Chinese Foreign Investment or Acquisition. May 2016

 

 

China Rising

In 1991 Mt, Pinatubo, Luzon, Philippines erupted with devastating  results, in addition to the appalling loss of life the eruption altered the Pacific balance of power and the course of history. The volcano destroyed two critical  American military bases, the Clark Air Force Base and the Subic Bay Naval Base, both enormous military arsenals.  America withdrew its assets to Alaska and Hawaii and immediately created a military vacuum. Within months of this withdrawal the Chinese Government promulgated a far reaching decree., “The Law on the Territorial Waters and their Contiguous Areas”. From this all else follows.

With the rise of China manifested by the Chinese Dream and the One Belt One Road aspiration contemporaneously with the Australian mining boom, it is interesting to dwell on the concepts of Foreign Investment versus Foreign Acquisition as they apply to Australian assets.

 

One belt one Road
One Belt One Road. Asian Century Overland and Maritime Trade Routes
(www.china.comfocus)

Germaine to this discussion are four factors relevant to Australian and Chinese commercial and strategic imperatives. (Professor Bath, Chinese and International Law, Sydney University)

  • Australia sees itself as a reliable supplier of minerals and agricultural products; China encourages the acquisition of natural resources to service national growth and its millions of citizens.
  • Australian companies invest for a commercial return; Chinese companies, some with links to Government agencies, are required to supply imports necessary for Chinese growth, profit for the overseas entities is less important.
  • Australia’s capitalist ethos requires returns to shareholders; China’s objective is to sustain growth over generations, profit is secondary. Three year political cycles and associated budgetary gymnastics are viewed with contempt.
  • The Australian government maintains a foreign investment oversight via the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) on media, banking, airlines, airports and telecommunications.  In Australia, China is making significant acquisitions in ports, power companies as well as mining and agricultural projects  These are also subject to FIRB scrutiny with value or national security implications. China’s acquisition of Darwin port or south east Australian power companies appear to have other objectives than purely commercial.

Within informed society, Australia’s relationship with China is an important issue. For China, Australia is only a pawn in a grand expansionist strategy. Integral to the Chinese Dream  are the commercial imperatives of the One Belt One Road policy. This policy is to revive trade and commerce along the ancient Silk Road linking China to western Europe augmented by the maritime trading routes that linked East Asia, East Africa, the Arab Middle East and thence to Venice.

This initiative has been dubbed China’s ‘Marshall Plan’ as it will promote trading links with countries along the transport corridors. This initiative will tend to reduce the importance of the North West Passage as Arctic sea ice retreats. In this grand scheme, Australia appears to be relegated to a ‘colonial ‘ source of minerals and agricultural products specifically for Chinese consumption.

 

China Marshall Plan
The Chinese ‘Marshall Plan’. Chinese Trade along the Maritime Route. (www.csa.com)

It has been noted by Professor Hugh White, Strategic Studies Institute, Australian National University, that the acquisition of Darwin Port by the aptly named Landbridge company, with links to the Chinese government, may be a clue to Chinese ambition for Australia. The urban population of Shanghai is around twenty-two million; Australians must come to terms with the fact that, with a population around twenty-four million, a projection of national influence will be difficult.

 

Chinese Iron Ore Acquisition

Superficially, the foreign acquisition of iron ore mines in Western Australia appears to be a complex of large and small producers jostling for sales contracts; the reality is more sinister. The big picture reduces to a Chinese determination to break the monopoly held by Rio Tinto, BHP/Billiton and Vale de Rio Doce in Brazil. In 2013-14 Chinese steel mills imported 850 million tonnes of iron ore. Australian production was around 610 mt.

To force lower prices, Chinese companies acquired mines with only a modest production of five to fifteen million tonnes. These high cost operations tend to run close to break-even or a small loss. Falling iron ore prices thus means lower feedstock prices to the Chinese steel industry. For every $10 drop in iron ore prices the Chinese economy saves $8.5 billion.  The $70/tonne drop in iron ore prices since 2013 has saved the Chinese economy more than $40 billion. (The Conversation, Canberra. May, 2014)

The Chinese government is astute enough to realise that:

  • increasing supply in an inelastic market, mine revenue will fall but buyers will receive more for less money.
  • upstream investment from unprofitable mine production makes economic sense. This is another form of transfer pricing beloved by multi-national foreign investors.
  • new production onto an oversupplied market is warranted under a Chinese procurement policy, but would not be considered rational by investors not involved into a vertically integrated process.

At any time, production from mines can be halted and the plant mothballed or restarted by a Chinese controlled Australian work force. The concern for the Australian Government is the future of infrastructure, population stability and employment continuity if Chinese state funded entities are investing in new production to force down prices rather than develop a  profitable mining venture.

The economic politics of the West Australian iron ore industry, like a good strip tease, has been laid bare. The State Government will extend its Magnetite Financial Assistance Program for another year to two wealthy Chinese companies in an effort to preserve Australian mining jobs. The government will pay a $41 million subsidy to keep the 1000 strong work force  in employment. The Chinese companies, Citic (profit $7.3 billion) and Ansteel operate the Pilbara Sino Ore and Karara magnetite deposits. Gindalbie Metals Ltd is the minority Australian partner. It appears Chinese mineral acquisition policy has engineered the Australian political system to subsidise local mining operations that ensures low operating costs that maximises profits in China by ensuring low cost feed stock for Chinese steel mills. (The Australian, 13 May, 2016)

Despite the reliability of Western Australia iron ore industry, there are warnings on the horizon. The Chinese objective is to diversify away from Australia and to a lesser extent Brazil as pre-eminent suppliers of iron ore, there may be a myopic tendency to regard Western Australia as an unassailable source of iron ore. There are monster deposits awaiting exploitation in sunburnt or freezing country in Guinea, Liberia, Mongolia and Brazil. (Fortune, Connected Logistics, February, 2016)

Concerning Brazil, it is a stirring giant. By 2018, Vale de Rio Doce is slated to exceed the combined production of Rio Tinto and BHP/Billiton in Western Australia. Currently, China is contributing $5 billion to Vale for the construction of five high tonnage iron ore carriers. (Investing News, November 2015; SMH, January 2014)

 

New Iron Ore Carriers
New Iron Ore Carriers for Brazil. (abc.net.au Kathy Diss)

A conclusion that may be drawn from Chinese acquisition in the Australian iron ore industry, is that economic production in Australia is less important than the ability to source low cost feed stock for Chinese steel mills. This import policy will drive prices down.

In the frenetic fish bowl that small Australian mining entrepreneurs inhabit, the public are encouraged to support Initial Public Offerings (IPOs). Subsequent joint ventures with Chinese acquisitors will ultimately drive share prices into the bulldust to ensure low cost mine product. The Pilbara and Hammersley iron ore provinces have competitors overseas.

Chinese Lithium Acquisition

More than one million electric cars were anticipated to be in circulation by the end of 2015 with a planned 500,000 annual production by 2020. Lithium for car batteries are expected to grow by 10% a year. According to the United States Geological Survey (USGS), global reserves of lithium are in very tight supply,. The top four producers are:

TABLE.  Lithium Producers

CountryProduction (tonnes)Reserves & Resources (tonnes)Ore Type
Chile12,0007,500,000Brine
China5,0003,500,000Pegmatite
Australia13,0001,500,000Pegmatite
Argentina2,900850,000Brine

Despite low production costs in Chile and Argentina, China prefers to obtain lithium ore from Australia. Currently, China is the largest lithium consumer- around 50,000 tonnes at a market price of $6,600/t. The price is forecast to rise as demand outstrips supply. (Batteries, Storage and Fuel Cells,.J Hunt, 2015)

In Australia, lithium reserves and resources are mainly confined to Western Australia where they occur in spodumene (lithium aluminium silicate) rich pegmatites. Deposits currently of interest to Chinese industry are (Investing News, July 2015; WestAustralian, September 2015):

  • Greenbushes. Talison Resources and Chengdu Tianqi Group. This is the world’s largest high grade spodumene deposit running 61.5  mt at 2.8% lithium oxide.
  • Mt Marion. Reed Industrial Minerals and Jangxi Garfeng. Deposit 14.8 mt at 1.3% lithium oxide.
  • Mt Cattlin. Galaxy Resources, formerly with Jiensu Lithium Carbonate Plant, now with General Mining, Canada, planning to re-enter the Chinese market. Deposit 9.9 mt at 1.1% lithium oxide.

Very early in Japanese industrial development, the Japanese government decided to preserve its forests and import timber from overseas. With large reserves of lithium, it appears China has adopted the same policy as the Japanese and is seeking off shore deposits. It is significant that the largest hard rock lithium deposit in the world has slipped from Australian to Chinese control.

Foreign investment in the Australian mining industry is necessary., Taxation policy must minimise transfer pricing and market price manipulation.

Chinese Agricultural Production Acquisition

The Chinese imperative for acquisition  of Australian agricultural production is driven by a population estimate of 1.4 billion by 2050 which is coinciding with declining soil fertility and increasingly polluted water supplies. A UN report states that by 2050 food supply must increase by 50% and water supply by 30%. To meet this threat, the Chinese government has decreed that three billion dollars must be expended with celerity on overseas agricultural security, (Yahoo 7, June 2015) Target regions for agricultural acquisition and expansion are Africa, South America and Australia.

 

Farming Agreement
Another Agricultural Acquisition (agriculturalminister.gov.au)

The acquisition process in Australia has taken on a permanent drip feed character to include all sections of the food chain from crops, animal husbandry to processing plants. These products will not be sold on the domestic market but will be exported to China. The Financial Review (September, 2015) ran the comment that, during the previous two months, agricultural acquisitions had been running at $40 million per fortnight. In the past few years examples of some purchases are:

  • Cubbie Station. Shandong Ruyu. Cotton. $232 million.
  • Van Diemen’s Land. Herman Shao/Ming Hu. Dairy. $200 million.
  • Glenrock Station. Dashang Group. Cattle. $45 million.
  • Cattle Station search. Chongquing. Budget $100 million.
  • Cattle Station search. New Hope Group. Budget $500 million.

The above and below are a fraction of purchases across the agricultural industry that include:

  • Fifty dairy farms in Victoria acquired by ?COFCO Group involving 90,000 cows and 500 million litres of milk annually.
  • Sugar and sorghum development in Western Australia by Shanghai Zongfu. $700 million.
  •  There is a growing trend for wealthy Chinese to enter the wine industry- vineyards are being actively purchased. Australians will soon be come aware of new names  in the industry or on the labels, for example, Zhitai Wang, Kuifen Wang, Xin Jin, Yingda Investment Company and Xingfa Ma. The bottom line is -“the Chinese value land and wineries more than the Australians do”. (BBC News, October 2014)

There are two issues that discomfort the Australian people; first the apparent frequency of acquisitions and second, the opaque nature of the arrangements through the use of shelf companies, trust funds and extended settlements. (Daily Telegraph, February 2014) The FIRB is said to examine all foreign investment proposals exceeding $244 million, however, lower value investments do incur scrutiny. The comment ‘selling off the farm’ raises concern but an Australian Bureau of Statistics table (below) shows there is not yet cause for concern.

SectorAgricultural Land %Agricultural business %
Sheep, Cattle, Grain8799
Other Crop9199
Floriculture9597
Dairy Cattle9799
Fruit, Nuts9797
Deer, Other9799
Vegetables9897
Poultry9897
Grapes-96

TABLE  Australian Agricultural Land and Agricultural Business Ownership.

The acquisition of Australian agricultural assets will continue and an increasing number of Australian managers and labour will have to accept instructions from Chinese owners. It was mooted (ABC RN 9 May) that under the Free Trade Agreement with China, Chinese labour might be permitted to work on agricultural projects.

There could be a financial downside to increasing acquisition of agricultural assets by Chinese interests. Currently,  Australia sells 58% of its food production overseas; this represents 70% of the sector’s total value. Food exports for 2013-14 were valued at $40 billion. With increasing Chinese ownership, this export income will reduce and will tend to be exacerbated by transfer pricing and suppression of farm gate values by a technique similar to that employed in the iron ore trade. (Future Directions, September 2014)

At the end of May, the Bank of China with the Australian Chamber of Commerce hosted a conference principally on the dairy products industry. Over 600 Chinese delegates attended who are aware of the purchasing power of the anticipated three billion Middle Class in East Asia by 2030. (The World Today, ABC, 23 May) It would be naive to anticipate Chinese foreign investment, rather it will be foreign acquisition of Australian agricultural assets as already exemplified in Victoria and Tasmania. It makes commercial sense for foreign investors to acquire virtually a 100% equity and to create a vertically integrated export industry.  An extension of the Mercantilist theory!

