When the US secretary of defense, Lloyd Austin, told an audience in Singapore recently that the US would not allow “coercion and bullying” of its allies by China, he must have been counting on a lack of historical knowledge (or a tolerance for hypocrisy) in his audience. Bullying and coercion, including threatened and actual military attacks, are not something new; they have been part of US policy in Asia (and elsewhere) for two centuries.
In the years following World War Two, as numerous direct colonies won formal independence, there was a widespread belief, or at least a hope, that political independence would lead fairly rapidly to significant economic progress. No longer under the control of foreign exploiters, the ex-colonies would be free to undergo economic development like that which had occurred in the wealthy capitalist countries.
Glenn Greenwald is justly known for his journalism exposing the crimes of empire and the establishment, including the liberal establishment. This made all the more surprising and disappointing his recent article titled, “The bizarre refusal to apply cost-benefit analysis to COVID debates”. Greenwald claims that “rational cost-benefit analysis” regarding COVID “has been bizarrely declared off-limits”.
As governments fight over which country will get the most vaccines soonest (and at the best price) and whose pharmaceutical companies will make the most money, it’s easy to think that there’s no other realistic way of producing and distributing the vaccines needed to roll back and, hopefully, eventually stop the coronavirus epidemic.
Americans are being told that the riot in the national Capitol building promoted by Donald Trump was the work of “extremists”. To some, the term may seem a handy catch-all to refer to the crowd of white supremacists, proto-fascists, misogynists, climate denialists, QAnon delusionists, evangelical terrorists and brain-damaged Twitterholics involved, but its vagueness makes it easily susceptible to misuse.
The federal government is planning to introduce a written test on “Australian values” for migrants seeking to become citizens. Media reports indicate that the test will involve multiple choice questions. While the government has not yet disclosed the precise questions, the Guardian’s account listed some examples of what they might be. I quote some of them below. Since the Guardian report did not provide any alternative answers to the questions, I have added my own.