Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Dinner in District 2

23 Responses

  • David Slack,

    deep-friend till crunch and eaten whole

    I presume this is the work of misplaced thumbs, but I hope you will let this stand in its present form as a fantasy of Asian culinary exotica.

    Devonport • Since Nov 2006 • 599 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    Priests get jailed (how many years would Tamaki get?), drug dealing tolerated, and a 200% tax on private cars!

    Can we get the Communist Party of Vietnam to run at the next NZ elections? Or at least see if Nguyễn Tấn Dũng wants to be Mayor of Auckland?

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4467 posts Report Reply

  • Neil Morrison,

    The casualties of war are to be found not just in Iraq. The deaths will also be counted in Darfur and future Darfurs, Rwandas and Bosnias, where murderous regimes will put people to the slaughter with much less to fear from western intervention. That is the most rending victim of Iraq.

    I've read this sort of thing on numerous occasions - one of the lasting legacies of the Iraq war will be the death of Liberal Interventionism, no more stopping Milosevic etc etc.

    Really?

    It's been the US and Britain that have been pushing for UN military intervention in Darfur and one of those countries that opposed the Iraq war, China, that has been doing the most to stymie international action.

    Or is that those opposed to the war are now going around saying "we would really like to do something about Darfur, but now we couldn't possibly"?

    It's important to note first that the international community did not need such an excuse as Iraq not to intervene in Bosnia, Rwanda and Darfur - those conflicts and the lack of international response all predate Iraq.

    The only people who need Iraq as an excuse not to do anything about such conflicts as Darfur are the sort of people who would be not doing anything had that war not occurred.

    By all means criticise the war but ringing the death knell of liberal interventionism is a long bow that only benefits the likes of the present Sudanese government.

    Since Nov 2006 • 932 posts Report Reply

  • Ben Austin,

    Well perhaps you are right Neil, that people will use this as an excuse to cover their general unwillingness.

    But with all the lying that went on with Iraq, and the hideous mistakes made in post war reconstruction how can that not affect humanitarian intervention? Also with the willingness of Russia to be contrarian, and China's interests in the third world it may be hard to get Security Council sanction on actions.

    London • Since Nov 2006 • 896 posts Report Reply

  • InternationalObserver,

    A pity you couldn't wangle a mention of Millie Holmes into your paragraph about drugs in Vietnam, Russell!! I note 4 responses, 358 views for this blog; compared with 59 responses, 1314 views for David Slack's piece on Millie's arrest. Kinda puts it in perspective, eh? PA readers say they want 'Hard News' but they are still drawn to 'Hot Gossip'.
    Heh heh heh.
    Since I enjoy a bit of tattle (but don't claim otherwise) maybe you could consider doing a HuffPo and adding an 'Entertainment' (a.k.a. tabloid) section to PA in the future?

    Since Jun 2007 • 909 posts Report Reply

  • InternationalObserver,

    but back to topic: that link you gave to the Guardian story is excellent. So much I could mention but I'll just highlight this:

    A stark picture emerges of Bush making promises and giving assurances to Blair which were not delivered because Iraq was being run by Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney, neither of whom was very interested in listening to their junior British ally.

    So, our worst fears are confirmed (no surprise really). Any chance this doco will screen in NZ?

    Since Jun 2007 • 909 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    But with all the lying that went on with Iraq, and the hideous mistakes made in post war reconstruction how can that not affect humanitarian intervention?

    but I also note that's its not affected the ability of the right (the ones ElBaradei calls the "crazies") to sell to the US mainstream the idea that bombing Iran, with all the consequences, is perhaps a reasonable thing to do.

    It might be a tougher sell than last time, but in a nation where everybody else's hard right is the middle ground, not one presidential candidate on either side has had the balls to say "this is all barkingly insane, and you are buying to the same lies you were sold five years ago as fact"...

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3208 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    A pity you couldn't wangle a mention of Millie Holmes into your paragraph about drugs in Vietnam, Russell!! I note 4 responses, 358 views for this blog; compared with 59 responses, 1314 views for David Slack's piece on Millie's arrest. Kinda puts it in perspective, eh? PA readers say they want 'Hard News' but they are still drawn to 'Hot Gossip'.

