Media Under-rates Summit
The media response to the Summit between Trump and Kim Jong Un has been to welcome it but express reservations because there is little of substance to date. According to The Australian, “the intentions are clear but the details are missing”; Greg Sheridan asked whether the summiteers “laboured mightily to bring forth a mouse”; and The Age asked whether it is “a game changer”. But while these are legitimate questions, as are some of the other comments (see North Korea Must not be Allowed to Deceive Again and Trump, Kim Exchange Praise at Singapore Summit), they miss the two most important points.
First, Kim has come out of the closed shell into which he and previous NK leaders put themselves to the detriment of their citizens. Now he has to face the rest of the world, and his neighbours South Korea in particular, and to improve NK’s economic and political relationships. Of course, he will still be a socialist dictatorship, but after all the publicity on NK TV there is no way he can go back to the old regime and continue to subject his citizens to dire straits because in due course he has to open his country to both emigrants and immigrants as well as allowing a much greater degree of private enterprise. And even if he does not denuclearise, he will have to stop the threats against the US and other countries and limit NK’s stockpile of nukes to those which many other countries have – and which the US and others would find it impossible to oppose as a major item of defence.
Second, even if it takes some time to develop substantive changes, Trump should be given credit for having got so far. Without his initiative, Kim might well still be in his closed shell both economically and defence-wise. To put it another way, even if no further substantive changes emerge, Trump deserves praise for bringing Kim into the open and reducing the risk of nuclear combat, which is the greatest risk facing the world. Of course, there remains the risk that Iran (which has downplayed the NK exercise) will still pose that threat and it needs to be reduced in some way. But it is possible that the NK/US summit provides a “model” which Iran will have to follow, particularly if the signatories to the Iranian nuclear deal now agree to withdraw as Trump has done or at least agree to negotiate a new deal. In a word, whichever way this develops now, Trump has further established himself as the world leader and left the Europeans further behind.
Western Civilisation Debate Continues
The latest development in this debate is that the Vice Chancellor at ANU has indicated that he would prefer not have his present salary of around $610-25 pa and will not accept his predecessor’ salary of $970-85pa. He has given no reason for this but one assumes it reflects a view about “fairness” or some other aspect of his leftish views. An incident has also developed at Melbourne University involving a contemporary dance company that divides audience along racial lines and requires whites to sign a declaration before entering the theatre. The Race Discrimination Commissioner has reacted to the effect that exempted racial discrimination in arts works!
More importantly, The Australian has published an important article by well respected Kevin Donnelly entitled “The West is lost and our unis founder in farce” (See Re: Donnelly on West). The article refers to a Boyer Lecturer, Professor Pierre Ryckmans, who recounted a story of a lecturer being attacked for talking about Chinese literati painting instead of revolutionary peasant art. As it happens, when in Canberra my wife and I met the scholarly writer and his wife and I later went a presentation given by him in Melbourne. At that presentation he argued that, for closed mind reasons which have come up in the current debate, universities should be abolished!
Note that the article refers to the number of academics opposing the Ramsay centre being established at Sydney having reached 150 (it was 100) and that the proposal is condemned as “European-supremacism writ large”.