The Future

Since the Colonial period, Australia has relied heavily on foreign investment and this will continue into the future. What appears to be changing, is the subtle move away from infrastructure investment to natural resource and agricultural product acquisition, which, if carried out to an extreme,will result in the hollowing out of a nation. Foreign investment should ideally include the construction of tollways, railways, ports and mass housing but this appears not to be happening despite the concept of the Public Private Partnership (PPP) being well established. The problem is that the States are short of money and, like the Federal Government, carry unsustainable debt; hence the sale of Darwin port by the Northern Territory government and the sale of power assets in South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales to Chinese interests. The NSW Trans Grid sale of ‘poles and wires’ to China’s State Grid has recently been approved by FIRB, consideration $9 billion. The proceeds will go towards the rebuilding of sports stadiums. Back to the Roman coliseum!! (Daily Telegraph, November 2015)

A trend has been established and, if continued, there, will be significant redistribution of Australian assets. The President of the National Farmers Federation recently pithily remarked  “foreign investors have spotted an opportunity domestic investors have shunned”. Of deeper impact is Australia’s destiny in the Chinese Dream.

 

 

 

The Chinese Dream and the Chinese Diaspora. April, 2016. Pt 2

 

Meetimg in Sydney
Chinese Patriotic Association of Australia
(SMH, 13 April)

Introduction.  During my career I had the opportunity to observe Chinese culture in Malaya, Indonesia and the Solomon Islands and latterly in Australia. Although domiciled in these host countries the Chinese retained a strong affiliation with China and their heritage.

The Event.  In Sydney, on the 12th April, there occurred a significant event supportive of Chinese activities in the South China Sea  and by extension the ‘Chinese Dream’. The ‘Dream’ involves the betterment of the Chinese people  combined with an aspiration to increase national influence in the East Asian region.  On this day sixty people met under the auspices of the Chinese Patriotic Association of Australia to express unequivocal support for Chinese government policy. The principal points being:

  • A desire to support core interests of the Chinese nation.
  • A recognition the islands in the South China Sea belong to China.
  • Australia might be faced with a crisis situation.
  • These sentiments are the appropriate views of an overseas Chinese elite.

It is significant the Chinese Embassy in Canberra has, apparently, made no public comment but it is certain there  would have been tacit approval.

History and Painful Politics. There are historical and current international issues which have logically conspired to promote this action by the Patriotic Association:

  • Over the past two hundred years China has experienced European aggression, colonialism and commercial exploitation, these yokes are no more.
  • There is a growing awareness among the Chinese population and the diaspora  of 19th and 20th century history and of the dawn of the “Asian Century’.
  • There is a realisation the ‘Asian Dream’ is gaining momentum which engenders confidence and assertiveness among the rising intelligentsia.

Discussion. The wording of the published communique (SMH, 13 April) presents an exquisite problem for the Australian government vis a vis relations with China and with current multicultural policy. As a dictatorship, guided democracy or a Communist regime  there would be a simple solution. As a democracy with enshrined free speech there are clearly more than fifty shades of grey at a time when tensions are increasing. With Australia supporting  iAmerica in the right of untrammelled navigation in the South China Sea the comments of the Patriotic Association are unhelpful. Its stance could  encourage more Chinese Australians to support its philosophy. Remember the Chinese student demonstrations in Canberra in 2008 involving policy on Tibet. It could take only an inflammatory speech or an emotive cause to mobilise a cast of thousands. It is certain the Chinese government is aware of this anti-Australia stance. It would be noted if if the voice of the Patriotic Front was silenced.

Diplomatic and Trade Mission to China.  At the mid-April visit of the Prime Minister to China the Australian desire for peaceful negotiation over the South China Sea disputes was noted. as is the military alliance with America. The response by organs of the Chinese government constituted unveiled threats:

  • “Concerning the territorial disputes this will be a test of Australian leader’s political wisdom”. (National Institute of International Strategy, Beijing)
  • “This disagreement would tend to cast a shadow on promising cooperation if such a tendency keeps developing”. (Institute of World Economics and Politics, Beijing)

 

Political Meeting
Prime Minister Turnbull and Premier Li Keqiang. in Great Hall of the People
(SMH, 15 April, A Meares)

Such pronouncements from senior Chinese officials could encourage more assertive voices in Australia. The Beijing pronouncements should also be evaluated against the news America is positioning war planes in the Philippines. (SMH, 15 April). By an alliance with America  Australia is also involved. An unpalatable conclusion is that support for American activities might damage trade with China as intimated in the above unveiled threats. To this mix add the complication of Chinese control of Port Darwin

The implacability of Chinese negotiation tactics should not be under estimated  In 1981 President Deng  Xiaping met Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher to discuss the Hong Kong handover in 1997. The talks ended with the comment by Deng Xiaping “I could march into Hong Kong any time and take it over if I wished.” President Xi Jinping cannot be any less forceful.

Multiculturalism. The second issue is the effectiveness  of Australia;s multicultural policy in relation to the unpatriotic stance of the Chinese Patriotic Association of Australia. At a security conference in Germany (BBC, February, 2015) the United Kingdom Prime Minister stated multiculturalism had failed. British policy should have included a greater requirement for inculcation of a stronger national identity that could have reduced extremism. Current policy in Britain promotes a sense of separateness not integration.. National ethos that encourages a sense of Britishness is required. A similar logic could apply to Australia. However accommodating multiculturalism might become in Australia it is unlikely the Chinese diaspora will ever forgo their culture or allegiance to their roots.

Australian Defence Force Problems & Darwin Time Bomb March 2016

 

 

Australian Defence Force Problems

  • Preamble
  • Submarines
  • Joint Strike Fighter
  • Coaling Stations, Strategic Ports, a String of Pearls and a Priceless Pendant — the Darwin Time Bomb
  • Postamble

 

Chinese carrier
Chinese Aircraft Carrier
(almasdarnews.com)

 

Preamble

The western Pacific littoral  is verging towards a longitudinal arms race. Never forget Europe sleep walked its way to WW2. Dr Hugh White, Director, Strategic Policy Institute, Canberra (ABC Counterpoint, 14 March) stated ‘China and America are drifting towards a confrontation. They need to pull back’. Unfortunately this may not happen; for China because of the Chinese Dream and for America because it is still a superpower.  The east Asian region and particularly China and Indonesia, together with the United States ‘pivot to Asia’ are beefing up their military forces. There are three problems, among several, facing the ADF:

  • Submarines, the design, lead time, national security and military objective.
  • Joint Strike Fighter, design, cost and combat readiness.
  • Darwin Port, the role of Darwin as a pendant below the Chinese ‘string of pearls’ from the South China Sea to the Persian Gulf.

Submarines.

The Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) estimates the cost of submarines to replace the Collins class vessels will be between $1.4 billion and $3.04 billion each with an estimated total cost of $36 billion. Submarines may not be ready until the mid-2030s.

National security cannot be overemphasised. At the conference ‘Submarine Choice’ (September 2014) hosted by ASPI Sweden very publicly removed its Kukums submarine contractor from German control citing a concern over militarism. Is there a warning signal for Australia with Japan as contractor?

With respect to the ill disguised position of Japan in the  preliminary discussions, the Australian public is entitled to greater transparency. Is the situation related to the American ‘pivot to Asia’?

America is keen to bolster Japan both militarily and economically as a bulwark against China and it may well be that America will use the opportunity to insert its weapons systems into the construction contract. With a European contractor this might be more difficult.

The Australian Strategic Policy Institute (11th March) has produced a damming report on the dangers of using a Japanese submarine builder:

  • Japanese submarines have a 20-year life, not a 30-year life as required by the Australian navy.
  • Japanese shipyards have not built a submarine for operation in a distant theatre. French and German companies have.
  • The Japanese Soryu class submarines are 2950 tonnes; the Collins class submarines are 3100 tonnes.
  • The Soryu class has only two thirds the range of a Collins class submarine.
  • Japanese builders must redesign the submarines for extended under water propulsion. Beware the F35 debacle.
  • Why did Japan refuse  to build submarines for India in India?
  • Modern submarines have a single pressure hull- the Japanese hulls are composite alloys. This may explain the shorter operating life due to metal fatigue.
  • French and German shipyards have discussed widely with Australian suppliers, Japanese have not.
  • French and German shipyards have built submarines for other navies. Japan has not.
  • Mr Abbott should explain to the Australian people why overt preference has apparently been given to Japan. In the murky world of the armaments trade, was America providing liminal pressure only visible to a Canberra cohort to support Japan?

At the  Submarine Choice conference, there was reference to Australia’s unique requirements for its submarines. What are they? A senior naval consultant stated ‘Australia is the only navy in the world that flogs its submarines thousands of kilometres across the ocean before going on patrol’.

 

Submarine Design
21st Submarine Design
(imagesjpeg)

Among design circles, it has been mooted that due to the threat now caused by autonomous underwater vehicles, consideration is being given to an ‘aircraft carrier’ type concept, that is, a ‘mothership’ servicing smaller, less expensive and more expendable submarines. The problems for submarines patrolling an enemy coastline is they are increasingly vulnerable to sophisticated shore launched undewater drones.

The problem is these vessels have to be relevant for the next thirty years.

 

Joint Strike Fighter.

Grave concerns have surfaced on the design of the US built F35 stealth fighter. They are a long way from being combat ready although delivery to Australia was supposed to commence in 2012. The F35 is a venture between the States and Lockheed Martin, the project overrun is in the billions. The United States has been pressing its allies to accept a share of the cost overrun additional to their contract price.

The F35 is designed as an out -of-sight attack aircraft. In the dog fight situation, pilots state it is slower and less agile than other fighter aircraft and becomes a vulnerable target. Top gun pilots refer to the F35 as the ‘little turd’.

The seriousness of this situation is illustrated by the the Canadian Government; the decision has been made to pull out of the F35 project and its contract to acquire 65 fighters. (defencenews.com, October 2015)

Problems with the F35 are: (Business Insider, March 2015)

  • In flight and on the ground the electronics fail over 32*C.
  • Overall a high electronics failure rate.
  • Navigation and accuracy software is unreliable.
  • Fuel tank explosion problems.
  • Flight control system degrades over time.
  • The $400,000 pilot helmet can kill on ejection.
  • Cyber security not confirmed.

 

The current cost of these stealth fighters for the three services are:($US million)

  • Airforce – F35A – 148 million
  • Marine – -F35B – 251 million
  • Navy – —F35C – 337 million
  • Annual maintenance plus $2 million

 

F35
F35 Stealth Strike Fighter
(image-1.jpeg)

Australia originally agreed to purchase 72 fighters in 2002 with delivery expected in 2012. There were delays. In 2015, the Government confirmed a $24 billion order for 58 aircraft (approx. $A400 million each), despite the problems. At the current March Senate hearings, a US spokesman was unable to confirm how many aircraft are on the production line, he thought between one and sixteen!! Delivery will be sometime in the 2020s.

The immense problem for Australia, as expressed by Dr Joiner, former head of ADF Test and Evaluation Department, is that ‘Australia must show more spine and consider the Canadian decision, otherwise Australia will end up with a plane not knowing what it can do and what it cannot do”. (ABC Background Briefing, March 2016) Who in Australia is prepared to spearhead a decision?

By serendipity, in mid=March, the Chief of the Australian Air Force launched a strident defence of the F35 on ABC News with reporter Andrew Greene. The forceful argument was, however, hedged with a proviso that if the F35 was further delayed F18 Super Hornets would be acquired which entered Australian military service in 2010.

 

Coaling Stations, Strategic Ports, a String of Pearls and a dangling Pendant — the Darwin Time Bomb

At its peak, the British empire protected its trade routes and maintained naval hegemony using its vital coaling stations and strategic ports, for example, Cape Town, Aden, Singapore and Hong Kong. Royal naval presence based in these ports maintained safe passage for British commerce.

Hong Kong was ceded to the British following the First Opium War in 1842. Later, Kowloon and the New Territories were leased to Britain  for 99 years. Hong Kong and Territories were returned to China in 1997. During this 150-year period, Hong Kong was of immense commercial value to Britain.

Jog forward to 2000 AD. For the past 5000 years, empires have risen, collapsed and new ones risen. The Chinese Dream is in the ascendent and has materialised as a crusade for economic, political and military primacy in South-East Asia, Australia and New Zealand. (The Drum, November, 2015)  For the first sixteen years of the 21st Century, the Chinese iron fist inside a silken glove has extended power with a glacial, inexorable momentum. No huffing and puffing by a super power or squeaks from an aspiring middle power has slowed this momentum. Expressions of diplomatic opposition are naive.

As a rising maritime power (like Britain), intent on increasing influence and commerce, China must protect its future maritime trading routes. This process has been dubbed the Chinese ‘string of pearls’. This, in reality, is a number of China friendly ports extending from the South China Sea to include ports in Vietnam, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Djibouti and Iran in the oil rich Persian Gulf. From naval bases in these countries China will protect its commercial interests.

 

String of Pearls
String of pearls and northern Australia
(stringofpearlsaroundia.com)

The Darwin Port was leased to China for 99 years in November2015. Darwin constitutes a veritable Kohinoor diamond pendant hanging below the ‘string of pearls’. Darwin controls a strategic region close to the Australian east coast shipping lanes carrying coal and wheat and the west coast lanes carrying iron ore, offshore oil and gas and lithium concentrates. On Darwin’s near north are the oil resources of the Timor sea.

Currently there is a Senate Committee hearing on the Darwin port purchase and the national security implications of Chinese ownership. This is a story that is morphing from the bizarre to the surreal. That a sovereign nation would cede a strategic asset with national security implications to a potential enemy is beyond belief.

