Monday, 6 December 2010

Leaking Crocodile Tears

On the ABC News this evening we heard the Republican leader in the US Senate declaring that Julian Assange is a "hi-tech terrorist" and should be treated as an "enemy combatant".  Of course since we've been fighting a "war on terror" it's become a lot easier to say such things.  But just who is Assange and his Wiki-leaks army terrorising?

Well, although new bombshells are exploding every day they seem to be entirely of the metaphorical sort, and I don't recall anyone ever being killed by a metaphor.  Of couse, it's possible that amongst the material there is confidential information which might compromise the safety of, say, an intelligence operative or informer, and this would be of some concern.  Australian Observer, a former senior Defence and Foreign Affairs official, strongly doubts it - the security of such contacts is much tighter than that.

It seems that the main people being terrorised are diplomats and politicians, quaking in their boots as they wait to see if that stupid thing they said or wrote will make the front page.  It's always embarassing when your dirty laundry is aired and people find out you're not exactly the person they thought you were.  Tiger Woods was certainly embarassed when his wholesome image was trashed by his wife trying brain him with a golf club after discovering his latest piece of infidelity.  Yet while we will never see him the same way again, he might actually become a better person as a result.

And this is the whole point.  In case you haven't noticed, things haven't been going too well lately on the international relations front.  The war in Afghanistan seems unwinnable, and we're pouring billions and sacrficing young lives to prop up a corrupt regime.  North and South Korea are on the brink of war, as are India and Pakistan.  International climate change negotiations are a farce. 

If things were going well, we might be inclined to trust our governments and leave their dirty secrets alone.  But this ain't working.  Maybe its better to get the whole sorry mess out in the open.  In the short term it will hurt.  We'll lose some credibility, some money and even a little skin.  Some people might lose their jobs.  But perhaps in the long term it can help get some things out into the open.  Jesus says:

There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known.  What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight; what is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the roofs.

Slightly out of context, but the revealing of everything is the beginning of salvation.  Perhaps once the torch is shone on the sorry mess that is international relations, we will be able to begin the heal it.


ish said...

Well said Jon. And maybe the fact that International climate change negotiations are a farce is also due to some well placed leaks about the vested interest biased "facts" in that quarter.

Jon said...

Thanks Steve. Not sure I can come at climate change skepticism though. I'm no scientist but overall the science sounds like its pretty clear, and the vested interests in doing nothing are far huger than those in the scientific community urging action.

ish said...

Huge sunspot activity expected in the next couple of years some say. What do we know about that and similar big picture stuff re our climate?
Even if there is a degree of truth in popular claims don't you think there is also a little of King Canute presumption that not only can we stop climate "tides" but that we can induce the necessary level of international cooperation necessary while avoiding tyranny?

Andrew said...

Steve, if the climate change lobby has "vested interests" what are they? Not sure how many millions a climatologist is likely make through international negotiations on climate change. On the contrary, the coal industry stands to face billions.

International negotiations on use of CFCs in response to the hole in the ozone layer brought change virtually overnight; in the recent price hike in oil, people made 75% changes in behaviour in response to a 3% price change; in 1960 eminent scientists predicted world population at 12 billion by 2000 using current projections; in the blitz of WW2 people changed behaviour dramatically overnight - they ate differently, the lived differently, they consumed differently.

Despite the convenient pessimism of the skeptics, people make changes dramatically and quickly when there is the will. The recent GFC left Australia in a "winner" position and seemed to suggest continued profligate consumption and sale of coal was vital to stay afloat. But the fact is, in any calamity, their are winners and losers, as recent earthquakes in Haiti and New Zealand are witness. Regardless of its source and our ability to change it, doing nothing about climate change is like crossing your fingers while having unprotected sex with a prostitute.
If a carbon tax creates a drive towards a different energy supply paradigm, some of the tyrants (like those refusing to give their fellow Australians a fair rent on resources and savagely attacking government when they try) currently holding the world to ransom through coal and oil may lose their power to enslave us. As we are liberated and energy goes the way of the Internet, so others in less fortunate circumstances may likewise be liberated.

Jon said...

One of the blogs I like to read regualrly is Byron Smith's "Nothing New Under the Sun". He talks about "converging crises" (for instance at - global warming, harmful pollution, habitat destruction, exhaustion of fossil fuels. Popular environmental concern at the moment is focused on climate change but there's a lot more to it than that, and a lot of different reasons to change.