Friday, October 27, 2006

Australia -- the next rogue nation

Here's one example that proves that  it is logically untrue to say that "nobody can be worse" than President George Bush in foreign policy. From today's newspapers in Australia.

Australia 'a nuclear threat'

By Geoff Elliott October 28, 2006 12:00am Article from: The Australian

Harold Ford, a handsome 36-year-old from Tennessee, has become one of the sensations of the mid-term elections in the US and a reason why Democrats are a good chance of winning back control of the US Congress for the first time in 12 years. But if Mr Ford, already a US congressman, wins his bid to become a more powerful senator, Australia had better watch out. Because according to Mr Ford, Australia has an interest in nuclear weapons and is part of the broader nuclear threat to the US. ...

His skilled oration on domestic politics may be flawless, but his grip on foreign policy is error-prone. Yesterday he stumbled into gaffes on the North Korean nuclear tests and then mentioned Australia in the same breath as rogue nations wanting to go nuclear.

"Here we are in a world today where more countries have access to nuclear weapons than ever before," Mr Ford said, adding that when he left college in 1992 he thought the nuclear age had come to an end "and America would find ways to eliminate the number of chances that a rogue group or a rogue nation would get their hands on nuclear material".

"Today nine countries have it - more than ever before - and 40 are seeking it, including Argentina, Australia and South Africa," he said. Mr Ford was referring to the nine known nuclear weapon states: the US, the UK, Russia, China, France, India, Pakistan, Israel and now North Korea.

He said this made the US less safe because "more countries have nuclear weapons today which means the possibility of nuclear weapons falling into the wrong hands has increased dramatically".

What makes Ford's comments really funny is that Australia has probably had the capability to build both nukes and missile delivery systems since the 1950s but foreswore the weapons voluntarily. From Wikipedia:

Australia – Following World War II, Australian defence policy initiated joint nuclear weapons development with the United Kingdom. Australia provided uranium, land for weapons and rocket tests, and scientific and engineering expertise. Canberra was also heavily involved in the Blue Streak ballistic missile program. In 1955, a contract was signed with a British company to build the Hi-Flux Australian Reactor (HIFAR). HIFAR was considered the first step toward the construction of larger reactors capable of producing substantial volumes of plutonium for nuclear weapons. However, Australia's nuclear ambitions were abandoned by the 1960s, and the country signed the NPT in 1970 (ratified in 1973).

With 30% of the world's cheap uranium deposits, F-111 bombers, attack submarines, leased Global Hawk UAVs, OTH radar surveillance of SE Asia,  F-18s and a commitment to buy into the F-35 and possibly the F-22 programs, besides being integrated into the US-UK intelligence sharing system, Australia would be in a totally different league from North Korea if it were anything like a "threat" to the US. But of course it isn't. Australia 's a US ally of about the same power order of magnitude as Israel with somewhat more extensive beaches.

Ford is an intelligent man and he probably misspoke largely out of ignorance on his specific subject. How else would he lump North Korea and Australia into the same basket? But whether mistakes are made in ignorance or malice they are still mistakes. It's natural to feel somewhat uneasy about politicians who want to defend Iraq from Okinawa and are fixing to treat Australia as the next North Korea. But then, sometime back a Washington Post reporter discovered that many politicians in Washington today didn't know the difference between a Shi'ite and a Sunni, so maybe ignorance is never cured simply with the passage of time. If so, we're doomed! We're doomed!


Blogger The Anti-Jihadist said...

I have a sneaking suspicion that this, er, verbal 'gaffe' (rhetorical malfunction perhaps?) by an American Democrat in the heat of a midterm election season will get kid-glove treatment from a friendly (and so-called) 'Mainstream' Media. That is, if the Leftie Media pays attention to this at all. Think about how the networks virtually rub their hands together with glee every time Bush utters something potentially inappropriate, and the usual media double standard is there for all to see.

-the Anti Jihadist
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

10/27/2006 03:21:00 PM  
Blogger enuff said...

Were ignorance cured by the passage of time, we’d all be genius.

'...we're doomed! We're doomed!'

10/27/2006 03:38:00 PM  
Blogger rhhardin said...

Might be thinking of Austria. Is Austria seeking nukes? The Wiener Bomb.

10/27/2006 03:43:00 PM  
Blogger summignumi said...

I for one think that a democrat house and senate = a very lively future, one full of intense news stories and a extreme change in world order, ya that’s the ticket, a class “E” roller coaster ride thru the house of horrors. Just can’t wait…

10/27/2006 03:50:00 PM  
Blogger RWE said...

Ford is already a member of Congress and no doubt has access to intelligence information taht we do not.