    Always been the same. PA had a big traffic bump before the last general elections in NZ, but it wasn't actually the campaign that triggered the ramp-up, but the celebrity drug scandal.

    Which is why I led with commentary on said scandal for three days running ...

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18991 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    I've read this sort of thing on numerous occasions - one of the lasting legacies of the Iraq war will be the death of Liberal Interventionism, no more stopping Milosevic etc etc.

    Really?

    Yeah, really.

    Try thinking of it this way and see if it makes a difference: assuming the occupation of Iraq was not intrinsically all-advised, if it had been conducted in an orderly, competent and legal fashion, would that have strengthened the case for future interventions?

    Yes.

    So why insist that the failure, arrogance and incompetance, and the attendant loss of moral authority and likely international co-operation, wouldn't have the opposite effect?

    Even in purely practical terms, where will the US find the resources to lead any new internevtion when it's deeply over-committed in Iraq?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18991 posts Report Reply

  • Venetia King,

    If you're ever thinking of staying at the Royal @ Queens Hotel, think about staying somewhere else

    Never been there (thank goodness!) but on our stopover last year we stayed at the Carlton on Bras Basah - not far away - and thought it was excellent. I think it was NZ$160/170 a night but our rooms were big, clean and well equipped, and the service was great.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 103 posts Report Reply

  • Ben Austin,

    There is a lot of international intervention going on at the moment (not sure if it is more/less than 10 years ago). I have a suspicion that military capacity for further efforts amongst the usual suspects is probably quite low, especially if the Iraq mercenaries are still getting paid so well.

    London • Since Nov 2006 • 896 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Never been there (thank goodness!) but on our stopover last year we stayed at the Carlton on Bras Basah - not far away - and thought it was excellent. I think it was NZ$160/170 a night but our rooms were big, clean and well equipped, and the service was great.

    The Ritz Carlton? Stayed there years ago on Nokia's dollar and it was brilliant. Huge rooms - with a harbour view from the bath! Best breakfast buffet I've ever encountered too. But with rates pushed up by the multi-ring circus of CommunicAsia, just a bit beyond my budget ...

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18991 posts Report Reply

  • Che Tibby,

    Best breakfast buffet I've ever encountered

    cue: rb in dressing gown.

    russell: "why... aren't you just a jaunty, spicy wee muffin"

    muffin: "why yes stranger, yes i am... take me! take me and devour me like no muffin has been devoured before!"

    russell: "i will, sweet, spicy muffin... because it is our destiny!"

    --> scene cuts away to ensure pg rating.

    the back of an envelope • Since Nov 2006 • 2026 posts Report Reply

  • dc_red,

    Would Russell really use the word "jaunty"? Even in addressing food?

    Oil Patch, Alberta • Since Nov 2006 • 706 posts Report Reply

  • Che Tibby,

    he wouldn't not not say jaunty.

    the back of an envelope • Since Nov 2006 • 2026 posts Report Reply

  • Neil Morrison,

    Yeah, really.

    No, really.

    You're talking in hypotheticals. Show me some examples.

    Let's look at some post invasion situations.

    Lebanon - the international community were pretty quick to insert a beefed up UN force in south Lebanon after the Israel-Hezbollah war. France played a large role in that. Chirac did not sit on his hands saying "you didn't listen to me on Iraq, why should I send troops to Lebanon?".

    The Sudan - the problem there is not a lack of willingness on the part of African nations to send troops because of Iraq, the problem is the Sudanese govt and China.

    I haven't noticed the NZ govt, another war opponent, saying they will bring the troops home from East Timor or Afghanistan.

    International interventionism is still alive and sadly very much needed.

    Anyway, just who exactly would be making the case that they would not support intervention in situations like Rwanda, Darfur and Bosnia on the basis that the Iraq war occurred? I suspect people like Mugabe - people whose opinions one wouldn't consider.

    Even in purely practical terms, where will the US find the resources to lead any new internevtion when it's deeply over-committed in Iraq?

