By Isabel Higgins
Our organisation BCCAN (Bathurst Community Climate Action Network) is built on a concern for the environment that supports us as well as every other living thing in the world, from the tallest tree to the little birds, the tiniest ants, and, indeed, all the billions of microbes that, all functioning naturally in their lives, together result in the living splendour of the world as we know it.
Due to the increasing pace of our technical abilities we are now able to do things that, if we were as developed socially as we are technically, we would avoid, such as walking, open-eyed, into a nuclear war. We have not yet reached the stage when we realise that war is simply never a sensible solution to whatever the problem we may be facing. Whoever is considered the winner, both parties are, in truth, heavy losers, in that both parties lose many many people they love – sons, husbands, fathers and brothers always – and, if the civilian population is involved, wives, mothers and children also. War first arose in ancient times where personal enmity was often the motive, and spears and shields were the weapons used. Today, while combat usually does not generate love between people trying to kill eachother, their enmity, if it’s there, usually arises from the propaganda of the country which has sent them to war, whether justifiably (e.g. if they are being invaded) or unjustifiably. There is effectively no parallel in outcome between war then and what it has become. War then could injure a few people and destroy a few hundred or even thousand yards of space. Modem war can destroy a country – or even a planet. Surely a fair and honest division of land or goods or resources or whatever is in question would be preferable – except, of course, to the governments of the day, whose desire to be “top dog” in the area, either in possession of land or particular resources, or prestige or military might was the basic cause of the war, and so of the heartbreak and devastation that result.
So what part will Mr Turnbull play in influencing America in her attitude to China, and whether there is eventually a war between them? Will he be influenced by the stand the former Prime Minister Robert Menzies took when President Eisenhower told him he was moving the American navy up close to the Islands in the Tiawan Strait and asked for his help in the case of a war with China? Menzies, aware that any war in the Pacific would present the greatest danger to Australia, replied that if such a war occurred it would not be Australia’s business – Australia would take no part in it whatever. But America likes company in her ventures. Whether or not this was a factor, the projected war did not occur.
Currently out foreign policy appears to be based on a misapprehension: that the Anzus Treaty, when invoked requires us to join America in action against her enemies. “Australia”, Mr. Turnbull states repeatedly, is “joined at the hip to America”. (This reminds me of one of the past PMs, Harold Holt. He told the then American President Lyndon Bains Johnson that we would go “All the way with LBJ.”) It is off-putting to see our foreign policy imposed on us by childish slogans rather than the serious discussion of the pros and cons of different policy direction, and which would lead to the best outcomes. Actually the Anzus Treaty requires no more than that we should consult. Each country has then the right to consider its actions in terms of its own interests, and the direction in which it thinks the world should be moving. We are not obliged in any way to support Donald Trump’s desire “to make America great again.” We should not confuse the Anzus Treaty with Nata. The Nato Charter carries a pledge of automatic support, while the Anzus support obligation is conditional. If, understandably, you prefer to believe the PM’s version rather than mine, please look the Anzus Treaty up for yourself. Do read it carefully.
By seeing ourselves as being “attached to America at the hip” we are effectively giving America control of OUR foreign policy. Placing our fate internationally into the hands of Donald Trump ! ! ! ! Possibly being complicit in supporting a war that could tum into the Third (and final) World War. In this, with North Korea’s current direction, nuclear will certainly be its weapons of choice, therefore necessarily ours also. America has 10,000 nuclear weapons, or so I have read—
If enough nuclear weapons are used it may well cause a nuclear winter where nothing would grow, all trees, plants and grasses would die,so plant eating animals would die also,and so would all animals dependant on them.
So what would we eat?
We are totally dependent on our environment to support us yet we are prepared to walk into a situation of nuclear war with our eyes open! We must face this while yet there is time for us to exert pressure on the powers that be, and so avoid it. War, once started even in a small way, can spin out of control.
We need to urge our PM to find out from the UN who are the world’s most successful diplomats —-the great persuaders. The UN has been watching diplomats at work for years so should know which of them most often succeed —– and employ them to try to work out the motives of all potential combatants and so work out a situation acceptable to all, now, before it is too late.
NB Local talent would not be suitable for doing this. A local person, even one professionally trained as a diplomat, would be unsuitable, as their unconscious attachment to their own country and their own people would inevitably cloud their judgement (we’re all human). For a long -term successful outcome, a diplomat with no ties whatever to the countries involved would have a better chance of success.
Blessed be the Peacemakers, for it is their task to save the world from a holocaust.