Author: Binoy Kampmark

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Trump's Syria pantomime

    • Binoy Kampmark
    • 15 April 2018
    4 Comments

    If anything, there seemed to be something hollow about a gesture that all but acknowledges the success of the Russian-backed regime which has taken a stranglehold over the civil war. One conclusion is that brutality is fine as long as it avoids the use of certain types of force, namely chemical weapons.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Stephen Hawking as saint and celebrity

    • Binoy Kampmark
    • 14 March 2018
    22 Comments

    The rush to pay tribute to the cosmological colossus had an air of reflex about it. People paid respects, but many were not entirely sure why. He'd be missed, but in what way? Such is the way of celebrity, even those rare intellectual ones who burst the barrier of mass marketing. They become symbols in their time, ciphers of an age.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Buying exemptions: Donald Trump's tariff deal

    • Binoy Kampmark
    • 12 March 2018
    5 Comments

    This affair has done little to encourage Australians keen on pushing a more robustly independent line from Washington. A ceremonial subservience and deference to US power has been exhibited. Such sentiments embrace the inherent inequality of the Australian-US relationship. To be in deficit to the US is seen as a good and necessary thing.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Florida shooting and the cult of individuality

    • Binoy Kampmark
    • 15 February 2018
    6 Comments

    The mass murderous gun, even in the hands of a disgruntled teenager, remains a manifestation that will linger in the face of legislative apathy and constitutional fervour. A civilised society may not require such guns, but US civilisation expresses a frontier brutality that refuses to abandon them.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Crossing the lines of judgment

    • Binoy Kampmark
    • 29 January 2018
    14 Comments

    The reaction of Judge Aquilina might well be understood as the most natural reaction to scale and proportion. But precisely because she maintains to be an agent of the law, torpedoing Nassar's case at the sentencing phase has compromised her very own statement of defence in favour of his victims.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Undermining NZ: Dutton's refugee ploy

    • Binoy Kampmark
    • 19 November 2017
    9 Comments

    These sprinklings of poison through the press, with occasional mentions in New Zealand, serve two purposes: to show Australian refugee policy as sound, and offshore detention and resettlement in an unsuitable third country as appropriate; and to deflect attention from the discharge of obligations under the UN Refugee Convention.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    No end to the cruelty as Manus centre closes

    • Binoy Kampmark
    • 30 October 2017
    16 Comments

    The closure of the centre is not the end of it. The men are to be moved to purpose-built accommodation in the town of Lorengau. There is both fear and reluctance. The cruelty, in other words, is merely being displaced.

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  • MEDIA

    Hollywood's Weinstein complicity

    • Binoy Kampmark
    • 18 October 2017
    4 Comments

    Hollywood houses and produces its own hypocrisies. Issues are literally reduced to screen-like dimensions. Complexity vanishes. But more to the point, abuses behind the screen become apologias, the justifiable vicissitudes of having a dream industry. It entails a pact between the dream maker and participants, where all are soiled.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    The violence in making America great again

    • Binoy Kampmark
    • 02 October 2017
    11 Comments

    Terrorism has its loaded associations, a distinct demonology. To suggest that a US citizen might be a terrorist hardly accords with the project of Making America Great Again. Paddock was not a Muslim, which would have been a useful alibi for the restrictive policy on arrivals from specific Islamic countries.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Nuclear North Korea and the dangers of panic

    • Binoy Kampmark
    • 03 September 2017
    8 Comments

    In Australia, the reactions have been far from mild. Malcolm Turnbull was less than reassuring, suggesting the un-testable notion that the Korean peninsula was closer to conflict than at any time since the Korean War. The converse, if counter-intuitive argument can be made: that the peninsula is being made safe from war through this aggressive pursuit of nuclear arms. This is not a view deemed acceptable to officials in Washington and Canberra but is entirely realistic given Pyongyang's aims.

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  • MEDIA

    Encryption and liberties on the 'ungovernable' internet

    • Binoy Kampmark
    • 13 July 2017
    6 Comments

    Turnbull's attitude echoes the fear all autocracies have: that control is slipping away, and that citizens cannot be trusted to behave in a modern communications environment without government intrusions. Arguments are repeatedly made that such enlarged powers are never abused - a charmingly naive assumption - and that law enforcement authorities merely need the 'capacity' to have them. These can either abate, or be extended, after a review. The reality tends to be different.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    North Korea, Trump and war

    • Binoy Kampmark
    • 09 July 2017
    6 Comments

    The DPRK's options in terms of defending itself against the US and its allies were always limited, leaving the way open for an assortment of pantomimes. The arsenal of the threat became normal: that, for instance, of incinerating Seoul, the possibility that Tokyo or Alaska might be targets. The show seems to be moving beyond the next boundary of what is deemed acceptable, largely because Trump deemed it impossible Pyongyang would have a viable ICBM option that could reach the US.

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