This story is gaining widening traction with revelations emanating from the Committee hearings. In November 2015, Landridge, a company with links close to the Chinese government, negotiated a 99-year lease with the Northern Territory Government, consideration $600 million. This is derisory. The application was approved by the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) because ‘numerous subsidiary companies were involved which were under the FIRB radar’. FIRB approached the Australian Defence Force (ADF) three times and was informed the Navy was ‘comfortable’ with the lease, despite the fact that the Australian Navy would be excluded from the port in 25 years. Incredibly, ASIO admitted it had not ‘reviewed Defence needs’ relating to Darwin port. Following this government policy debacle, there is now a move for this type of foreign investment be subject to scrutiny by the National Security Committee. (AFR, 10 March, 2016)

An indication of unease behind the scenes is the US State Department conducting a nation wide opinion poll on Australians’ reaction to the Darwin lease. (AFR, 10 March) This is surreal – what has transpired  within the US State Department to consider this move? The US Ambassador in Canberra has down-played, not denied, this poll.

 

B1 Bomber
B1 Bomber, US Airforce
(Ref.1431668829594)

Because of or inspite of the Darwin lease, a reinforcement is planned for the ‘pivot to Asia’. B1 bombers, capable of carrying nuclear weapons, are to be based near Darwin in order ‘to deter Chinese ambitions in the South China Sea. (SMH, 8 March) No doubt Darwin Port will advise Beijing when these bombers take off and return!  Returning to empires, over the past 5000 years, history shows they die of exhaustion-they are not stopped in there tracks as they increase the size of their overseas possessions.

Unless the Chinese are expelled from Darwin now, because of an irregular FIRB submission, the Darwin facility will remain a thorn in the side of the ADF for 99 years.

 

Postamble. 2016 Defence White Paper (14 March)

Comment on the Defence White Paper will place the foregoing into context. Some elements of the strategic outlook are:

  • The relationship between China and the United States will be one of competition and cooperation. For the next two decades the US will remain the preeminent global power.
  • There will be challenges to global stability, however Australia can only prosper under a rules-based order.
  • The threat of terrorism will increase.
  • The Pacific region will suffer slow growth and modernisation.
  • Asian defence spending is exceeding that of Western Europe.
  • Australia’s military edge will decrease as regional nations modernise.
  • In the next twenty years, half the world’s submarines and  military aircraft will be deployed in in this region.
  • There will be threats from space and cyberspace.

Recast in a different way:

  • The global and regional order will become less civilised.
  • Australia’s military will deal with uncertainty, not containment.
  • The Asian security environment will become more competitive and less cooperative.
  • There is the possibility of unexpected breaches of thresholds making sudden conflict likely.
  • Indonesia is pushing ahead with vigorous military modernisation.

To ensure Australian security the White Paper recommends the ADF:

  • Be empowered to project a more muscular response.
  • Become more agile, capable and responsive.
  • Must maintain a higher level of preparedness.

Overall the White Paper implies a sense of urgency.

A philosophical question –   what is the purpose of the east Asian arms buildup? As in the European World Wars I and II, will the region split into two sides or will it degenerate into nasty little wars as occurred in South America, or will there be the equivalent of the Spanish Civil War where two larger powers tested their weapons on a destabilised country. Pax Deo!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Hurricane of Climate Change. Past the Tipping Point? February 2016

The Hurricane of Climate Change

Below is a significant global map with immense ramifications. Climate refugee mass migration routes can be deduced.

Warming and Yields
Estimated impact of +3*C on Crop yields by 2050. (World Resources Institute)

The Paris Climate Change Conference (COP 21), December 2015

  • Preamble
  • The Paris Conference
  • The Washup
  • ‘Social Europe’ Analysis
  • Global Warming Migration Refugees

Preamble 

2*C.  A number that has acquired the significance of the Golden Mean. Nothing of the sort. 2*C is an amalgam of political expediency and scientific doubt. This rootless number is derived from an estimation of global temperature calculated from ice cores over the past 100,000 years. 2*C represents an academic opinion that global temperature should not exceed the upper bound of these records. The 2*C limit is therefore a published political objective that global warming should not exceed 2*C above the global temperature at the commencement of the Industrial Revolution. It is a temperature which reflects the upper global temperatures determined from ice cores during the Holocene Period.

Based upon current observations and estimates in the science community, the 2*C limit will be breached by mid-century and perforce, international attention is being given to living in a hotter and more violent climate. The Scientific American (March 2014) published an article by Dr. Mann (N0AA) stating that by mid-2030s, based on estimated fossil fuel consumption, the critical 2*C of warming will be reached.

The merit of 2*C is it is a simple number that politicians can comprehend. A more scientific approach would be to use greenhouse gas concentrations but these are more complex. (The Economist, 10 December, 2015)

Carbon dioxide equivalent values released by NASA illustrate the increasing carbon dioxide problem swirling through Earth’s atmosphere:

  • 1880, pre-Industrial Revolution, 280 ppm
  • Safe limit for Homo sapiens and planet, 350 ppm
  • 2015, current carbon dioxide concentration, 405 ppm
  • Rate of carbon dioxide increase per year, 2 to 3 ppm
  • 2050, est. 2*C above 1880 level, 460 ppm 

 

CO2 concentrations
Carbon Dioxide parts per million, 1000 – 2000 AD
(hvfarmscape.org)

 

So, the background to the mid-December 2015 Paris Climate Conference is that global temperature above pre-Industrial Level will be breached by 2050. Very disruptive weather events are expected. The deliberations will  concentrate on living on a hotter, more violent world, not holding the global temperature below 2*C — this is a pipe dream.

The Paris Conference

The Economist (19 December) under the headline ‘Hopelessness and Determination’ summarised the principal conclusions arrived at by 195 countries.

  • The global temperature must not rise 1.5*C above pre-Industrial Levels.
  • The adopted Climate Agreement cannot prevent a global temperature rise above 1.5*C.

The Agreement (pledges) between the nations “will put the world on a course for something like 3*C of warming”. (The Economist 19 December) This elevated temperature will cause the Greenland and Antarctic ice caps to melt and over centuries sea level to rise by up to six metres.

The Nations have agreed they cannot control each others carbon dioxide emissions, and into the foreseeable future fossil fuels will still power national economies. Recognising this fact, the major international pre-occupation will be to reduce the risks of climate change and ensure populations can adjust to a hotter and more violent climate.

Elements of the final communique are:

  • More international funds will be available to to assist the poorest and most vulnerable countries.
  • A task force will assist those communities unable to adapt and require a new ‘home’.
  • Carbon pricing activities will need to be expanded.
  • Countries are to be encouraged to ‘fight and survive’. This appears to be a clear objective of Wealthy Countries who do not wish to accommodate millions of climate refugees.
  • Wealthy Countries must increase research into clean energy alternatives.
  • To slow the rate of global warming, countries must increase emission costs and accelerate industrial and domestic alternative power adaption and storage for decades to come.

Apparently not dealt with was a discussion on the nexus between sustainability, pollution and global warming.The philosophe, F Scott Fitzgerald, once uttered the sanguine comment “Things are hopeless and yet there is a determination to make them better”.

The Washup 

The Conference concluded with motherhood statements such as ‘the world stands as one’ and ‘the benefit of collective effort’. Low lying nations heaved a collective sigh of relief muttering ‘now we have a pathway to survival’. These comments sit uneasily alongside  ‘Hopelessness and Determination”. The overarching policy objectives are:

  • To keep global temperatures well below 2*C  and to make strenuous  efforts to keep temperatures below 1.5*C. This will be funded by ‘intended nationally determined contributions’. (INDCs)
  • By 2050 greenhouse gases will be removed from the atmosphere at the same rate as they are added – 43 giga tonnes. (IPCC est. 2016). There appeared to be no mention of technology or greenhouse gas dilution rates in the atmosphere.

A contentious issue administered by the UN Convention on Climate Change has now been modified. Nations were previously required to ‘act in accordance with their common but differentiated responsibilities’ This meant ‘rich’ countries had to reduce emissions while ‘poor’ countries were required to make no reductions. This inconsistency was well illustrated between China and America, both are the world’s largest emitters.

The Paris Agreement requires that ‘developed’ countries donate $100 billion INDCs a year by 2020 to assist ‘less developed countries’:

  • to adapt to climate change rather than attempt to slow it down,
  • donor countries will be ‘policed’ to ensure the voluntary commitments are honoured.

A critical fact is that the ‘intended nationally determined contributions’ will not keep global warming below 1.5*C because donors only sign up to what the think they can do. The Economist (15 December) considers the pledged contributions are expected to lead to global warming of 3*C. My December Blog cited a 1.5*C would be a calamity, a 2*C rise a disaster and a 2.7*C rise a catastrophe. (IPCC)

Global Warming
Global Temperature Rise from 1880 to 2016
(NOAA – Bloomberg)

Since a 1*C warming above pre-Industrial Levels has occurred, ‘to hold warming below 1.5*C would exceed the heroic’. (International Institute of Applied Systems Analysis, Vienna), its opinion is that carbon dioxide emissions would have to reduce to zero by 2060. This is impossible since new coal mines are coming on stream and ruminants are annually producing over 100 million tonnes of methane – 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide. (UNFAO)

The 1.5*C waypoint defined by the Paris Agreement is only a symbol because as a goal it is not feasible since global temperature is forecast to rise above this benchmark.

The political class appear now to be taking global warming seriously. The Paris Conference has formalised an oversight forum where national progress in carbon dioxide reduction will be monitored and pledges contributing to the $100 billion INDCs fund checked. All good housekeeping!

There appears to be two matters not dealt with:

  • Lead time estimates for global temperature decline related to a decrease in carbon dioxide emissions. Is Homo sapiens looking at tens to hundreds of years before atmospheric concentrations ofcarbon dioxide start falling?
  • Will the ‘selfish gene’ in human nature overwhelm the requirement for all to reduce emissions? Is it possible there will be significant numbers who will want others to do more while others do less? (Jarad Diamond, ‘How Societies choose to fail or survive’, UCLA)

‘Social Europe’ Analysis

 An article in Social Europe (18 February) states that commitments made by the contributing countries will not keep global warming below 2*C by 2100.

The greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) between 2010 and 2030 will actually increase from 49 Gt to 58 Gt (rounded) However, the emissions gap for a 2*C pathway is still 16 Gt. The reduction, INDCs or pledges, if implemented will still push global warming to a range of 2.7-3.0 *C.  Thus the emission gap to bring global warming below 2*C is 16 Gt. (1 Gt = 1,000,000,000 metric tonnes.) (Climate Action Tracker)

Furthermore, to bring warming below 2*C, net zero emissions must be achieved between 2055 and 2070. Net zero emissions require all GHG emissions to be buried or chemically neutralised. The technology for this process is not yet available.

Finally, the Emissions Trading System (ETS) has failed due to a collapse in the carbon price –  the intention is to revamp the system by 2020. The ‘low carbon economy’ policy has also faltered due to a low carbon price and historically low fuel prices. To reach net zero emissions by 2050 the overall system must be improved.(After COP21. The EU needs to revise Climate Policy Targets, 18 Feb.)

 Global Warming Migration Refugees 

Scientific authorities warn the searing miasma of global warming will, by mid-century, precipitate the forced migration of millions of thirsty, starving, destitute humans. The IPCC estimates by 2050 more than 200 million people will become climate migrants due to shoreline erosion, coastal flooding and agricultural disruption.

Planet earth is no stranger to climate induced migrations:

  • Fourth Century. A cold period over many decades forced Huns and Germans to invade Gaul and the Visigoths to sack Rome and destroy an Empire.
  • Eighth Century. Decades of drought in the Middle East forced Muslim hordes across North Africa and into Europe.
  • Seventeenth Century. The fifty year Little Ice Age convulsed populations into survival migrations. Between 1600 and 1700, atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations fell from 220 to 180 ppm. By 1850 the concentration had commenced its vertiguous ascent into the Anthropocene.
  • 1998. Floods in Bangladesh and the Yangtze basin required resettlement of 35 million people.

The concentration of the many serious global weather events at the commencement of the 21st Century can only be harbinger to more disruptive events.

The NASA – GISS image of global temperature between 1970 and 2004 (34 years) permits certain deductions if the temperature trends continue.

 

Global Temperature Change
Global Temperature Change in *C 1970 – 2004
(NASA – GISS)

Conclusions that may be derived from this image:

  • The high latitudes are heating rapidly triggering concerns over the melting of the Greenland ice cap which, over a century, would raise sea level by a few metres.
  • The Bering Strait region shows an extreme rate of change. Spontaneous methane fires have erupted as the tundra melts and fears have been expressed that fires could spread round the Arctic rim.
  • North-eastern United States and western Europe are still relatively cool.
  • North Africa, Middle East and Asia are indicating a worrying rate of temperature increase.
  • South America, equatorial Africa and south-east Asia (jungle covered) remain relatively cool.
  • Australia is perhaps an aberration- evidence indicates this continent is becoming markedly hotter.
  • Antarctica remains cool with a small rate of temperature change.

The above observations are based on data more than a decade old: anecdotal and scientific records indicate trends are continuing.

