Alex Mitchell’s Weekly Notebook – It’s bombs away for Abbott’s by-election

Bolshevik leader V I Lenin once said that during political discussions and world diplomacy “there is a time for the brush and a time for the razor”.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott, aka “The Mad Monk”, has decided to use both the brush and the razor simultaneously.
His token humanity – offering residence to 12,000 Syrian refugees – has been nullified by his barbarity – extending RAAF bombing into Syria.
The simultaneous announcements mean that Abbott will not gain points from mainstream, middle-of-the-road electors. They cannot reconcile the two contradictory decisions: everyone knows that bombing Syria will only add to the humanitarian refugee crisis gripping the Middle East and Europe.
The Pentagon sent former CIA director General David Petraeus who was commander of US forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, two of the most spectacular failures in US military history, and is a now a freelancer for the US military lobby.
Abbott has variously said he received an official request from US President Barack Obama to send RAAF bombers into Syria. Then he said the request came from the Pentagon but he did not name any specific official.
Will Abbott publish the request? The spineless Labor leaders haven’t asked to see it and nor have the equally spineless media. We will probably have to wait for Julian Assange’s Wikileaks to publish the exchange but I am willing to bet the request was inspired by Abbott himself. After all, he has orchestrated a khaki by-election at Canning on September 19 and it’s one he must win to save his job.

Quote of the month

On the second anniversary of his election this week, Abbott said: “We were elected with a plan two years ago. We’re sticking to that plan and it’s working.”
Oh really? The latest Morgan Poll does not agree. It shows the two-party preferred gap between the major parties is now a thumping 10% – Liberal-National 45% and Labor 55%.
Abbott’s personal disapproval rating has risen from 36% at the September 2013 Federal Election and 53% in August 2015 to 57% now. It seems voters hate Abbott even more than they hate his odious government.
His Treasurer Joe Hockey is in the toilet with voters as well. His approval rating was -10%; it’s now -22%.
Don’t ask how a politician can have such a huge negative approval rating; I’m simply quoting the weekly figures from the Essential Report.

Greedy Arab feudalists

Among the world’s richest nations are Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates (Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah) but they are not opening their borders to a single refugee from Syria or Iraq.
Instead, they have been sending guns, rockets and ammunition to the “death cult” militias engaged in the campaign to overthrow Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
And their air bases are being used by warplanes conducting bombing raids on Iraq and Syria.
The reactionary Arab regimes argue that they have contributed about $2 billion to refugee camps in Jordan and Lebanon. However, that’s probably one-tenth of the amount that they have spent on weapons for the Salafist Sunni militias.
Until recently the Pentagon and Israel were encouraging the reactionary Gulf states to bring down al-Assad, regardless of the human misery it caused. Under the latest strategy, the main enemy is Islamic State (IS), and the Damascus dictator has been taken off the radar … temporarily.
The position of Israel is blindingly clear. Its borders are closed to any Arab refugees even though they are Semitic cousins from the same homelands.

Yanks go home, says Asia

A major anti-war demonstration in Japan has attracted worldwide media attention and so has a military parade in Beijing celebrating the defeat of the Japanese Imperial Army at the end of World War Two.
China lost 14 million people fighting Emperor Hirohito’s army after the full-scale invasion of 1937.
The Western media claimed the anti-war demonstration outside the Diet in Tokyo was a protest against Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s abandonment of the peace clause in the post-war constitution.
While that is true, it is only half the story. The main purpose of the protest was to show public anger with Washington’s policy of pushing Japan into a hostile stand against China.
US war planners and trade hegemonists want Japan to become a frontline state in the “encirclement” and “containment” of China. However, Japanese public opinion has a different view: it wants to embrace the rise of China and share in its neighbour’s manufacturing, investment, trading, scientific and agricultural wealth.
Eighty years ago the Japanese learnt the foolhardiness of trying to crush China with military force and they don’t want to repeat that bloody adventure.
The Beijing military parade was universally portrayed as “a show of strength” by the Chinese Communist Party. It missed the point. The display was aimed at Washington (as well as China’s domestic audience) telling the world’s largest military power to butt out of the Far East.
In the 19th century, Washington could afford to use gunboat diplomacy to muscle its way into Japan and the Philippines, but the era has ended.
To sum up, Tokyo’s protest and Beijing’s parade had a common anti-American theme but that was not how the story was told in Australia.

