Tag: War

On Russia – for Ben

Russia is a strange and mystical country full of socialists and iron-fisted military types. It surprises me they can see through the vodka induced stupor to bomb the crap out of a neighbouring country – let alone do so in defiance of a brokered peace deal. 

In all seriousness this conflict – and its timing (while the world is at play at the Olympics) worries me. Russia and China need an opportunity to flex their military might in the face of the US. This looks like a chance for them to do that. The US is stuffed – if they bite, they’ll probably either lose or have to nuke the crap out of Russia – neither seems like a wise move. The bearing it will have on the current presidential campaign will also be interesting – if McCain takes a strong stance it leaves Obama having to make an awkward decision.

The only easy solution I can see is for the US to topple Hugo Chavez in response – strike a blow against socialism and one for market based democracy. The analogies there are pretty endless – they’re similarly geographically remote from philosophical allies, they both influence the natural resource security of the larger country – and both have heads of state unpopular with the local neighbours but popular with the military superpower at the other corner of the globe.

That’s not really a solution – more a pointer to how complex this whole resource based empire game is. To quote the West Wing – “Free trade stops wars”.

Oil should be decommodified and used up as fast as possilbe. For free. By the masses. Then we’d have to use some initiative to wean ourselves off this dependency on a finite resource. Cost of living would stop growing astronomically and we’d all be happy.

Just Cause

Activism is a funny thing. There are plenty of worthy causes out there to choose from – and I suspect they’re something people hold to with vehement passion. One such activist once told me that the dying pandas were of more inherent value than the child I sponsor – it takes a particular type of person to be that misdirected. I met a guy in the Queen Street Mall in Brisbane who argued passionately that the Australian dollar should be valued based on our gold stocks (this system), I signed his petition so I could read the “free” newspaper he was handing out describing the system – and he rang me about a year later seeking my support – a request I duly turned down. Joe has many causes he believes are worth fighting for – mostly the legacy of George W Bush.

In the last few weeks “pirate” anti-whaling ships have been hassling a sanctioned whale (cuisine) research vessel. I’m not anti-whaling – I think if you can manage to bring in a massive fish you deserve to be able to eat it as is your right in the food chain. During the initial stages of the piracy the Sea Shepherd organisation’s leader President Paul Watson said he’d be prepared to “die for these whales if need be.” And he tried – his pirate ships repeatedly rammed the first Japanese whaling tanker – the Kaiko Maru causing the ship to put out a distress signal and cutting short its valuable “scientific” mission. What made Mr Watson wake up one day and decide to save the whales? Did he read Moby Dick at a particularly influential time in his life? Did he have a bad experience giving a past flame some perfume? What is it that makes people take on a cause with such do or die enthusiasm. Maybe he saw this video…

There is something refreshing about the idealism of these sometimes misguided activists. But really there are just so many causes out there to fight for – the whales, a trial for Australian terrorist David Hicks (ala Dick Smith), climate change, the future of the Liberal Party… there are things that need saving on every corner. How do you split such worthy causes? Is it just a matter of finding a subject that makes your blood boil? Or makes your heart sing? Some time ago Phil and myself offered our services as mercenary protesters (I actually suspect the term “freelance” writing is derived from such a concept). I’m looking to go one better – suggest a topic and I’ll get active for an appropriately proportional amount of my time.

There are some people out there who have chosen to take on the cause of scamming the Nigerian scammers – a story in today’s SMH caught my attention – you can read about it here, or just watch the video below…

I’m not at work today – Robyn had a nasty fall on the indoor soccer field last night and I’m helping her with the first part of the rehabilitation process having sat through a few hours with my intoxicated indigenous friends in the casualty ward of the local hospital. That’s the last time I let her play soccer – she’s thrilled that her swollen ankle now looks just like one of my cankles.