The IPCC has classified potential near future disaster regions with respect to drought, flood and wind storms. (Assessing the impact of Climate Change on Migration and Conflict, World Bank, 2008)

DroughtFloodWind Storms
Burkina FasoAfghanistanBangladesh
MozambiqueBangladeshMadagascar
RuandaMalawiMozambique
SomaliaMozambique

Western nations are establishing Departments of Homeland Security to protect vital infrastructure and to control mass migrations at their international borders. The White House (May 2015) has instructed the United States Homeland Security to be responsible for:

  • Protecting infrastructure and military installations from sea level rise. Since 1900 sea level has risen by 30 cm round the Statue of Liberty.
  • In Arctic regions temperature is rising fast, fish stocks and food security are at risk and require protection.
  • National security threats are considered to be mass migration, power supplies and storm surges.
  • Weapons systems must be redesigned for use in extreme weather conditions.

The image of declining crop yields with global warming reflect a sombre picture. (World Resources Institute)

 

Warming and Yields
Estimated impact of +3*C on Crop yields by 2050. (World Resources Institute)

From the NASA and WRI images it may be deduced:

  • Europe and Russia will attempt to deny access to millions of climate change refugees from North Africa, Central Asia and the Middle East.
  • Expanding habitable areas may form in Greenland and northern Europe but melting permafrost and methane eruptions may render northern Russia and Canada uninhabitable.
  • India and South-East Asia might become overwhelmed by Arabs, Persians and Chinese, however, declining Himalayan snow may create water shortages.
  • The jungles of Brazil, central Africa and Indonesia/Malaya may not be able to support large numbers of climate migrants.
  • New Zealand may become a ‘Mecca’ and will have to repel boarders,
  • Coastal Australia will experience an influx of Pacific Islands inhabitants’. Becoming the south aast Asian ‘food bowl’ may not be possible.
  • Patagonia, Falkland Islands, South Georgia and Macquarie Island might become bracing retreats for political, industrial and military elites.
  • Antarctica might become a new home for a privileged few.

Scenarios that could resemble the above may become apparent as the 21st Century passes the halfway mark. A critical factor for mankind is when carbon dioxide concentrations start to substantially decline. A time frame of at least 100 years should be expected.

 

 

Islam in Australia. Faith and Fertility Rates. January 2016

CONTENTS

Imagined Reality not the Clash of Cultures

Rural Bliss

Imagined Reality not the Clash of Cultures

 

In December, the former Director General of Security, David Irvine, cautioned Members of Parliament on the danger of expressing speculative opinion following the Paris massacre. This advice implies how ill-informed some politicians are on the nature of Islamic jihad and the irreversible demographic trends changing Australia. The apparent short term political focus in Canberra is concerning since long term policy is required to deal with the changing religious character of Australia.

An ‘elephant in the room’ regarding long term  immigration from the Middle East is the strong ‘imagined reality’ of Islam compared to the declining strength of ‘imagined reality’ within the Christian community. The belief and practice of each faith may be considered inappropriate or heretical by devout members of the other faith.

Despite the low population number of Muslims in Australia, within segments of the Australian community there is concern at the increasing visibility and influence of Islam. The facts below place this concern into context. The 2011 Census showed that 61 %  (67 % in 2001) claimed to be Christian. The ‘No Religion’ cohort was 22 % (15 % in 2001). Minority religions are Buddism 2.5 %, Islam 2.2 %, Hinduism 1.3 %  and Judaism 0.5 %.

 

The 2011 Census recorded 476,300 Muslims (2.2 %) living in Australia. The projected population increase between 2010 and 2050  for Muslims is 75 %,  but for Christians (Caucasians) is 35 %. (SBS News, November 2015) The Census also forecast that during this period (2010 – 2050)  growth trends for Christianity were 3.7 %, Islam 39.9 %, and No Religion 29.4 %.

A significant issue facing the Australian government in the coming decades is the declining ‘imagined reality’ of Christian belief while ‘imagined reality’ in Islam will remain strong. The power of ‘imagined reality’s’ ‘collective fiction’ should not be underestimated. All tribes, nation states and ancient and modern empires were created and ‘glued’ together by myth, legend, deity and religious belief. Arabic immigrants are maintaining a strong ‘imagined reality’ of Allah while Caucasian Australians are losing theirs in relation to God. It is belief in a fiction or legend (embellished history) that draws people together to become a creative strong unified population. There may be a problem if two dominant belief systems are operating in the same social and administrative tribal or national border.

In the early 21st century. increasing numbers of Australians are questioning their religious belief; in its place the Government is seeking to create a national ethos by invoking the ‘Spirit of Anzac’. With an increasing proportion of the population, there can never be a wide acceptance for this Memorial Day. In the same way, Australia Day will never be accepted by the First People. A day that commemorates the birth of an Immigrant Nation might have wider acceptance, that is, 1st January, 1901, Federation Day. Looking towards mid-century, Australia will require a belief or a legend that a population of immigrants and the First People can rally round. The concept of ‘Team Australia’ is derisory.

In 2014, the Australian population was estimated at 24 million. (ABS) The 2011 Census revealed that 54 % of Australians had both parents born in Australia while 34 % had both parents born overseas. This ratio is increasing in favour of new immigrants.  There is possibly an unspoken unease among Caucasian Australians as the declining birth rate continues below the replacement rate of 2.1 per female since the 1970s.  (The Conversation, 2013)  In 2013, the ABS announced the national fertility rate was 1.88, down from 3.1 in the 1950s. By 2026, the ABS has forecast a decline to 1.8. By contrast, the Pew Research Centre (June 2015) announced the Australian Muslim birthrate is 3.1 which supports the 75 % increase by 2050. This has implications for religious diversity for Australia by mid-century.

Against the background of a relative Muslim population increase, the Australian Muslim Party was registered in November. (SMH, 18 November) The proponent, Diaa Mohamed, is a Paramatta  business man who manages ‘ My Peace’, an organisation dedicated to bringing Muslims and Christians together. The objective  is to obtain 500 members and contest a Senate seat at the next election. In the 2013 election,there was a 23 % vote for the minor parties. Currently, 18 Senators sit on the cross benches. Just 2 % of the primary vote is enough to win a Seat. However, some sitting Senators with only 0.04 % of the primary vote have won Seats, namely Stephen Conroy, Julian McGauran and Judith Troeth.(www.aph.gov.au/DocumentStore)

The Muslim community may well support this Party as it will be viewed as supportive of Islam. The Party name will have negative repercussions in the population at large for the following reasons:

  • Australia purports to be a secular society; a party with religious overtones will irritate the electorate.
  • The name implies a favoured faith for its members and may deter Christian membership.
  • Whatever the Party’s manifesto, it will be viewed as more interested in matters of faith than economic policy and social improvement.
  • The Party name will tend to perpetuate lax reporting and political comment due to incorrect use of secular or religious terminology. In public statements and news items Indians, Chinese and Sudanese are reported by nationality but frequently, there is no mention of Syrians, Iranians or Iraquis – more frequently the term Muslim is applied. This is sloppy thinking.

Australia’s multicultural policy is here to stay. The original planners probably never envisaged a need for a multi-faith policy but this omission will need to be addressed, bearing in mind history and the requirement for social accommodation and restraint. This is not a Protestant-Catholic or a Shia-Sunni fault line, this is an interface between Islam and Christianity that will require inspired leadership.

 

Considering the low Australian fertility rate and the declining  immigrant arrivals from Europe, the immigrants from other regions are having an increasing impact on multicultural diversity. The Conversation, Canberra (June 2013) quoted  immigration figures for 2011-12 as Chinese 25,000, Indian 29,000, English less than 25,000, Arabic (Muslim) less than 8,000. (Tables B4 & B6, Markus, 2014) The Tables below indicate immigration trends which, if continued, will clearly alter the ethnic mix in Australia.

Table1. Permanent Additions to Australia’s Population. Top seven countries, percent of annual intake. Caucasian intake in decline. (Dept. of Immigration, www. immi.gov.au/media)

Country2005-0607-0808-0909-1010-1111-1212-13
India9111111101215
China10101112141111
New Zealand1113119121211
United Kingdom1715141210119
Philippines3445554
South Africa3456443
Malaysia3222222

 

Table 2. Off Shore Humanitarian Visa Grants. Top seven countries, percent of annual intake. (Dept oI Immigration. immi.gov.au/media)

Country2006-0707-0808-0909-1010-1111-12
Iraq132126182422
Afghanistan13118101211
Burma182722211628
DR Congo63466-
Iran23--3-
Somalia--432-
Sudan2011633-

The ABS (June 2014) record resident population figures as Chinese 447,400, Indian 397,800 and Muslim (Middle Eastern) 476,300. Chinese and Indians, in public comment, are clearly identified as such, however, the religious term Muslim is used and not country of origin, this is sloppy reporting. The battle for Caucasian ‘hearts and minds’ will be the ‘imagined reality’ of Islam. Throughout history, there has always been a fault line between Islam and Christianity living under the same power base unless controlled by a dictator.

 

St. Basil's Cathedral, Moscow.. (Europeisha)
St. Basil’s Cathedral, Moscow. (Europeisha)
Mosque, Algiers.
Emir Abdelkadar Mosque, Algiers (Beautiful Mosques)

In Australia, concurrent with the policy of identifying radicalisation in young citizens, the Government must introduce a policy promoting hope, a place for them in Australian society and reducing the sense of marginalisation. The difficult long term political policy will be to promote religious tolerance alongside multicultural policy, despite a 2 % – 98% ratio, possibly 5% – 95% by 2050. The fault line in the nation is religion not culture, There can only be one ‘Law of the Land’. According to Dr Ghena Krayem, Faculty of Law, Sydney University, Muslims wish to see principles of Sharia Law integrated into the Australian legal system. This is not practicable –  immigrants and established settlers alike must be treated absolutely equally. Other minority groups with with a 2 % influence may also wish for special treatment, such dispensation would quickly lead to legal chaos.

To summarise the issues:

  • Australian internal security is currently seeking to identify suspect individuals within 2.2 % of the population, a very small number. Viewing this situation objectively, any random terrorist shootings or bombings will never approach the 1,153 road fatalities or the 32,500 serious road injuries recorded in 2014, with similar annual repetitions. (Dept. of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics)
  • With estimated Muslim fertility rate of 3 and an estimated 75 % increase in the Muslim population it will approach 850,000, that is approximately 2.6 % of the population in 2050 within an estimated Australian population of 31 million.
  • Australia’s multicultural policy requires overhaul. Much more attention must be given to the integration of young Muslim citizens into an increasingly secular  Caucasian society.
  • The source of friction between Christians and Muslims is not culture, it is the difference in ‘imagined reality’ between two incomprehensible beliefs and the subliminal dominance sought by each faith.
  • A factor that may require more managed immigration is the increasing imbalance between Muslim males and females. The 2001 Census recorded a male – female ratio 53-47%, Australia 49-51 %. Social scientists will have to advise on potential social instability. If there are Muslims in Australia with more than one wife then the published gender imbalance (53-47)  with respect to unattached males is even worse. A social problem looms.

With Australia’s transition to a Republic, the Head of State will administer a vastly different Commonwealth to that governed by the British Crown at the time of Federation. Due to the changing ethnic mix in Great Britain, the reigning Monarch remains ‘Defender of the Faith’ but in 2012 the Queen, in a speech at Lambeth Palace, signalled a change in emphasis. The Anglican Church now has a duty to protect the free practice of all faiths in the United Kingdom.  So too, the first Australian President will probably be invested with a similar responsibility as ‘Defender of the Faith’. This is a totally new canvas; for the first time in 1,400 years Christian Heads of State will have the responsibility for protecting  Moslems.  Saracens and Crusaders will no doubt be turning in their graves.

Rural Bliss

A quiet coffee on the verandah under a cloudless blue sky. A roaring from the direction of the setting sun, trees at the edge of the garden suddenly in whiplash convulsions, air full of dust and leaves as a 50 metre wide ‘willi willi’ tore through the air just in front of me, it crashed into a  ridge  like a mini-hurricane with a howl that subsided to a rustle of leaves leaving the gum trees in a state of shocked immobility. A tremulous bird song warbles the ‘All Clear’.

Paris Massacre, the Background & Climate Change Tipping Point. December 2015

 

images-3
World War 1 Christmas.  The Infojustice Journal

CHRISTMAS 2015.  MAN’S LAUGHTER or MAN SLAUGHTER? (Lord Thomas Babington Macauley, 1800 -1859)

CONTENTS

Back Ground to the Paris Massacre

Advance toward 1984 via the Spanish Civil War

Prequel to Paris Climate Conference

The Hurricane of Climate Change

Rural Bliss

 

 

Background to the November Paris Massacre

An article in Social Europe has placed the November Paris massacre into context, ‘The Paris Attack, the people are made to pay for disastrous Government policies’ (17 November, 2015), author Dr Mehmet Ugar, Professor of Economics, Greenwich University, London, is instructive. The paper was prompted by recent terrorist attacks in Paris, Ankara and Beirut.

