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Politics abroad

Submitted by Guest Contributor on September 20, 2007 - 7:50pm.
Burma: The alms bowl and the duty to defy
The giving and receiving of alms is a profound act of adherence to the teachings of Gautama Buddha and among the most meritorious of acts. Only under the most compelling moral circumstances will a monk refuse the alms that have been offered, as to do so is to refuse to acknowledge the alms-giver as a part of the religious community. However, the view of monks in Burma today is that such an extraordinary moment has arrived.
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Submitted by PF Journey on September 8, 2007 - 12:49am.
Pandaring to the China: the mis-opportunity of APEC.
"In the 80s, my wife and I, together with our daughter, went to China to work. We particularly like Beijing. We like the atmosphere of Beijing, her people and her culture. Twenty years later, my little daughter has now married an Australian Chinese. My son is also now enrolled to study at the Fudan University in Shanghai. My youngest son, who is still in junior high school, usually he is rather naughty and does not like to do home work, but recently he has also started to learn the Chinese language." Rudd to Hu
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Submitted by Henry di Suvero on August 15, 2007 - 4:33pm.
The Censor and the Pamphleteer
David Marr’s impassioned opening day public lecture at the 2007 Byron Bay Writer’s Festival, exposing and condemning Howard’s suppression of free speech and dissent, ended with a call to action to the assembled literati to fight Attorney General Ruddock’s proposed amendment to the Film and Literature Classification (i.e censorship) Act. … When Marr ended to loud applause and the crowd was exiting, flushed by the call to arms to defend free speech, I began to distribute two flyers I had prepared critiquing two journalists … who would appear later in the Festival program.
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Submitted by Richard Tonkin on August 3, 2007 - 9:45pm.
Australian 'aid' for Iraq a cover to enrich our companies: Aidwatch
The watchdog organisation Aidwatch has released a report today which found that Australian aid money has been used in Iraq to rework the country to suit international corporations. Our Foreign Minister's response was to brand Aidwatch an extremist organisation.
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Submitted by Chris Saliba on July 30, 2007 - 10:55am.
Chris Saliba reviews Barack Obama's 'Thoughts on reclaiming the American dream'
Call me naive, but I’m hoping Barack Obama becomes the fourty-fourth American president. He’s no political saviour, but he could point us in a better direction.
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Submitted by Roger Fedyk on July 24, 2007 - 11:07am.
'Scorcher: the dirty politics of climate change'
It is tempting to lay the blame on Howard and his government for what has been done in our name but, at the end of the day, it is the Australian public with whom much of the fault lies. We have been gullible and self-absorbed. As a nation, we do not really take the threat of global warming seriously. The disengagement by the public at large has allowed our politicians of both major political persuasions to give our big polluters a free ride.
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Submitted by Malcolm B Duncan on July 18, 2007 - 10:50am.
Gored or Gawd? Malcolm B Duncan's review of Al Gore's book pt 1
I cannot but see, on my reading of this book and his environmental arguments, that good ol’ Al is one of the major assailants.    His hero appears to be the well known tergiversator, Abraham Lincoln, constantly described as “our greatest president”.    Call me old fashioned but I have never thought entry into civil war singled anyone out for greatness.   The only one of note that comes readily to mind as dying in his bed is Cromwell who, very wisely, stayed away from theatres.
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Submitted by Margo Kingston on July 12, 2007 - 2:05pm.
Indefinite detention by any other name
The Law Council of Australia today issued its considered position on the new terror laws in the light of their effect in practice. Here is its press release. Webdiary has campaigned for many years on the necessity of stopping the government, any government, from having the sole right to breach our democratic rights. The citizens in a democracy are supposed to live under the Rule of Law, not of men, and that offers the fundamental protection of citizens against arbitrary action by a government is the only real protection any of us have against governments taking away our freedoms to suit their political agenda.
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Submitted by Margo Kingston on June 29, 2007 - 5:16pm.
Downer all the way with Israel
"A lot of people ask me why I seem to be so committed to Israel - I mean, I’m a Christian, not Jewish and although I remember staying here in this hotel about three years ago ... and I think I could almost be described as an honorary Jew with a lot of the views that I hold about the issues that Jewish people confront.  But a lot of people do ask me why I am so committed to Israel.  And I think there are a variety of explanations for that.  One of them is a bit historic and I think some of you have heard me say this before.  When I was a child at school and subsequently when I went to university in England, for no particular reason, Jewish people seemed to befriend me as some other people did as well [laughter], but I seemed to have quite a lot of Jewish friends." Alexander Downer
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Submitted by Melody Kemp on June 20, 2007 - 6:02pm.
Human rights are for all of us
As the Sydney APEC meeting draws closer and and the city closed to its citizens, it is becoming alarmingly clear that Australians are giving away the rights that they have fought for and subsequently taken for granted. So when I received this from my friends in the exiled Burmese trade union movement, I was taken aback. It reminded me that we are not much different from all those in the world who awake and find their lives monitored, their phones tapped, their movements and travel restricted.
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Submitted by Sol Salbe on June 18, 2007 - 2:17pm.
Has the Palestine problem slipped back decades?
So which was the real coup? Hamas's bloody attack on the violent gangsters allied to Fatah who have terrorised Gaza for a year? Or Abbas's eventual unconstitutional moves with the US’s backing? Either way, once again it is Palestinians who will suffer.
