Weekend Australian ran an article by former senior adviser to President George W. Bush, Karl Rove, in which, contrary to his usual practice with articles written for the Wall St Journal, he states no outright opinions and suggests no answers because it was “an especially chaotic and jam-packed week” (see Rove Asks What is Happening in the US). I have much the same feeling about developments in Australia as well as in the US, both of which leave some important questions outstanding.
As to the US (where unanswered questions pose important issues for Australia too), Rove asks why Trump doesn’t encourage special counsel Mueller to finish his investigation into possible Russian attempts to influence the US Presidential elections. Rove’s phrasing of questions seems to imply that, although Trump was not involved in any collusion, he has made unnecessary public tweets that leave the question open. Rove also asks why Trump made a congratulatory call to Putin on his re-election as President and asks, specifically, how seriously Trump views Russia’s efforts to disrupt US democracy and assassinate defectors in the West. On this issue Rove makes no implied answer and does not make any comment on the suggestion by former CIA head, John Brennan, that Putin has information about Trump which he (Trump) does not want disclosed. Brennan, who was appointed counter-terrorism adviser and CIA head by Obama in 2013 (replaced in Jan 2017), is said to have been a “closeted” Muslim and it is not surprising that he has criticized Trump at every opportunity. But the congrats to Putin remain a bit of a mystery.
Whether Trump’s appointment of John Bolton as White House adviser on foreign policy will clarify the state of US/Russian relations is uncertain (Bolton reportedly differs with Trump on US/Russian policy), but it is an important appointment. When Bolten was US Ambassador to the UN he didn’t hold back from public statements on what was behind events which disrupted relationships and what should be done about them, including the possible use or threatened use of force by the US. In effect he favoured the US playing a stronger role to protect Western values than Obama did.
He also strongly opposed the agreement made by the US under Obama, and by European leaders, with Iran. This was supposedly designed to stop that country developing nuclear weapons and preventing it from carrying out the nuclear missile attack on Israel which it had threatened. The agreed reduction in nuclear facilities lifted nuclear-related economical sanctions, freeing up many billions of dollars in oil revenue and frozen assets. It is likely that Trump’s decision to appoint Bolton reflected, in part, his (Bolton’s) expertise and knowledge of the Iran “deal”, which is to be reviewed in May and which could lead to the US withdrawing from the agreement. But many of his views (including on free trade) are probably similar to Trump’s (the article Bolton on Foreign Policy Issueslists very briefly Bolton’s views on a range of issues) and the Turnbull government will face difficulties in deciding on whether to agree with the more “hawkish” approach on foreign/defence policy.
One US policy that is of particular interest, but has apparently received virtually no attention in America, is the support given by Trump to the attempt by the new head of Saudi Arabia, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS), to move out the Muslim Brotherhood from teaching and leadership positions in elementary, middle and high schools as well as colleges and universities. One expert on SA say that, “if MBS succeeds, Saudi Arabia returns to pre-1979 roots, with movie theaters, women in the workplace, and features of a modern developing country. If MBS fails, he will be killed by the Brotherhood and Saudi Arabia will become more repressive than ever. The global stakes of MBS’s internal fight with the Brotherhood are large, too. If the crown price wins, nearly all Saudi funding for violent Islamic radicals ends — and if he dies, it grows to new heights”.
The visit of MBS to the United States opens a new front in its war with Iran and will influence the US’s decision on the Iran nuclear deal. It also signals a potential US policy which supports only the Sunni Muslim sect (see also Bolton’s comments on Muslims). The image Trump Meets Saudi Princeis only a photo, but it is sometimes said that a picture can tell a thousand words!
There has been considerable debate on Australia’s immigration policy, both on its extent and its composition. Some have opposed any reduction in the number of immigrants by pointing out that even the current rate of over 200,000 pa is lower proportionately than it was soon after WW11 and when our infrastructure was in relatively poor condition. But that was in a period when the majority of immigrants had Judeo- Christian values, were seeking to escape from the ruins of the destructive wars and were seen to be needed to provide Australia with a more economic basis. While for national security reasons alone we still need to expand our immigration, we have now reached a more economic level and there is less need to maintain the high earlier rates particularly in circumstances where governments are not providing adequate infrastructure. There is also significant concern at the failure of migrants from some countries to integrate with our Judeo- Christian populace but, rather, to establish themselves in separate areas and with beliefs and life styles that do not fit in and add to the cost of governance borne by others.
The debate that has emerged over the possibility of giving special treatment to immigrant white farmers from South Africa illustrate the need to recognize that we are of Judeo-Christian origin and do not have any obligation to admit people who are unlikely to fit in to our society. It would be madness to adopt the immigration policies followed in the UK and Europe, where a significant number are of Muslim beliefs and threaten to either take over the governance of the country or require the adoption of values which are inconsistent with those previously adopted. The latest French terrorist was Moroccan born and he ruthlessly shot down a policemen who offered to act as a hostage instead of the existing one held to ransom.
These issue about immigration are discussed further by John Stone ( see Stone on Immigration) and by Senator Leyonhjelm in an article on the statement last week by Home Affairs Minister Dutton suggesting that white farmers need help from a “civilized country” (see Dutton on White Farmers). The failure of Turnbull and Bishop to adequately support Dutton is little short of a disgrace and indicates the failure of the Coalition under Turnbull to retain Liberal values.