference. More>>

ALSO:

Buildup:

Gordon Campbell: On The Politicising Of The War On Drugs In Sport

It hasn’t been much fun at all to see how “war on drugs in sport” has become a proxy version of the Cold War, fixated on Russia. This weekend’s banning of the Russian long jumper Darya Klishina took that fixation to fresh extremes. More>>

ALSO:

Binoy Kampmark: Kevin Rudd’s Failed UN Secretary General Bid

Few sights are sadder in international diplomacy than seeing an aging figure desperate for honours. In a desperate effort to net them, he scurries around, cultivating, prodding, wishing to be noted. Finally, such an honour is netted, in all likelihood just to shut that overly keen individual up. More>>

Open Source / Open Society: The Scoop Foundation - An Open Model For NZ Media

Access to accurate, relevant and timely information is a crucial aspect of an open and transparent society. However, in our digital society information is in a state of flux with every aspect of its creation, delivery and consumption undergoing profound redefinition... More>>

Keeping Out The Vote: Gordon Campbell On The US Elections

I’ll focus here on just two ways that dis-enfranchisement is currently occurring in the US: (a) by the rigging of the boundary lines for voter districts and (b) by demanding elaborate photo IDs before people are allowed to cast their vote. More>>

Ramzy Baroud: Being Black Palestinian - Solidarity As A Welcome Pathology

It should come as no surprise that the loudest international solidarity that accompanied the continued spate of the killing of Black Americans comes from Palestine; that books have already been written and published by Palestinians about the plight of their Black brethren. In fact, that solidarity is mutual. More>>

ALSO:


Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Top Scoops
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news