The political elite of the Western World and despotic Middle East acolytes are closing ranks due to the growing realisation that Western Governments have been instrumental in the the rise of Islamic State due to the illegal support provided to the Taliban in Afghanistan during the Russian occupation and culminating in the current bombing in Syria of Islamic State forces. Bombing by Britain and Germany in WW2 did not achieve the objective of breaking the spirit of the people, it built up a strong will to survive and an intense hatred of the enemy.

Ordinary people are now asking questions on national security risk and its relation to Government support provided to various militias and partial warfare against the Islamic State. To call the Islamic State a ‘death cult’  trivialises the situation and does not promote understanding of the issues. This phenomenon  has erupted since Western powers intervention in Afghanistan, Iraq (Mission Accomplished!!), Libya and Syria. Despite religious rhetoric, Al Qaeda and Islamic State grew from the political misadventures forced on the Middle East by Western Governments. The terrorism and terrorist threats now endured by Western nations (as an unintended consequence) has been created from the death and destruction, the power vacuum and the supply of weapons facilitated by the West.

The images of Mission Accomplished’ (May 2003) – fantasy,  and a destroyed Russian war plane over Syria (November 2015) – reality, encapsulates Western policy in the Middle East.

 

Victory Speech, President Bush.
Mission Accomplished (fantasy) in Iraq. President Bush on USS Abraham Lincoln off California coast. May 2003. (AP photo, Scott Applewhite)

 

Destroyed Russian Warplane
Russian warplane shot down by Turkish fighters near Syrian-Turkish border (reality), November 2015. (BBC Europe)

The back ground to this current situation was the formation of a unipolar world following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. This generated a push for market dominance by America and the embryonic European Union. The resulting policy was for a ‘democratisation’ of the Islamic Middle East to produce vast new markets for Western industry (economic colonialism). History has shown this policy to be an abject failure.  Likewise, when the Soviet Union imploded in 1991, Western industry moved in slavering over the vast new markets (the Russian people).This was also a disappointment except for the luxury car manufacturers and legal/financial advisors.  As an aside ,economists are advising the West that it must develop markets in Africa if Capitalism is to thrive. Here the West is already on the ‘back foot’ due to an aggressive investment policy by China. Looking back at the history of European Empires, the prime mover for expansion was commerce swiftly followed by military force.

Our politicians do not remind us it was the United States who armed the Taliban to enable them to fight  the Russians in Afghanistan in the 1990s. In the early 2000s, the Taliban then diverted American funds away from the failed state of Afghanistan. The invasion of Iraq in the early 2000s produced numerous Sunni fighters who formed Al Qaeda in Iraq and created the nucleus for the Islamic State militias in 2006. These groups recruited Sunnis who had lost their jobs and livelihoods under the occupation by American, Australian and other NATO – ISAF members (International Security Assistance Force). From this canvas, the West has created a dangerous Lemaean Hydra.

With the overthrow of Gaddafi in Libya, arms depots were looted and sent to Syria via Turkey, a NATO ally. It was the hope of the West this ordinance  would be used by militias to topple the Syrian President,  Assad. This policy was doomed since Syria is Russia’s only Middle Eastern ally, and Russia would obviously protect its Syrian naval base.

The reaction of Western Governments to the Paris massacre is not reassuring:

  • There is a security reflex action after the event which severely restricts the movement of people- the authorities must be seen to be doing something! As if on cue, at the Griffith lecture on the 2nd  December,  journalist Peter Gresta  stated Western Governments are becoming more repressive, are providing more ‘spin’ and journalists lives, are being made more difficult. Globally, millions in the Christian world are being ‘terrorised’ by tens of thousands from the Islamic world. Why?
  • Western Governments have failed to acknowledge any hand in the catastrophes in Libya, Syria and Iraq through their support of illegal armed militias. Western Governments outcry over the Taliban, Al Qaeda and Islamic State lack credibility since they are the source of the problem.
  • To heighten population anxiety, Western Governments  have not distinguished between political (in house ) terrorism and terrorist (Islamic State ) terrorism. There are examples of political terrorism in Turkey and the war against the Kurds who are battling Islamic State. The West has not challenged Turkey on this as it is regarded as a NATO partner with geopolitical and business advantages.

It is extraordinary that the G20 Summit has just been held in Turkey, despite the fact that the Government did not consider the Islamic State to be a terrorist organisation until recently. Add to this the media restrictions and the state of emergency with the Kurds. Quite obviously, Turkey is important to NATO.  Again, extraordinarily, it has recently come to light there is an illegal oil trade between Turkey and Islamic State (Dr Alexy Moraviev, Curtain University). Credence has been given to this assertion by an ABC News Flash which statedTurkey had shot down the Russian warplane as it was disrupting the oil trade with Islamic State. In early December, CNN also announced the Russian warplane had been shot down to protect the oil trade with Islamic State. On RN Breakfast (3 December), a Terrorist Finance expert (DML Associates, Virginia) indicated Islamic State has an approximate income of $1.5 million  a day from oil fields under its control in Syria and Iraq. Regularly, oil tankers cross the border into Turkey.  The Assad Government also purchases oil from Islamic State.

Western policy has produced a twin-pronged terrorist recruitment problem:

  • The  numbers of the original disaffected Sunnis with military background are being reinforced by Iraqis and Syrians whose families have been destroyed by Western bombing, thereby generating a hatred for Western culture. From this will flow a desire to revenge their own dead and maimed families.
  • Young Sunni men and women in Europe, America and Australia  are open to radicalisation because Governments have not pursued active assimilation. As immigrants, these people feel marginalised and consider they do not have a future.

The announcement that America is to permit Special Forces to operate in Syria has the makings of a macabre Gilbert and Sullivan operetta:

  • Russian troops are in Syria protecting President Assad, a naval base and a military airfield. The troops are bombing Syrian militias who wish to depose Assad and have an interest in neutralising Islamic State just as Russia has concerns for discontent in its own Islamic underbelly.
  • Simultaneously, American forces will be in Syria to destroy the Islamic State and support freedom fighters whose objective is to remove Assad.
  • Both Powers (which include Royal Australian Air Force) are bombing military targets which will involve ‘collateral’ damage.
  • Also under this scenario Russians and Americans are on either side of a firing line.

In conclusion, ordinary citizens will continue to suffer from disastrous Western policies: there will be Government spin and less democratic freedom while  authoritarian regimes will be supported for commercial or strategic reasons. Take home message – always look behind the news. The general public is provided with an ‘approved’ version, not necessarily the unvarnished truth. Peter Gresta’s advice was to be skeptical  of all public information.

 

Advance toward 1984 via the 1936 Spanish Civil War

It is possible the ghost of the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) now hovers over Syria. The antagonists in Spain were the ‘Right’ army (military and landowners) and the ‘Left’ army (battalions of workers). Fascist Germany and Italy supported the Right and the Soviet Union supported the Left. Historical comments show both Germany and Russia used the war to test and experiment with new techniques of mechanised warfare.

Enter the Syrian crisis onto the world stage: on the Left is Russia supporting a despotic Assad while on the Right are members of the   North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO). Both are engaging Islamic State but Russia is also fighting militias who wish to overthrow Assad while NATO members support and arm the militias –  a dark Gilbert and Sullivan travesty.  Both Russia and NATO forces  are using these hostilities to test precision bombing and other armaments. The disaster that is now Syria has been a ‘Godsend’ to the industrial-military complex which relishes increased sales and the opportunity to test the effectiveness of new weapons on humans.

Enter 1984 in the guise of 2016. George Orwell was a visionary. The current geopolitical situation appears as a progression toward ‘1984’ which is a fiction but current global trends are a concern. Orwell conceived eternal conflict between three global power blocks. There was no victor only shifting alliances to ensure no one power  block became dominant. The waring entities were:

  • Oceania comprising North America, South America, Britain, Southern Africa and Australia.
  • Eurasia comprising Russia and Western Europe.
  • Eastasia comprising China and East Asia.
  • Disputed comprising Central  Africa, India and South East Asia.

 

 

 

1984 World
The World of 1984 as envisaged by Orwell (Map 109, We Come From the Future)

The map is a fiction but it is inescapable that the world is verging towards three power blocks, China, Russia and North America. The current global situation appears to be that:

  • China is a rising military power which is increasing its grip over East Asia. Its foreign investment policy in Africa is vigorous.
  • Russia is flexing naval muscles in the Pacific and is causing NATO angst over Ukraine and Monte Negro and is sending shivers into the Baltic States.
  • The United States is on a shaky ‘pivot to Asia’, and appears to have no counter to China’s policy in the South China Sea. There is a quiet but serious struggle for influence with Russia over Syria.
  • It is important Australia clings tightly to ANZUS; it is not impossible that this continent might also become an Orwellian ‘Disputed Territory’ only valued for its mineral wealth. Is it possible Eastasia has already netted a 99-year lease on the port of Darwin?

The prognosis for 2016 is that current geopolitical trends will consolidate – some in the South China Sea are already set in concrete.

 

Prequel to the Paris Climate Conference

The world has moved from the benign Holocene climate to the benighted Anthropocene (Human Age) that brings fire, flood, hurricane, drought and species extinction. The bottom line of the PCC appears to be that, on present carbon dioxide equivalent pollution, global temperature in fifty years will rise to 2.7*C above baseline – catastrophe. To limit temperature to 2*C will still be a disaster while limiting to 1.5*C will be a calamity that might be managed. The entrails of the Conference have been spread across the planet, no further comment is warranted here.

Apparently, not given prominence was the nexus between global warming and ecological disaster, geopolitical hegemony and Capitalism that drives global commerce and global warming. Comment published by The Guardian (3 September) is relevant:

  • current Capitalism is an impediment to solving climate change,
  • successful Capitalism depends on perpetual economic growth, -this is no longer possible,
  • there is an inherent contradiction between Capitalism and environmental sustainability,
  • Capitalism requires inexhaustible natural resources and increasing production, markets, consumption and waste disposal,
  • neoliberal economic policy has failed; Governments must become more prescriptive and enact restrictive laws,
  • ecological rehabilitation, recycling and greenhouse gas reduction must proceed in lockstep.

 

Cause of Global warming
Capitalism – the cause of Global Warming.
(thewalrus.ca)

 

The cause of Global Warming People
The driver of Global Warming – Consumer Lifestyle.
(The Guardian, Sarah Lee)

A recent publication by E Colbert (2014), ‘Can Climate Change cure Capitalism? This makes for sombre reading:

  • global corporations have become to big too fail,
  • corporations distain civil society- commercial drivers are growth and profit, not the condition of the host country,
  • global corporations operate outside the law and are degrading natural capital,
  • global corporations are generating resentment around the world.

Enter now competitive hegemony and its corrosive addition to global warming. The Monthly Review (2009) published the paper by Dr J Forster, Sociology Department, Oregon University,  “A Failed System – The World Crisis of Capitalism and Globalisation and its effect on China”. In this sombre review, the spectre of  ‘1984’ (George Orwell) is emerging in a destabilised global community. There are three consuming problems:

  • A global financial crisis teetering towards stagflation or deflation. Society living under Capitalism is suffering income inequality and an inability to maintain employment equilibrium. The Achilles’ Heel of Capitalistic production is that it depends on the consuming power of society. The destabilisation of the MiddleEast, the implosion of the Soviet Union and slow African development has not produced the anticipated markets required necessary for a Capitalistic hegemonic power block to survive.
  • An ecological collapse may be a greater threat than a financial collapse. With global temperature around 0.9*C above pre-industrial levels, ecological disasters are sweeping the planet, namely deforestation, overgrazing, desertification, ocean acidification, water shortage, species extinction, industrial and human pollution, polar ice loss and cancerous urban growth.
  • There is increasing imperial global instability originating in a struggle for hegemony and natural resources. Perhaps ‘winning hearts and minds’ has now been replaced by ‘bomb the bastards’ or ‘lock them up’. The cult of Capitalism, by its nature, is ‘imperial’. The ‘centre’ controls the process while the ‘periphery’ provides natural resources and the markets. Originally, both China and Russia were dependant satellites of Western Capitalism; now this is changing as new power blocks are rising to challenge American hegemony.

Capitalism and its impact on the Global Community. The concentration of power (economic, financial, communication, industrial, military) is intrinsic to capitalism as a global system since the world economy was based on wealth accumulation at the ‘centre’.

The Capitalistic world is most stable when there is a single hegemonic power, i.e. Britain in 19th century and America in 20th century. The rise of China is precipitating hegemonic instability and the  the financial system is verging toward crisis. The rise of China and Russia constitute a tectonic geopolitical shift in the Capitalistic system and this can precipitate ecological disaster as military activity ramps up. With decline in power of the United States relative to China, the United States has sought to gain resources and political dominance by establishing military bases round the globe. America regards China as its ultimate major competitor and views with concern its active roll in African resource development. It also has concern for a China-Iran alliance –  to counter this America has a pact with India.  Although the United States and China have strong trade ties the rise of China and the relative decline of United States influence is generating a tense relationship. Current flash points are the  military activity in the South China Sea and the ‘string of pearls’ maritime bases (including Darwin) terminating in the oil rich Persian Gulf.

