Today’s Financial Review has published my letter (see below) endorsing the decision to appoint both a minister and a coordinator for counter-terrorism. The accompanying announcement that the right of Australian citizenship of a terrorist could be revoked has led to a leak that some members of Cabinet opposed or queried such an approach where this envisaged someone who has only the Australian citizenship. The ABC and Fairfax Press have given more attention to the leak than to the possible loss of a counter-terrorism measure. While the latest Newspoll shows a deterioration of the TPP from 48/52 to only 47/53 (but with Abbott passing Shorten in the net satisfaction ratio for the first time in over a year), it is doubtful that the counter-terrorist announcement has caused the shift. To the extent that anything can be said to have contributed to the downturn in TPP, it is more likely to have been Hockey’s gaffe on (of all places) an ABC program when he agreed with a member of the audience that the GST shouldn’t apply to tampons.
As indicated in the article below (see High Court hurdle for bid to suspend jihadis’ citizenship rights), there are likely to be other ways of “punishing” terrorist activity/threats by those with Australian citizenship only.
Defeating the Islamic State
The article below by the head of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, Peter Jennings, provides a persuasive argument that a major change in strategy by Western countries is needed if the Islamic State is to be stopped advancing in Iraq/Syria (see below Islamic State won’t be defeated by the status quo). It is evident thatair attacks will not be sufficient in circumstances where they are operating on the basis that civilian deaths are to be minimised. Equally, if support from ground forces is limited to training and “advice”, Iraqi and Kurdish forces are unlikely on their own to be able to handle the IS suicide bombing strategy and the knowledge that defeat of such forces will involve slaughter rather than capture. There is now an increased likelihood that IS is on track to take over much of Syria and then move to take Baghdad.
Jennings argues that “Australia should be a demanding ally of the US, pressing for a more realistic strategy that aims to win rather than just offer half-hearted support to a failing Iraqi state”. The problem here is one that “cannot be mentioned in public” viz Obama. He needs to be persuaded that, unless the US becomes a more active player, he is likely to be seen as responsible for the establishment of a caliphate by IS that will be a major threat to the US and other western countries. It seems unlikely that the Paris international meeting being attended by Bishop, who claims Iran should be included, will make any advance.
Do You Expect to Die of Heat or Cold?
More and more stupid statements are being made by world leaders on global warming. Obama for example recently told a US Coast Guard function that “there is an urgent need to combat and adapt to climate change” because it “increases the risk of instability and conflict… rising seas are already swallowing low-lying lands… more intense droughts will exacerbate shortages of water … helped create the instability in Nigeria that was exploited by terrorist group Boko Haram”.
Meantime, some advances are being made in real science but experience limited reporting in media. The British medical journal Lancet reports a comprehensive study on the relationship between deaths and temperatures which shows that about 20 times more deaths are associated with cold weather than hot weather. It also suggests that sub-optimal temperatures kill far more people than extreme temperatures. Arguably, we need to worry more about the possibility of increasingly cold temperatures than hot.
Another important advance is the apparent confirmation of Richard Lindzen’s 2001 hypothesis that there are negative feedbacks to concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere ie there may be a natural response to such warming effects as occur which actually reduces warming.
The Science and Environment Conference on Climate Change on June 11-12 in Washington DC includes prominent speakers such a our own Dr Bob Carter.