Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Australia should not mindlessly copy USA policy on North Korea

We need only look back to 2003 to see the dangers of a PM who, bedazzled by the power of our ally and its ignorant and reckless leader, overlooked the wishes and wisdom of his own people. Trump has made our need for independent thinking even more urgent.

Australia’s Double-Standard When It Comes To Regional Security Has Gone Nuclear, http://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/margaret-beavis/australias-double-standard-when-it-comes-to-regional-security-h_a_22127831/ Australia has defended US nuclear weapons and our own reliance on them, as if a nuclear apartheid is the natural order of things., Margaret BeavisPresident of the Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia),Sue WarehamVice-President, Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia) 07/06/2017    If there’s one thing we should have learnt by now, it’s how easily a heavily-armed world can sleepwalk into disastrous wars that settle nothing, are much harder to stop than to start, and cause unimaginable human suffering.

 As tensions simmer between the US and North Korea, we in Australia have every reason to reject warmongering, brinkmanship and punitive measures, and to pursue every possible effort to help stabilise the Korean peninsula.

The current tensions are fueled by mutual provocations and the volatile temperaments of two unpredictable and dangerous heads of state. However, they are also fueled by blatant double-standards, to which Australia contributes.

 While we have been quick to condemn — for good reason — North Korea’s nuclear arsenal and all the steps taken to strengthen it, Australia has defended US nuclear weapons and our own reliance on them, as if a nuclear apartheid is the natural order of things.

On 26 April and again on 3 May, as rhetoric against North Korea ramped up, the US tested Minuteman ICBM nuclear launch missiles from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. Australia was silent. The US Congressional Budget Office estimates an expenditure of US$400 billion over the next decade on modernising the country’s nuclear forces.

A strong majority of nations have declared that nuclear weapons should never be used again, under any circumstances. Australia has refused to support this declaration. By thus promoting the notion that nuclear weapons have a legitimate role — a notion that is rightly seen by most countries as discriminatory, provocative and dangerous — Australia has forfeited any right to preach disarmament to North Korea.

The problem of eradicating the 15,000 nuclear weapons that exist, of which approximately 10 belong to North Korea, urgently requires a global solution. A world divided into nuclear “haves” and “have nots” is untenable; the weapons cannot at the same time be essential for some nations’ security and forbidden to others.

Right now at the UN, there are negotiations for a treaty to prohibit all nuclear weapons, which will be a powerful tool with which to promote their total elimination. All nations will then be judged by the same legal standards. Far from backing this essential strengthening of international law, Australia has done its utmost to undermine it.

Since 1953, there has been an entrenched state of war on the Korean peninsula. The promised peace agreement, to follow the ceasefire that halted the Korean War, never occurred. Millions of families have been separated by the world’s most militarized border; 75 million people live in fear and insecurity.

Renewed military actions would further entrench these divisions and bring intense human suffering. The use of nuclear weapons would render any conflict absolutely catastrophic at a global level. Even economic sanctions can be a very blunt tool that punishes a nation for the sins of its leader, as the people of Iraq learnt to their great cost.

Australia’s lack of strategy for dealing with this crisis reflects our country’s seriously-degraded capacity for conflict resolution, and the resultant knee-jerk resort to threats as “the only option”. In reality there are other clear options available to promote peace on the Korean peninsula.

They include the negotiation of a formal end to the Korean War by a binding peace treaty; an offer to North Korea of diplomatic recognition to reduce that country’s isolation and risk of misunderstanding during periods of tension; the cessation of provocative military measures by all parties; and abandonment of the destabilising THAAD missile defence system. (In any event, if nuclear deterrence works as promised, why do we need missile defence?)

China’s proposal that North Korea halt its missile activity in return for cessation of the large joint US-South Korean military exercises warrants serious examination. In addition, the new South Korean President Moon Jae-in should be given maximum support in his efforts to defuse tensions with the North.

The Korean crisis will not be resolved by shows of force and military might. Australia should indicate clearly to the US that we will not join any war against North Korea, and nor will we support measures that inflict — unintentionally or otherwise — further suffering on its people.

Any proposed Australian response to this crisis demands debate and vote in our parliament, with answers to critical questions about the goal, the end-point, the strategy, the legality, the likely duration and the costs, including the civilian costs.

We need only look back to 2003 to see the dangers of a PM who, bedazzled by the power of our ally and its ignorant and reckless leader, overlooked the wishes and wisdom of his own people. Trump has made our need for independent thinking even more urgent.

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June 9, 2017 - Posted by | General News

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