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Submitted by Margo Kingston on June 13, 2007 - 2:05pm.
Coping with the media, by Tony Blair
"I am going to say something that few people in public life will say, but most know is absolutely true: a vast aspect of our jobs today - outside of the really major decisions, as big as anything else - is coping with the media, its sheer scale, weight and constant hyperactivity. At points, it literally overwhelms." Tony Blair
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Submitted by Guest Contributor on June 4, 2007 - 11:09am.
Hillary eyes her voters
The Adelaide Advertiser's Senior Features Writer, Samela Harris, is currently in the US, from where she's putting up a blog called Primary Number. Here is her account of watching Hillary go about her business.
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Submitted by Guest Contributor on May 27, 2007 - 7:43am.
Downer & Rice & Missiles & stuff
Joint press conference by Condoleezza Rice and Alexander Downer earlier this week.
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Submitted by David Roffey on May 2, 2007 - 12:22pm.
Israel, Lebanon, Winograd
"An instant poll for Israel's Channel 10 sought to discover how many people would vote for Olmert if elections were held today. The answer was 0%, surely a political first in any country at any time."
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Submitted by Guest Contributor on April 11, 2007 - 2:17pm.
A Surreal Moment: Dam Lao
A meeting with the World Bank International Advisory Group on the Nam Theun 2 Dam in Laos
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Submitted by Richard Tonkin on March 28, 2007 - 3:43pm.
The "Trial" of David Hicks
"The circumstances of the last 24 hours indicate the fairly shambolic nature of the proceedings."
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Submitted by Craig Rowley on March 27, 2007 - 10:54am.
Bürgerfest in Berlin
Leaders of the European Union gathered in Berlin this weekend for a grand birthday feast celebrating half a century of European integration. To mark the occasion, they have revealed The Berlin Declaration.
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Submitted by Guest Contributor on March 13, 2007 - 11:45am.
An Agenda For Shared Prosperity
Paul Krugman recently delivered the keynote speech at the Economic Policy Institute's second Agenda for Shared Prosperity event. Webdiarist Peter Hindrup recommends we read this interesting speech and open a conversation about it as "apart from anything else it might just shake some of regulars from their entrenched positions and create a real debate."
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Submitted by Project Syndicate on February 27, 2007 - 7:48pm.
The Judicial Massacre of Srebrenica
"The fundamental problem with the ICJ’s decision is its unrealistically high standard of proof for finding Serbia to have been legally complicit in genocide.": Antonio Cassese, the first President of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia
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Submitted by Peter Singer on February 15, 2007 - 1:00pm.
America the Hypocritical
As long as it continues to hold and abuse prisoners without giving them a fair trial, America’s professed ideals will continue to sound to the rest of the world like the deepest hypocrisy.
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Submitted by Project Syndicate on February 12, 2007 - 11:53pm.
China’s Rogue Fireworks
China’s courtship of resource-rich Third World tyrannies and its recent step toward the weaponization of outer space undermines its carefully crafted new image as a paragon of “harmonious” social development. So to continue to give China “exceptional” treatment given today’s Chinese behavior will undermine its ability to become a nation capable of exercising responsible global leadership.
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Submitted by Joseph Nye on February 10, 2007 - 6:31am.
Russia's Fragile Power
Faced with uncertainty about the future of liberal democracy in Russia, how should western countries respond? This question is particularly difficult for the Bush administration, which is torn between the president’s early endorsement of Putin and his pro-democracy agenda.
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Submitted by Craig Rowley on February 8, 2007 - 11:07pm.
What if ...? Solving the Iran stand-off
I have been mulling over a question or two. 'What if ...' questions. They are future focused, solution focused questions that ask what if we could do something. What if we could work through a problem together?
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Submitted by Guest Contributor on February 5, 2007 - 2:59am.
The War You Never Heard Of
Lao has had a low level insurgency since 1975 when the Pathet Lao took government. But that might be about to wind down.
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Submitted by Project Syndicate on February 2, 2007 - 9:02pm.
Europe’s Next Move
"No amount of finger pointing can obscure the fact that, 50 years after the European Community’s creation, Europe badly needs a new political framework, if not a new project, to shore up its unity.": Bronislaw Geremek
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Submitted by Project Syndicate on January 18, 2007 - 7:19am.
European Discrimination on Trial
"What good are Europe’s treaties aimed at ensuring the legal equality of all citizens when entire groups face systematic discrimination? That is the question that the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) faces this week." Robert Badinter
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Submitted by Project Syndicate on January 12, 2007 - 7:55am.
Central Asia’s Other Turkmenbashis

"A dictator’s sudden death almost always triggers political instability. But it is doubly dangerous when it poses a risk of region-wide destabilization and a scramble for influence among the world’s greatest military powers – the United States, Russia, and China." F Stephen Larrabee

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Submitted by Melody Kemp on January 10, 2007 - 7:18am.
Burma Goes Ballistic

"Heavy sighs and teeth sucking have become commonplace in Washington and UN circles as diplomats and hard heads consider what to do about North Korea’s and Iran’s nuclear ambitions. Burma, whose secretive and murderous government recently literally headed for the hills, seems to have escaped the hard laser beam of disapproval, despite its own leading role, and nuclear objectives.": Melody Kemp

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Margo Kingston Photo © Elaine Campaner

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