Clive a good distractoin

Bob Nissen wriutes: Re. “Rundle: the coming East-West conflict a truth we dare not mention” (yesterday). It is a common tactic in an election where numbers are tight to add in a third candidate who appeals to the radicals of your opponent to reduce their numbers. With increasing US military involvement in Australia and sucking up to Japan, Abbot had a problem with China. Clive Palmer’s rant gave the country a reason to voice their love of China, and China was forced to say that it knows Clive is a nut and China loves Australia.

With 78% of the budget already passed, Clive gave the banks free rain to screw the people. Clive now has an excuse to make up for his outburst by passing the rest of the budget. All the Clive has achieved is feeding the ” chooks ” and distracting attention away from smoking Joe.

Martin Gordon writes: Yesterday’s article must have been a Sinophile’s delight. The villain in Asia is apparently the West, and anything that goes wrong is the fault of the West and the United States in particular. A truly creative line.

The great flaw in this article was the proposition that things would be wonderful if the US just departed the eastern hemisphere. If Rundle had any dealing with virtually any country in Asia he would be aware that China is not held in high regard (Ho Chi Minh was particularly colourful in his characterisations of it), and virtually every other Asian nation welcomes and wants US involvement in Asia. Asian nations want the US and India as a counterweight to China, and China wants India out of various bodies, not only the US out of Asia.

China can have a peaceful rise and be in a genuine friendly relationship with neighbours and the US. It does not require them to submit to others, or others to submit to China. Currently, though, China has antagonistic relationships (and territorial disputes) with most countries on its periphery, and the Chinese can improve that. The issue is not the Chinese as a people, but the nature of the Chinese state is totalitarian and not as benign as other Asian nations, or the US. The withdrawal of the US from Asia would be a vastly greater problem than a reasonable accommodation among nations, which is my preferred outcome. The withdrawal of the US would shift the power balance away from a reasonable accommodation.

On the Western Canon

Chris O’Regan writes: Re. “Christianity and the Old Testament” (yesterday). I’m not sure what argument Kathleen Hughes is making. Christians of many denominations can and do consider themselves bound by the so-called Old Testament; why else would it be printed in Christian Bibles? Incidents of explicit Christian reliance on the precepts of Leviticus, Deuteronomy, etc, are too numerous to list; but why not leave the last word to Jesus himself, who spends a very large part of the Gospels quoting the Torah with approval? Matthew 5:18 says “For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law [i.e. the Torah] until everything is accomplished.”

That’s quite aside from the question of whether a “foundation text of Western civilisation” needs to be Christian; neither Tim Blair or Jeff Sparrow are claiming that it does need to be; and nobody argues that (e.g.) pagan authors like Homer aren’t part of the Western Canon.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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