    That's a reasonable point but why shouldn't those countries that so virtuously refrained from taking part in the Iraq war now not step up to the plate? The NATO countries have shown a marked lack of enthusiasm for increasing their military presence in Afghanistan.

    Since Nov 2006 • 932 posts Report Reply

  • Ben Austin,

    Well sending soldiers overseas is about force projection, few countries have the ability to send soldiers to say Dafur or Timor and keep them supplied and the like. They rely on countries that can do so, and there are not too many of those.

    If we look at say Germany, it is a large, rich country, with a large military. But how many of those soldiers are just consripts there for 18 months? Can / should those conscripts be sent overseas to be peace keepers? Can the Germans afford to? Would their government provide extra funding to send the professionals over? Or would they need to stop doing some activity in order to fund said peacekeeping activity, like close a base or two (what about local unemployment?), or cut back a procurement programme (who cares what we'll need in 10 years right?). Do they even have the planes to supply such soldiers? Or would they need to rely on the US or UK?

    London • Since Nov 2006 • 896 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    The Bundeswehr has 250,000 personnel, of which 50,000 are conscripts. They probably need 50,000 of the professionals to shout at and feed/pay the conscripts, leaving 150,000 for actual defence.

    I think the only reason they have the conscripts is to prevent the military becoming an isolated caste. They can't go overseas unless they volunteer for extended service (e.g. stop being conscripts).

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4467 posts Report Reply

  • Marcus Neiman,

    As a really minor point - I believe that the Germans did send conscripts to the Balkans in the late 90s.

    But I think Ben is on the right track, as far as I can tell the German military is more or less orientated to mopping up youth unemployment and stopping the USSR from pouring through the Fulda Gap. No-one but the US has the logistical capacity to pull something like a Darfur intervention off, and they would seem to be rather busy right now...

    Sydney • Since Feb 2007 • 107 posts Report Reply

  • Neil Morrison,

    No-one but the US has the logistical capacity to pull something like a Darfur intervention off, and they would seem to be rather busy right now...

    Damn that GWB for not sending the troops in and using diplomacy instead.

    But seriously, the current UN proposal is for a mainly African force to go into the Sudan. The US along with other countries will provide other forms of support. Iraq is not the reason for the inaction on Darfur. But even if it were I don't see how that is good reason for other countries to do nothing.

    If we look at say Germany...

    I don't know much about the military capabilities of European countries but it has been observed that if Europe wants to act as any sort of counter-weight to the US then it has to have something to do that with and at present that's not the case.

    Since Nov 2006 • 932 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    if Europe wants to act as any sort of counter-weight to the US then it has to have something to do that with and at present that's not the case.

    I'd say those that observed such are wrong. Western Europe, whilst not at Cold War levels, remains fairly heavily armed and equipped.

    As Rich pointed out Germany alone has some 250,000 in it's land forces, and the French some 140,000 full timers. The Eurofighter and the Rafaele are both very much equals of anything in service in the US, with the exception of the rather financially bloated overkill of the F-22, and between the two countries they have almost 1,000 choppers.

    It's nothing to do with capacity.

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3208 posts Report Reply

  • Ben Austin,

    Rawr numbers is one thing, actual capacity to move said rawr numbers to a far away point and supply them is different.

    London • Since Nov 2006 • 896 posts Report Reply

  • John Quinn,

    Yi-Gods! Is Queen's Hotel STILL there? I passed through Singapore as a backpacker almost 20 years ago and well remember the threadbare sheets. I assumed it must be on the demolition list even then--it was extremely tat but the cheapest place I could find from the airport listings

    The massage parlor upstairs constantly poked discreet visiting cards under the door. I spent a birthday there slurping on a very bad bottle of Australian white wine watching black and white TV where the single Government channel showed educational programmes. In despair I finally went down to the ground floor and joined in the weekly ballroom dancing session with young local Chinese. I hate ballroom dancing since I was exposed to it at an all-boys boarding school.As we had to take turns being girls I'm still totally bemused as to whether I should go forward or backwards (as a compromise I do a sort of sideways' shuffle).

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 15 posts Report Reply

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