Greece to the polls … again

In case you’ve missed the news, Greece will hold another general election on September 20, the second in eight months.
This follows the resignation of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and his leftish Syriza-dominated coalition. His government fell after 43 of his 149 MPs either voted against or abstained on a vote to implement savage austerity measures demanded by foreign banks.
In an earlier referendum Greeks voted by a clear majority to reject austerity but Tsipras split his party by bringing an austerity bill to parliament and gaining support from right-wing MPs of New Democracy.
What’s unique about this election is this: no party will win. There will be weeks of shadow boxing between the parties followed by a new coalition of left and right, or centre and right, and centre and left.
The government will be so unstable that it won’t last and yet another election may be called.
Confused? So are Greek voters.
The election campaign has been utterly overshadowed by the refugee crisis with tens of thousands of Syrians, Iraqis, Afghanis and North Africans arriving by boat and land on their way to Western Europe.
The flight of capital from Greece is unstoppable and its days in the Eurozone are numbered. Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel was determined to keep Greece in the Eurozone but the arrival of 800,000 refugees in Germany by the end of this year will sink that strategy.


  1. Great Alex as always well researched and stated. As you said simple maths more bombs means more displaced people ,pretty obvious. Angela and the people of Germany need to be congratulated for their response. Have some great friends in Germany from my Youth Exchange days, love them.


    The world is in turmoil, or at least the beginning of a major turning point in history.

    How humane that one of the world’s leading “Democracies”, Israel, stands by and watches the turmoil on their doorstep! The inhabitants of Israel will surely pay in the end.

    “Fortress Europe”, created by a borderless grouping of once powerful individual European nations, has now seen its south-eastern flank over-run by mostly Islamic people. Shades of “The Fall of the Roman Empire”!

    Around 400 AD, the Roman Empire divided into two Capitals, Rome and Constantinople. Constantinople’s borders were attacked continuously. And the economic drain caused by maintaining a large standing army on its borders eventually resulted in a peaceful solution; allow the “Huns” entry into the nation on the condition they surrendered their weapons as they passed into Roman territory. It worked, for a while, until eventually a large population of the Huns existed within the eastern borders. They seized their chance! They re-armed, opening the borders further for their kindred folk. They took Constantinople and were soon at the throat of Rome!

    Rome had lost the plot, by now they had a foreigner from Carthage leading the nation. He had been elected from the Roman Province at Carthage to the Roman Senate. Shades of Obama (Muslim) leading the USA.

    The doomed Euro (gold will go to US$5,000), borderless NATIONS of Europe and a political inept government of the European Union spells the end of “Fortress Europe”.

    China.Now we hear the “turmoil” in the South China Sea over the Spratly Islands and other coral atolls, but is it all American propaganda? Me thinks so.
    Vietnam and China have been enemies for thousands of years. The Vietnamese originally came from China and settled in the Red River Delta based on Hanoi. In the 13th and15th centuries China invaded Vietnam
    by sending massive armies up the Red River estuary to take Hanoi. Tran Hung Dao defeated three invasions by Mongol raiders, including Kublai Khan, in the 13th century while Le Loi similarly defeated the Ming Dynasty two hundred years later.

    China and Vietnam have been bitter enemies to the present day. Until now!!

    Two years ago, a dozen delegates from both Vietnam and China sat at a meeting in Hanoi and signed an “agreement” on the South China Sea. Billions of US$ would have change hands, and a few more North Vietnamese Communist families would overnight become seriously wealthy. Seriously wealthy!!

    You often see Vietnamese peasants protesting against the Chinese presence on the Spratly Islands. Staged protests by the Government of Vietnam.

    Obama and the “Mad Monk” have been saying they’ll protect the interests of other countries in the South China Sea. Hogs-wash, they have already “protected” themselves, except maybe the Philippines.

    We live in interesting times. I’m not so sure our children and grand-children will.

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