For Capitalism to flourish wealth must be maintained at the ‘centre’ which was ‘The City’ (London) and ‘Wall Street (New York). The financial centre of gravity is moving eastward across Eurasia towards China.  America now worries about the strength of its dollar. To remain relevant as an economic power, America must maintain its trade settlement and reserve currency status. Currently China is seeking to globalise the renminbi to trade financing capacity and become a currency of last resort. Ultimate international acceptance would weaken United States financial influence. Currently China holds over $600 billion of US Treasury debt: if America devalued, China would regard this as a hostile act of expropriation. The other horn of this dilemma is if China moves away from the dollar this could destabilise the United States and the world economic order.

In the 21st century, classic geopolitical Capitalist theory requires the control of the rim lands of Eurasia, this is in line with American ‘Pivot to Asia’ to ensure economic and military dominance.

Capitalism (production and consumption) is the principal cause of global warning. It is regarded as a failed system by economic experts for several reasons:

  • There  is a threat of global deflation worse than in the 1930s,
  • Ecological disasters due to industrial/economic activity threaten the planet,
  • Neoliberal Capitalism is now discredited,
  • America has attempted to regain hegemony by a ‘War on Terror’
  • At the time of the Global Financial Crisis, the banking industry was bailed out by $4400 billion while the climate change program only netted $13 billion.

Martin Wolf, Chief Economist, (Financial Times Oct. 2015) is concerned the global economic system could break down as in the 1930s. This situation is partly due to the policy of mercantilist countries (China, Germany, Japan) running a large surplus, with insufficient internal demand –  there was a policy of dumping on distressed markets.

Capitalism has been in a long term crisis which has resulted in depression economics as a general global situation. Among ‘democratic’ populations there is now a perception that industrial Capitalism and consumerism are responsible for global warming and ecological disasters. Concurrent with this realisation is the rise of three competing power blocks, America (Oceania), Russia (Eurasia) and China (Eastasia). Collegial cooperation, to ensure global warming objectives, will be more difficult to maintain due to their competing quest for hegemony and resources.

Final Comment. The international community has to surmount several issues if global warming reduction is to become reality:

  • vastly reduce greenhouse gas emissions
  • sequester carbon in sinks, soils, forests, geological formations
  • commence massive recycle programs
  •  reduce product choice in consumerism
  • create a new form of Capitalism based on less consumerism
  • encourage ecologically friendly industries with commensurate returns on investment

Scientific advice is that it will take several decades for current greenhouse gases to work through the system: climatic conditions will continue to deteriorate before improving. Complicating progress will be the three global powers battling for supremacy.

 

The Hurricane of Climate Change

Behind the glitz, carols and incantations of Christmas it has been despair and devastation for millions. The disasters below all encompass the ‘Festive Season’ – on their own an unfortunate occurrence, globally a portent as clear as the ‘Star over Bethlehem’. According to NOAA, globally 2015 was the hottest year to date with the Pacific and Indian Oceans being the warmest ever. Australia’s BOM reports the warmest year for Sydney. The cartoon again illustrates that the lifestyle of Anthropocene mankind is coming back to bite it.

 

Cause of Global warming
Earth responds to its Rape and Pillage
(thewalrus.ca)

A partial picture across the ‘Festive Season’:

  • Australia: flooding south of Darwin, bush fire along the Great Ocean Road, the Kurnell tornado, the South Australian heatwave.
  • Argentina-Paraquay-Brazil-Uruquay: worst floods in fifty years, over 150,000 flee to safety.
  • North America: extensive bush fires in California, floods in Missouri, tornados and blizzards inTexas and New Mexico.
  • England: severe flooding in north and central regions, over 2,000 homes affected.
  • Philippines: typhoon Melor affects over 700,000 people.
  • Ethiopia: drought and famine, over 350,000 children severely undernourished.
  • India: worst floods for over 100 years in Tamil Nadu.
  • The Vatican: ongoing corruption and sleaze trial! (ABC RN Breakfast, 30 December)

 

Rural Bliss

Despite dire warnings of a dry El Nińo weather event, November/December rainfall was seven inches, dams are full, creeks are flowing. For an El Nińo the Southern Oscillation Index is inconsistent –  falling from minus 18 (av.) Sept/Oct to minus 6 (av.) Nov/Dec. Moisture laden winds from the Indian Ocean and East Coast lows are providing unexpected rain. With the Indian and Pacific Oceans’ sea surface temperatures abnormally high the SOI has been driven lower but the El Nińo is still causing havoc in South America and southern Africa.

 

 

 

 

 

Domestic Violence, Radicalisation, Multiculturalism, Elephants in the Room. November 2015.

Elephants in the Room
Elephants in the Room
(ngm.nationalgeographic.com
Brent Sturton)

Elephants in the Room

The Paris Massacre – Guerilla Warfare

Terrorism v Tourism

Harbingers of Climate Change or Coincidence

Pyrrhic Victory

 

 

THE ELEPHANTS IN THE ROOM

Preamble

  • During recent months, Australians have been exposed to and shaken by activities that are widely reported but the fundamental  causes are clearly not discussed and thus remain ‘elephants in the room’. In most situations the common denominator is innate human  behaviour. The activities  with problems for government are domestic (male) violence (5.8%), radicalism (0.03%) and multiculturalism (1.9%) of the population. The following will hopefully broaden the discussion. (Reference – % of population)
  • 5.8% – Women and Safety Survey, ABS, 2005
  • 0.03% – Professor Riaz, University of South Australia
  • 1.9% – Pew Research Institute, Washington

 

Domestic (Male) Violence

Despite its prevalence there appears to have been little discussion on the nature of domestic violence perpetrators. Comment below only applies to Australians of Caucasian origin (The Second People). This is a society where moral and probity values are weakening and where partnering or cohabitation is replacing marriage. The National Crime Vctimisation Survey (2005) reported that between 1979 and 1987, 65%  of crimes on women were committed by boyfriends or ex-husbands where as only 9% were committed by husbands. It was also determined that aggression was twice as violent among cohabiters as it was among married couples. A fundamental problem is that male cohabiters are prone to seek variation while cohabiting females regard the activity as a prelude to marriage. (Domestic violence in marriage versus cohabitational relationships, Citizen Link, June 2010). A factor apparently not considered is the relationship between male violence and the propensity to watch pornography and X-rated violent movies. This must be clarified.

A News Flash on ABC RN mentioned the increasing prevalence  of binge drinking among white middle-class young women. It is a recognised fact that there are social problems among young single mothers in Australia who end up cohabiting with several male partners – domestic violence can then occur. A recent report on child abuse, ‘Australian Statistics on Domestic Violence’, did not differentiate between married and informal relationships but it is an inescapable fact that news bulletins include stories of male cohabiters harming children. (Taking sex differences seriously, Encounter Books, Roads, 2004.)

Family Violence
Family Violence and Destruction of Childhood (123RF)

The human is an omnivorous mammal only ‘recently’ controlled by social custom. In nature, it is a fact that male primates and carnivorous animals will perpetrate lethal violence on off-spring not their own. Have cohabiting male humans totally lost their primal urges? Domestic violence  could be reduced if there was a return to more responsible living. This is not possible in our permissive society. This is  the elephant in the room.

 

Radicalisation

A month after a Police employee was shot dead by a Muslim youth in Western Sydney, the NSW Government has announced a deradicalisation program directed primarily at young Muslims ‘at risk’. The $47 million package is designed to identify and fight violent extremism. About $15 million will fund teams of experts who  will, with cooperation of school staff, seek to identify and ‘detoxify’ young radicals. The Prime Minister has essentially defined the tenor of the program by a public statement that called for rooting out of evil, punishing wrong doers and applying forceful law. Persons of interest will be as young as fourteen.

State Power
Premier Baird and NSW Police Chief Skipione  announcing the program.         (Photo Nic Walker.)

The policy seeks to determine the immediate cause of radicalisation but there appears to be little effort in seeking out the deeper issues that make the young mind susceptible in the first place. This is an elephant the Government has difficulty with. The deeper issues were spelt out in my October blog where experts indicated that Muslim youth needs to anticipate a life of hope and fulfilment. Currently there is a feeling of exclusion and poor job prospects – these young people do not feel part of Australian society. The current approach of requiring teachers to report signs of ‘radicalism’ is likely to be counter productive and will tend to encourage community resentment according to a Federal Government counter terrorism expert, Andrew Zammit, University of Melbourne.

Muslim Demonstration.
Muslim Demonstrators and Police, Hyde Park. (The Australian, October 2015, Simon Bullard.)

Throughout history no ruling elite has been able to destroy the human spirit when ideology is combined with a religious faith. Conviction is not destroyed by punishment or incarceration,  it is merely driven underground. How many times has the phrase  winning ‘hearts and minds’ been uttered in the last century. Examples of survival against persecution where the human spirit prevailed against force:

  • Rome, persecution of Christians
  • China, persecution of Falon Gong
  • Turkey, genocidal activities against the Kurds
  • Europe, Catholic and Protestant warfare

The ‘elephant in the room’ is a combination of the Australian Government being unable to sustain a multicultural policy that engenders a sense of belonging and fulfilment among young people, and unable to combat a vocal rump of Australians who are openly hostile to Muslims.

 

Multiculturism

Australia has not yet buried the backlog of prejudice from its Colonial and early Federation past: the multicultural policy is starting to show rents and tears in the fabric as intolerant factions organise anti-Muslim demonstrations. It should not be forgotten that this continent was rediscovered by Afghan Muslim cameleers as well as explorers and graziers.

Australia is now facing a cultural shift as Muslims from the Middle East make their home in Australia – they are here to stay. To place  the  second great Islamic migration in perspective, the Pew Research Institute has compiled  information on the Muslim component of European countries.

CountryYearPercent YearPercent (est.)
Britain20112.520308.2
France201111.0203010.0
Germany20105.020307.1
Denmark20104.120305.6
Australia20111.920302.8

According  to a Morgan poll, requested by the Q Society (an anti Islamist group) and published in Front Page, New York (Nov. 2013), which indicates Australians have unfavourable views on Muslims, the summarised results are:

  • 70% are not better off because of Islam
  • 53% want full-face covering banned
  • 85% think Islam and terrorism are related
  • 96% want Christmas, Easter and ANZAC to remain unchanged

By comparison, the results of a Social Cohesion Survey (Oct. 2015) by the Scanlon Foundation and Monash University also record a negative attitude to Muslims. Results show 5% of respondents have a negative attitude to Christian and Buddhist faiths but 25% show negative attitude towards the Muslim faith. Around 85% considered multiculturalism good for Australia but, on the basis of the survey, Muslims would not have been included.

Among Caucasian Australians, there is a growing concern the Muslim population is increasing too rapidly. The Pew Research Institute has estimated that between 2010 and 2030 the Muslim population will increase by 80% but the non Muslim (mainly Caucasian Australians) will only increase by 18%, i.e. Muslim numbers will increase from 399,000 (1.9%) to 800,000  (2.8%). Growth is expected to slow after 2030. By 2100 the Institute estimates the Muslim population will be 6.5% .

The problem for Australia is that immigrants from the Middle East are totally different from Greeks and Italians (1950s) and the Vietnamese (1960s). The former were Christians and the latter Buddhists; both rapidly merged into the ‘bull dust’. The Middle Eastern immigrants, mainly from Iraq, Iran, Syria and Turkey, are very publicly devout Muslims, it is this obvious outward manifestation that Australians find disconcerting. Doubly disconcerting is the Pew Institute estimate that by 2050 the Australian population will be 31% professed Christian and 30% devout Muslim. This illustrates drift by Australians away from  their Christian roots.

Chullora Mosque
Chullora Mosque
Knowledge is Light, Worship is Worship
Funded by King Fahd, Saudi Arabia

Comments by Professor Michael Humphrey, Sydney University, and Professor Riaz Hassan, University of South Australia, confirm the plight of Muslims in Australia. Muslims do suffer from their non-white status and social marginalisation. The practice of fasting, veiling and praying  are a challenge to conformity in the public space. Muslim wages tend to be lower than the national average, only 5%  earn over $1,000  a week compared with the national average of 11%.  Muslims are over represented in NSW jails being 9% of the prisoners  but less than 3% of the population. Professor Hassan makes the point that of approximately 500,000 Muslims only 150 have been radicalised (less than 0.03%). Australia apparently has more anti-terrorism laws than any other country.

Comment

As Islamic influence increases in Australia, there will be push-back by Caucasian Australians (The Second People!). The situation in Europe provides a sense of the future events in Australia. Multiculturism, as conceived in Australia, never envisaged a competing faith in a Christian country. Competing faiths seldom exist in harmony within the same national boundary. This is the ‘elephant in the room’ for the Government to manage.

 

THE PARIS MASSACRE – GUERRILLA WARFARE

Islamic State Guerrillas
Islamic State Guerrillas
(news.yahoo.com}

Why France? France has the highest proportion (11%) of Muslims in Europe. It is well known that many Muslims born after 9/11 have not been assimilated into the French community; they feel rejected and marginalised – a fertile breeding ground for subversion.

The Islamic State prosecutes guerrilla war against the West as well as Arab communities. Guerrilla warfare has several consequences:

  • it ties down many more defenders than attackers
  • it is  more costly for the defenders than the attackers
  • the guerrillas will frequently find support and safety within the community under attack
  • guerrillas can obtain their objective, if not immediately, then as time goes by
  • it is not easy to stamp out guerrilla activity by harsh retaliation since ideological resolve is bolstered by unquenchable faith.

