Tag: Vietnam

Lament for Humanity: A 50 Year Reflection

Robert J. Burrowes Deeply affected by the death of my two uncles in World War II, on 1 July 1966, the 24th anniversary of the ‘USS Sturgeon’ sinking of the Japanese prisoner-of-war ship ‘Montevideo Maru’ which killed the man after whom I am named, I decided that I would devote my life to working out why human beings are violent and then developing a strategy to end it. The good news about this commitment was that it was made when I was nearly 14 so, it seemed, anything was possible. Now I am not so sure. Here is my report on 50 years of concerted effort to understand and end human violence. In 1966 one of my immediate preoccupations was war. The US genocidal war on Vietnam was raging and, as a sycophantic ally of the United States, Australia had been drawn into it some years previously. Trying to understand what this war was really about was challenging, particularly given the limited (mainstream) sources of information available to me at the time. But I was deeply troubled by another problem too. I had seen a photo of a starving African child in the newspaper when I was ten and I found this most disturbing. Why did adults let children starve? I wondered. And trying to make sense of this by reading newspaper reports or asking those around me was...

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Gordon Campbell on the RCEP trade deal and other entanglements

Article – Gordon Campbell So China and the US both have competing trade deals on offer the TPP for the US and the RCEP for the Chinese – each of which pointedly exclude the other superpower. That fact alone should signal that these deals are not primarily about mere trade … Gordon Campbell on the RCEP trade deal and other entanglements First posted at werewolf.co.nz So China and the US both have competing trade deals on offer – the TPP for the US and the RCEP for the Chinese – each of which pointedly exclude the other superpower. That fact alone should signal that these deals are not primarily about mere trade access. In their desperation to get the TPP passed, US lawmakers have been describing the contest as an apocalyptic struggle for regional dominance. As President Barack Obama claimed in a recent Washington Post op ed: America should write the rules. America should call the shots. Other countries should play by the rules that America and our partners set, and not the other way around. New Zealand is one of those US “partners” that belong to both deals and last week, the latest round of RCEP talks concluded in Auckland. So far, the Key government hasn’t provided the public with much in the way of a reasoned comparison of what benefits – and drawbacks – these two deals...

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Gordon Campbell on our refugee response, and a TPP rewrite

Column – Gordon Campbell T he miserly nature of New Zealands response to the global refugee crisis continues apace. Yesterdays announcement of an increase in our intake of UNHCR refugees from 750 to 1,000 refugees will only kick in from 2018, after the recent special … Gordon Campbell on our paltry refugee response and a brazen US rewrite of the TPP First published at werewolf.co.nz The miserly nature of New Zealand’s response to the global refugee crisis continues apace. Yesterday’s announcement of an increase in our intake of UNHCR refugees from 750 to 1,000 refugees will only kick in from 2018, after the recent special intake of 650 Syrian refugees over two years have been cleared. So, do the math. The “ increase” really means that the intake of 1,000 after 2018 will be pretty much the same number of refugees as we admitted this year, once you’ve added 2016’s share of the Syrian special intake to the current 750 UNHCR numbers. In other words, this is a triumph of spin: an ‘increase’ in the refugee intake that is virtually the same as the status quo, but counted differently. Moreover, since New Zealand requires that 50% of our UNHCR intake is from the Asia/Pacific region, we will actually be taking in fewer refugees from the Syrian/Iraq war zone than we have done of late. For many advocates of a...

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Gordon Campbell on tobacco politics, and the TPP death watch

Column – Gordon Campbell Has Act leader David Seymour got the easiest job in the world, or what? Roll out of bed, turn on the radio and hmmthere do seem to be a lot of problems out there in the world. Must think of something. And so it came to pass that this morning , … Gordon Campbell on tobacco politicking, and the TPP death watch Has Act leader David Seymour got the easiest job in the world, or what? Roll out of bed, turn on the radio and hmm…there do seem to be a lot of problems out there in the world. Must think of something. And so it came to pass that this morning, David Seymour took up his sword and shield to fight for a world that’s about to be denied the rich and vibrant beauty of tobacco advertising. Avast ye hordes of faceless bureaucrats aiming to put tobacco products in plain packets! David Seymour is in the House! Plain packaging may save lives, but does it have to be such a dull way of saving lives? Is there no other hero prepared to fight for Philip Morris, and for the God-given right of Benson and Hedges to peddle their deadly wares in luscious golden packaging? Do we want to live in a world without Marlboro Man billboards? There is a principle at stake here. And...

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