Jock Webb writes: Re. “On Assange and Russia” (yesterday). In regard to Mr L’Estrange, I too am in my 60s and no great fan of US foreign policy. However, I think this underestimates the power of the 1945 Soviet forces. There is abundant evidence that Stalin was interested in moving further. There was nothing good about him. Many analysts consider that the Nagasaki bomb was dropped as much to warn Stalin that Berlin was as far as it went. Stalin after all was responsible for the USSR’s initial calamities through his purges of any competent general staff. However, the armies of Zhukov and his rivals were a fearsome force and by no means exhausted. There is no doubt that many in the west feared Soviet expansion and given the annexation of Poland, Hungary and the Eastern bloc nations, it is not wander. Stalin was a paranoid and power hungry man who probably killed even more of his own citizens than Hitler. What NATO has become is another matter. An exercise in stupidity and US overreach that is a threat to stability for sure. To anyone who has not read Antony Beevor’s The Second World War, I recommend it as a chilling education on the global politics of the time.
On our foreign policy
James O’Neill writes: Re. “Defence Department’s link to extreme Israeli lobby group” (yesterday). You surely have not only just discovered the pernicious influence of the Israel lobby in Australian foreign policy. Look at our voting record in the UN. Look at the almost complete silence from DFAT at Israel’s persistent violations of international law. When did you last see on Australian tv pictures of the wall they have built and compare that with the blanket coverage of the Berlin Wall. When did Bishop last condemn (if ever) the continued illegal occupation of the Golan Heights. Ditto the fact that Israel is a nuclear armed power.
The ASPI also published earlier this year an appalling paper by Paul Dibb on the “Russian threat”. It is not only the DOD that funds ASPI. Look at their reports and see that US right wing bodies are also major sources. It is little wonder that our foreign policy is such a disgrace when the topics and the tone are set in the way they are.