Examples of guerrilla warfare are:

  • Malaya – The Emergency – unusually this Chinese fighting force was virtually destroyed
  • Afghanistan – The Taliban – this force has revived after American withdrawal
  • Vietnam – Communist Insurgency – guerrillas prevailed and Americans were forced to withdraw
  • Gaza – Hezbollah – long running battles with Israel
  • South Africa – African National Congress – ultimately gained political power
  • Ireland – Home Rule- Irish won independence from Britain

None of the above closely reflect war with the Islamic State in terms of political objective. In this situation there are two guerrilla variants: first, the hardline fighters in Syria and Iraq and those who have returned; second, the young Muslims – the ‘fertile ground’ – comprising those with empty and marginalised lives in France, Australia, elsewhere in Europe and America. A young French woman, after the massacre on 14 November, wept into the microphone “What has happened to us?” What has happened is the unthinking neglect by the French Government resulting in the lost ‘hearts and minds’ of a large section of the Muslim population. Australia is in the same predicament. In a comment on ABC RN (16 Nov.) Senator Marise Payne, Minister of Defence, is the first politician who (to my knowledge) has used the term ‘hearts and minds’. Until France can provide an inclusive sense of domicile for young Muslims, a fertile ground for insurrection will grow and strengthen. Raising the drawbridge and lowering the portcullis will achieve little since the home grown enemy is within. The same applies to Australia.

Whether the Islamic State is destroyed is up to the military and the politicians but, as in the Malayan Emergency, it would need to be total. Currently Western powers are in Austria discussing a negotiated political settlement, as with many negotiated settlements following guerrilla warfare all parties sit at the ‘table’. Would Islamic State have a seat at the ‘table’?

Following the Paris bombings on the 13th November the Australian Prime Minister addressed Parliament on the 24th November. There appeared to be an ‘elephant in the room’ omission.  For Australia the future ‘enemy within’ (leaving out those adult fighters who wish to return) will be the disaffected and  marginalised children of appreciative Muslim immigrants. The speech alluded to “young minds need assistance” but the problem may be the Australian people  might lack the enthusiasm to fully win over the ‘hearts and minds’ of young Muslims  and provide them with a rich and rewarding future. Young minds are susceptible to radicalisation because what is on offer is more attractive than their long term future in the suburbs  of Australian cities.

 

TERRORISM V TOURISM

Sharmel el-Sheikh
Sharm el-Sheikh holiday hotels, Red Sea. (shutterstosck.com)

Following the downing of a Russian airliner, an ABC RN comment caught my ear. Russia was sending 44 aircraft to pick up  about 11,000  stranded holiday makers and Britain was sending 14. This was a major airlift. The holiday capacity of Sharm el-Sheikh on the Red Sea is boggling – there are 62,000 rooms (minimum 124,000 guests) – and is responsible for 33% of Egyptian tourist trade. Small  wonder there is such reluctance to attribute the disaster to terrorism.

 

HARBINGERS of CLIMATE CHANGE or COINCIDENCE

A juxtaposition of natural events could be considered coincidence or there could be a more sinister interpretation. How relevant is the information below to the imminent Paris Conference on Global Warming? The apparently unrelated events are:

  • Another case of meningitis encephalitis caused by the amoeba Naegleria fowleri has been identified. This parasite thrives in fresh water. North-west Queensland graziers have been instructed to chlorinate all water from lakes, dams, creeks and bores prior to domestic consumption.
Naegleria fowleri
Naegleria fowleri, a waterborne amoeba parasite.

 

Contaminated bore water. (Marc Smith)
Water probably contaminated by Naegleria fowleri, north-west Queensland.(Marc Smith)
  • The BOM has announced the Sydney minimum winter temperatures are the highest ever recorded.
  • South-eastern Australia for the past six months has been under the influence of an El Niño. The sea surface temperature in the central Pacific, at 2.4 *C above the average, is the highest ever recorded. The Southern Oscillation Index, a measure of the intensity of the El Niño at minus 21.3 for October, is among some of the lowest recorded. (Qld. Gov. Dept. of Science.)
  • For a large area of south-eastern Australia which should be experiencing hot dry El Niño conditions, the region is having unusual widespread heavy rain from Southern Ocean ‘lows’ that are bringing rain from the south east, that is, the Tasman Sea. This is unexpected.

Individually these events are unusual but combined, over a common time frame, there could be a sinister significance.

 

PYRRHIC VICTORY

It is incredible that a month after the announcement on the 99-year lease of Port Darwin to Chinese interests the Labor Party has, at last,  raised the matter of due diligence with the Government. This is an amazing situation. The Secretary of Defence, Denis Richardson, has mentioned Government is maintaining a watching brief but the silence on informed comment is deafening.

Darwin Port is well placed to service the planned multi-million dollar oil and gas activity in the Arafura and Timor Seas. Prior to the Port acquisition the Landridge Group acquired a 31% controlling interest in  Westside Corporation for $178 million (Aust. Bus. Review, July 2014), coal seam LNG will be exported to China through Gladstone. Is Darwin about to become and oil and gas hub controlled by foreign investors?

 

 

 

 

Xenophobic Australia & Islam in Australia. OCTOBER 2015

 

The Author
The Author, Winter Antarctic Vortex, Circular Quay, Sydney.,2015

The Clash of Cultures

Xenophobic Australia

The Prime Minister is Sacked.  Long Live the Prime Minister

A Pyrrhic Victory?

Rural Bliss

 

The Clash of Cultures

The assassination of a NSW Police employee by a 15 year old Muslim youth has promoted verbal heat and smoke but not much light. Except for the Prime Minister, politicians have indulged in platitudes while experts have contributed to an intellectual discussion on the emerging problem,  the ‘radicalisation’ of Australian youth. This contribution will summarise Government knee jerk reaction, reasoned comment by specialists and a wrap-up discussion.

Initial Government reaction is to consider more restrictive anti-terrorist legislation (control orders and 28 day detention) and an exhortation to schools, mothers and clerics to do more to identify incipient ‘radicalism’.

Not in my Name
Young Muslims against Jihad (telegraph.com.uk)

Informed comment has been made by several including:

  • Fergal Davis, Director, Tobin Centre of Public Law, UNSW
  • Charlie Winter, Senior Researcher, Quilliam Foundation, UK
  • Brett Walker, SC. Independent National Security Legislation Monitor, Canberra
  • Ahmed Fahour, CEO, Australia Post

Fergal Davis  (The World today, 13 Oct 2015) considers it is a mistake for Government to enact more laws. Current laws , if used intelligently, are adequate. The UK experience is that ‘control orders’ are not a very useful investigatory tool. The problem is that the Government must be seen to be doing ‘something’. In the UK ‘control orders’ had a chilling effect on investigations and inhibited ready cooperation with the local community. The UK is now rolling back some of its anti-terror laws. In the UK, the 28 day detention is no longer used and detention without charge is limited to 14 days. In Australia,  an increase in anti-terror legislation will require more resources and this will be difficult. Davis thought Government policy should not be tougher – just a lot smarter. He is concerned the extension of ‘control orders’ will antagonise the community and make it less cooperative.

Charlie Winter is an expert on Transnational Jihadism and is advisor to the UK Parliament and the Terrorism Research and Analysis Consortium, Washington. His major concern is that Muslim youth must be given a life of hope and fulfilment; currently there is a sense of exclusion and poor job prospects.

Brett Walker SC considered that tough new laws will be counter productive and that extending the reach of ‘control orders’ will produce resentment in the local community.

Ahmed Fahour  The Australian Government made Fahour Special Envoy  to the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation whose objective is to safeguard  the interest of Muslims by encouraging peace and harmony. His concern is that Muslim youth require improved opportunity and a greater sense of belonging to Australia.

By contrast, Prime Minister Turnbull has come out with a strong exhortation to root out evil, punish wrong doers and respond to threats that challenge authority with forceful law. A polarised situation.

Comment  Australian authorities are calling on schools, mothers and clerics to be the front line to identify ‘radicalising’ behaviour. Behind this facade the Government has a monumental problem it is reluctant to expose. Adult immigrants, arriving in Australia from the Arab world, appreciate the opportunity to start a new life and they work to improve their situation. Their young children, however, grow up under an Islamic tradition and gradually become aware of their marginalised condition and an inability to participate in Australia’s nominally Christian democracy. Academics and experts have alluded to this problem, the adjective ‘hopeless’ being expressed. For Australia to confront this problem, it will require a policy of ‘inclusiveness’ into a Western society. Ed Husic, Western Sydney Federal MP (ABC RN, 15 Oct 2015) made the prescient comment that fertile ground must be available for ‘radicalisation’ to take root. This is the ‘elephant herd’ in our community but the Government is refusing to openly discuss it.

The Jerusalem Post (13 Oct 2015) has reported a spate of attacks on Jews by Palestinians. Among the killers were two boys of 13 and 17  years. They had nothing to lose by taking up weapons.  Comment was made on the ‘hopeless’ situation  that many Palestinians believe they are in. For Australia, are young citizens being ‘radicalised’ because they have a perception that their prospects within Australian society are hopeless – an understanding that seeps into them from a young age? Amidst all the political rhetoric there appears to be no serious endeavour to understand why young people are being ‘radicalised’.

A factor, not given publicity but possibly relevant  in the ‘radicalisation’ mix, is that the vast majority of Muslims in Australia are Sunni (Islam in Australia, 2015). The civil war in Syria pits Assad Alawites (Shia) against the Sunni majority. The Sunni ISIS phenomena, in part, owes its origin to the chaos in Syria and the power vacuum in Iraq. It is not lost on better-informed Australian Sunni citizens that Australia has done nothing to reduce the genocide by Assad. With Russian entry  into this theatre an opportunity has been lost.

The Sequel  Within two weeks of the assassination of the police employee, the Australian Prime Minister arranged a Canberra conference on ‘Radicalisation’; delegates appeared to be only police and bureaucrats. A communiqué afterwards appeared to deal only with identification and suppression of radicalism. It did not appear to consider “fertile ground” and the opinions expressed by Davis, Winter, Walker, Fahour, Husic and others. It may be that Australia has only the choice of two options:

  1. A legal forceful approach
  2. Address issues relating to ‘fertile ground’

Obviously a combination of these two is the only acceptable option. Banning Islam would destroy the reputation of a multi-cultural Australia.

Footnote  According to the 2011 Census there are 476,291 Muslims in Australia (2.2% of the population and almost 50% are under 24 years old. ( House of Representatives, Social Policy, March 2007). Kevin Andrews, former Minister of Immigration and Defence, in an updated statement (SBS, 24 Feb 2014) warned that Australia should have a serious discussion on the growth of the Muslim population.

 

Xenophobic Australia

In recent months Australia has witnessed demonstrations by fringe collectives against Muslim immigrants. Heavy-handed Government action might drive them underground but, as in Europe, they will not be silenced. These groups also require ‘deradicalisation’.
Some details below:

  • Australian Defence League  This group is based on the English Defence League. There are alleged to be thousands of Facebook users. The League obtains spiritual nourishment from the Q Society associated with the radical Dutch politician, Geert Wilders. The leader of the ADL is a believed to be Mr R Cerminara (ABC News 24/12/2014). The membership appears to be undistinguished. It has been revealed that RAN crew employed on Operation Sovereign  are members and supporters of the Australian Defence League. (newmatilda.com 29/1/2014)
  • Reclaim Australia  This is alleged to be an inclusive collective of nationalities and faiths making a stand against racial extremism. This body seeks patriotic Australians who wish to protect the Australian ‘way of life’. The objective is to is to reclaim lost rights and resist a declining Christian dominance diluted by multiculturalism. The leader is Mr D Nilliah. (SBS, 8/10/2015) The membership is sometimes audible but undistinguished.
  • United Patriotic Front   A nation wide movement opposing Left Wing ideology and the spread of Islam. It is an offshoot from Reclaim Australia. Apparently there are several leaders but at the apex is a Mr S Burgess. Members may be vocal but undistinguished.
Fringe Party Supporter
Right Wing Party Member (herald sun.com)
  • The Australian Liberal Alliance  Mr Geert Wilders, a Dutch MP and leader of the ‘Party for Freedom’ in Holland with 12% of the democratic vote, has assisted in the formation of the Australian Liberty Alliance Party. The objective of both parties is to stop the spread of Islam in Holland and Australia. Three candidates, Bernard Gaynor, Kirralee Smith, Debbie Robinson, (all educated) will stand for Senate positions at the next election. This party will differ from its Australian counterparts in that membership will tend to be more intellectually distinguished.
ALA, Senate candidates
Australian Liberal Alliance Senate candidates. (ABC, Glynn Jones)

Comment  With the exception of the Australian Liberal Alliance, membership of these organisations appears to be more xenophobic than intellectual, however, they are able to interest and co-opt rowdy supporters. Culminating activity this month was in Bendigo objecting to mosque construction. The Government must recognise this situation is another deradicalisation and education problem. My July Blog alluded to this problem of the radicalising of electorates. Australia is never far behind Western Europe.

 

The Prime Minister is sacked. Long live the Prime Minister

Soon after the demise of Prime Minister Abbott, the Director of the Australian Liberal Party, Brian Loughnane, opined that Mr Abbott could have won the next election. Loughnane has missed the point. Abbott was sacked because attributes necessary to run a positive export-oriented economy were lacking. The Directors ( Members of Parliament) considered a competent CEO, not a ‘talented’ individual, was required. This was a hardheaded decision based on non-performance and a lack of confidence in leadership qualities. Until politicians make appointments based on competence, not talent, Australia will languish as a viable democracy. 

 

A Pyrrhic Victory?

Th 99 year lease for the port of Darwin granted to Landbridge, owned by Chinese billionaire Ye Cheng, is riveting news. Consideration is $506 million for an 80% interest. The agreement requires $200 million  on capital works over the next 25 years with $35 million to be expended by 2020. The plan is to create a massive entrepôt for Northern Australia. Defence officials in Canberra are discussing security implications and the Executive Director of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute is reported to be wary. (World Today, 15 Oct 2015) To ensure access to the port, the Australian Defence Department has a fifteen year agreement in place. Both American and Australian naval sources indicate the port is not suitable for modern requirements. The Government has therefore approved an $18 million construction budget for a military barge facility for giant amphibious ships near Darwin.

Strangely, the NT Chief Minister (NT News, 16 October) has refused to say if lease arrangements were discussed with the US marines based in Darwin. The port facilities are vitally important to their current activities. No comment from Washington has been sighted. Each year the US navy carries out multinational military exercises and hosts foreign warships in the port. One of the corner stones of the US ‘pivot to Asia’ and cooperation with Australia is based out of Darwin. Back tracking, the Ghan railway to Darwin was completed by Haliburton, a major contracting group for the US military. It is part of a military strategy that would not have considered a Chinese presence. Dr Bateman, University of Wollongong, has made comment that China has acquired an interest in ports from the South China Sea, across the Indian Ocean to the Gulf States for commercial reasons. Historically, commercial shipping is always followed by naval protection. Darwin will now be pendant to the Chinese ‘string of pearls’.

Darwin Port
Darwin Wharves (NT Times)

Some hanging questions:

  • Will Chinese military personnel or equipment be based at the port?
  • What protocols will be required of Australian and American warships to enter a privately owned harbour?
  • Under international maritime law, does any vessel have the right to enter a privately owned port within designated sea lanes?
  • Considering the implication of ANZUS and potential tension with China, what are scenario alternatives?
  • Fifty years hence, will this arrangement be considered the precursor to an antipodean Hong Kong?
USS Larsen
USS Larsen on patrol (Reuters. US Navy)

In late October a United States navy guided missile destroyer, USS Larsen,  cruised within 12 miles of the Spratley Islands in the South China Sea. This action has deliberately escalated tension between China and America.  Are there implications for the port of Darwin? (www.theblaze.com and ABC News)

 

Rural Bliss

Drought
Drought

Over 80% of Queensland remains in an extended drought. El Niño is now increasing its grip on south eastern Australia.
May animal suffering be rare and short.

–––ooo–––

 

 

 

SEPTEMBER 2015 CURRENT AFFAIRS FLASHPOINTS

Arriving in European Waters
Asylum  Seekers arriving in European Waters (Indian Express)

Asylum seekers are persons made in God’s image and are worthy of respect and dignity. (Genesis 1:26,28)

Democracy means Government by discussion, but is only effective if you can stop people talking. (Clement  Attlee,1957)

 

The Great Migrations (John Hayward, 2008, Quercus.)

The Politics of Failing Democracy

The Prime Minister is sacked. Long live the Prime Minister.

Rural Bliss and the Winds  of Climate Change

 

The Great Migrations

Since mankind migrated “Out of Africa” more than 100,000 years ago, small bands, tribal groups and populations have been driven out of their homelands by war or famine.  Their fate has either been absorption into a host culture or they have forged their own culture onto resisting indigenous inhabitants.

To place the current migration “Out of Africa” and “Out of the Middle East” into context, I have referred to John Haywood’s tome – The Great Migrations.  The decade 2010-2020 will be a critical one for western Christendom; its very foundations and future culture are to be tested.  Examples of significant migrations in the 19th and 20th centuries are instructive:w

  • The Boer Great Trek in southern Africa between 1835-1840.  The Boers were driven north to form the Orange Free State and the Transvaal, in all some 25,000 were involved.
  • The Trail of Tears – North America.  Between 1830-1840 over 100,000 Red Indians were forced off their lands by the United States Government to make way for new settlers.
  • Indian Migration in the British Empire between 1834-1947.  Movements of indentured Indian labour following the abolition of slavery, in millions were – Malaya 1.75, Burma 1.16, Ceylon 2.3, Africa 0.19.  During the partition of India in 1947, some 6.5 million Hindus fled from Pakistan and around 7 million Muslims fled from India.
  • The Armenian Genocide and Migration.  Over 80,000 Armenians fled to the United States following Turkish genocide between 1894-1896.  Another great wave of migration followed the 1915-1922  Ottoman slaughter of some 1.4 million Armenians.
  • Second World War and Aftermath – 1939-1972.  Europe was unstable for many years after WWII.  Nazi Germany had conscripted millions of Eastern Europeans into their war effort while millions of Ukrainian Slavs were displaced.  Finally, when the Soviet armies advanced over Europe  millions of Slavs and Eastern Europeans fled westward, never to return to their homes.
  • In 1989,  the Civil War in Greece generated by Russian ambition created 700,000 Greek refugees.
  • From the 1950s onwards, thousands of West Indians, Indians and Pakistanis migrated to Britain.  Germany encouraged thousands of Turkish “guest workers” and France encouraged the migration of thousands of Africans.  All these immigrant movements are now leading to increasing civil tension.
  • In 1994, the Ruanda civil war between Hutu and Tutsi, resulted in 1.75 million refugees destabilising much of Central Africa.

In volume and complexity, the current refugee/asylum seeker assault on Western Europe is on a par with the great people movements after WWII.  However, there is one fundamental difference– the vast majority are Muslim which will have a long term effect on the Christian character of Europe.

The basic facts on the current waves of refugees from Africa and the Middle East are provided by Amnesty International (4 Sept. 2015).  Currently there are around 4 million displaced Syrians.  Over 95% are supported in camps (in millions):  in Lebanon – 1.2; Jordan – 0.65; Turkey – 1.9; Egypt – 0.13; Iraq – 0.25.  Also, within Iraq there are 3 million internally displaced persons (IDP). The UNHCR (18 June, 2015) states 219,000 Mediterranean crossings have been undertaken.

Since the commencement of the refugee crisis following American Middle East ‘adventures’, only 104,000 resettlement places have been offered globally while over 400,000 Syrians require immediate resettlement.  According to The Guardian (30 July 2015), Germany is expecting 450,000 refugees in 2015 and so far this year, 180,000 have applied for asylum.

 

Boat Arrivals to Europe
Boat arrivals (‘000s), Jan-June 2015 (UNHCR-Graph 3a)

Amnesty International (September 2015) has noted telling trends in international refugee acceptance:

  • The Gulf States, Qatar, UAE, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait refuse to accept refugees.
  • Russia, Japan, Singapore and South Korea refuse to accept refugees.
  • Germany will resettle 350,000 in 2015 (75% of EU total), a later figure of 800,000 has been quoted. The German decision may prove to be farsighted as this intake will provide labour for future German industry.
  • Germany and Sweden have received 47% (of EU intake) of Syrian refugees between 2011 and July 2015.
  •  Remaining EU countries have pledged 8,700 resettlement places – 0.2% of Syrian refugees.
  • Australia has committed to resettle 12,000 refugees.

For Western Europe and the United Nations, the great international problem is to impose stability and rule of law, not democracy, on rogue states that are exporting refugees.  Resettled adult refugees will become good industrious citizens, however, young marginalised offspring will become a next generation problem – trawling grounds for a future terrorist organisation.  Penultimately, where in the world do two totally different faiths peacefully co-exist inside the same national boundary?

 

Overloaded Vehicle
Overloaded vehicle leaving  Central African Republic. (Humanconcern.org)

Hidden from the radar of the chattering classes is the continuing refugee  tragedy in central Africa. The Central African Republic is embroiled in the old chestnut  of the Christian-Muslim antagonism. Since December 2013 more than 930,000 have been displaced and have fled to Cameroon, Chad, Congo and Democratic Congo Republic (UNHCR Operation Profile, CAR, January, 2015).

An ultimate looming threat is that climate change may cause further instability in the Sahal and the Middle East.  There is a long term rocky road ahead.

The mega picture is that by end of 2014 there were 59.5 million people forcibly displaced from their homes  and are now asylum seekers, refugees and IDPs. In 2014 13.9 million people became newly displaced and the situation is worsening (UNHCR, Worldwide Displacement, 18 June, 2015).

In 1961, Bertrand Russell wrote ‘Has Man a Future?’ This was followed up  by ‘Civilised Man’s Eight Deadly Sins’ written by Konrad Lorenz in 1974. The question must be asked but will not be answered – has the United Nations lost the ability to save humanity from itself?

The Politics of Failing Democracy

The Western Democracies may be witnessing the rise of a totally modern unstable democratic system.  The current democratic model has probably reached a tipping point where now perhaps over 50% of the “western” populations are feeling economic and social pain.

The first of the new political leaders are Jeremy Corben – Labour, UK and Bernie Sanders, Democrate Presidential aspirant, USA.

Corben was elected leader due to his appeal to the bottom half of Britain’s economic pile.  His appeal to the masses is, in part, based on ending austerity, imposing rent controls and nationalising rail and power.

Sanders has sent a clear message that he wishes to halt the 40 year decline in the American middle class, decrease the gap between the very rich and everyone else, provide a living wage and distance politics from the billionaire class. It has been reported that the American dream is fading, housing is becoming unaffordable in Australia for young home-buyers and workers can no longer afford to live in London. These numbers are increasing.

Within the western democracies whole industries, driven by the wealthy, fleece the poor with payday loans and hire purchase/leasing agreements. On Social Europe website Dr. Simon Hix, London School of Economics (17 Sept., 2015) has provided informed insight into the relevance  of Jeremy Corben. He has mobilised young people and the expanding lower income population, key issues of the deprived have been clearly annunciated and he has mobilised the latent aversion towards the political establishment. In short, he has tapped into the anger of rising inequality. Politicians in Australia and America should commence some serious introspection.

 

A New Dawn
A New Dawn-At Last
Advance Australia Fair (Image-3)

Much has been made of five Australian Prime Ministers in five years. Reasons have been advanced for this merry-go-round. A contributory factor may be the electorate is becoming increasingly angry with irrefutable  evidence  of rising inequality that is difficult to annunciate in political terms and banal reporting.

Within democratic systems today, politicians should be well aware that home owners voting for stable government may well be  verging towards a minority  while the disaffected and those suffering economic stress, deprivation and fading aspirations are in the ascendent.   The days of the cosy Government-Capital relationship are coming to an end.  The political-economic model spawned by the Industrial Revolution is losing relevance.

The Prime Minister is sacked. Long live the Prime Minister.

The verbiage associated with the demise of Prime Minister Abbott and the ascension of Prime Minister Turnbull is nauseating. When the Chief Executive of a major corporate under performs  he/she is sacked with minimum fanfare before inflicting further damage on the company.

The Protagonists
The Protagonists at Question Time (AAP, Sam Mooy)

When the Chief Executive of Australia Com. is removed for under performance, the ether is filled with epithets on loyalty, disloyalty, merit, talent, back stabbing and the spoils of power, while the term ‘brutal’ resounds as if from a many headed hydra. Australia needs competent executives focused on results not numbers.

In reality the process was a crass exhibition of cabals seeking power (for the most honourable public motives) while discredited cabals sought to retain power, prestige and entitlements irrespective of poor performance. A nightly press unable to discuss serious issues facing Australia and a salacious audience ensures low standards. Australia cannot be a great democracy unless the level of debate is raised.

In the last days of September, Mr Abbott proved he is only a politician and unfit for the position of CEO Australia Com. He spoke of his lost chance of winning the next election; despite poor polls, he did not speak of increasing Australia’s export income or of running a profitable Australia, concepts critical to the wellbeing of Australians. He is condemned by his own words.

 

Rural Bliss and the Winds of Climate Change

The bull bar and winch wrere stolen from my truck while parked at Scone railway station. Police and garage mechanics have expressed total amazement at this act of vandalism- fortunately an insurance job. To rub salt into my insurance company claims                                        it has been established the hail storm last month so damaged the iron roof and the weather side of the house that both will have to be replaced.

The hail storm in the Murrurundi locality has produced damage running into hundreds of thousands of dollars – hail stones were the size of cricket balls. What is concerning is that storm cells producing  large hail are very violent. A few days ago the Central Coast suffered a devastating hailstorm, so heavy t looked like snow. All this and it is not yet the summer thunder storm season. At some stage we all will experience a very serious  weather problem.

 

Central Coast Hail Storm
Central Coast Hail Storm. (17 Sept.2015.
dailytelegraph.com)