However, I still have contacts in the Pentagon and they have assured me that the concerns he expresses are valid. Australia has little choice but to build and deploy nuclear weapons as it looks fearfully toward a rogue nation that threatens everything that Aussies hold dear.

I speak, of course, of that virulent caldron of scheming treachary ...
New Zealand.

10/27/2006 03:55:00 PM  
Blogger John McCormack said...

In addition to the innane comment about Australia, Ford mentions South Africa among those countries seeking nuclear weapons.
South Africa HAD nuclear weapons in the 1980s and early 1990s but disassembled all of them in 1993.

10/27/2006 04:26:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

Neither the House nor the Senate decide who we'll go to war with. They - at most - rubber-stamp what the President has decided, and leak intelligence information to their friends at the NY Times. We can hope that if this Democrat *does* get elected, in reading information to decide what to leak he'll become more familiar with the difference between Australia and Afghanistan.

(Do we want to mention that Mr. Ford is African-American? Maybe if you started feeding him stories about Aborigines and their treatment he'd be more inclined to sit up and take notice.)

10/27/2006 04:39:00 PM  
Blogger Woman Catholic said...

I speak, of course, of that virulent caldron of scheming treachary ...New Zealand.

Folks on the North Island and the South Island often don't think very highly of the folks on the West Island.

10/27/2006 05:12:00 PM  
Blogger Mike H. said...

Hey, you guys lay off of Ford. He may be a red neck but he's 'our' red neck! ;)

10/27/2006 05:14:00 PM  
Blogger charlotte said...

I, for one, am glad to find out about the South Africa, Argentina, Australia and Alabama proliferation threats, their dismantled or never started programs, notwithstanding.

Argentina is supposed to be cool these days, after covertly pursuing nuclear weapons and then halting the program in the 80s:

Argentina is a party to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) since 1995 as a non-nuclear weapons state, and has been a party to the Tlatelolco Treaty since 1994. However, full-scope safeguards have operated since 1991 in conjunction with the Brazilian-Argentine Agency for the Accounting and Control of Nuclear Materials (ABACC) under IAEA auspices.

Authorities recently announced their intention to expand Argentina's nuclear energy program, to include the possible resumption of uranium mining and enrichment "due to budget constraints." Should we be worried? Over the years, the country has cooperated with the IAEA (such that it is.)

10/27/2006 05:20:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

People think that "IAEA" stands for some title or something, but what it REALLY is the exclamation you make when you find out what it hasn't been doing.

"You mean, THEY have a bomb, too?"

"Yes, I'm afraid so."


10/27/2006 06:33:00 PM  
Blogger charlotte said...


10/27/2006 06:52:00 PM  
Blogger ledger said...

It's entirely possible that Australia will have to build it's own atomic weapons to counter the NORKs. This is one problem of nuclear proliferation.

When we (and the world) were unable to negotiate Kim into giving up his nuclear weapons project things started to snow ball.

We now know he has setoff some type of atomic weapon. As night follows day he will eventually perfect and miniaturize said weapons and fit them to a missile.

All parties with in range will become threatened and will have to build their own atomic weapons.

I think the same thing is going on in Iran. I doubt that the UN will be able to pressure Iran to abandon their nuclear weapons projects. It's now said that a second set of centrifuges are up and running.

Here is Bush's comment on that last issue:

Q Thank you, sir. What does it say to you that Iran is doubling its enrichment capacity?

THE PRESIDENT: It says to me that we must double our effort to work with the international community to persuade the Iranians that there is only isolation from the world if they continue working forward on such a program. And I've read the speculation about that that's what they may be doing, but whether they've doubled it or not, the idea of Iran having a nuclear weapon is unacceptable, and it's unacceptable to the United States and it's unacceptable to nations we're working with in the United Nations to send a common message

See: President meeting with NATO Secretary General

If I were Bush and really wanted to destroy Iran's atomic weapons facilities I would say "We continue to negotiate" but strike their facilities swiftly - and without warning.

I believe there are 3 Carrier Strike Groups are in position to do so (The Iwo Jima Expeditionary Strike Group, the USS Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group and the USS Enterprise Strike Group).

Those assets and the other US military assets in the area can probably destroy or greatly damage Iran's atomic weapons facilities. Now would be the time to strike.

If Iran does build atomic weapons then major oil supply routes, and friendly countries like Israel and Iraq will be in danger (not to mention our troops in that area).

Further, once Iran's atomic weapons projects is up and running they will continue to refine and miniaturize there weapons. All of which is very bad.

The countries in the area will then start to build their own nuclear weapons. There will be an arms race. And, most likely some of those atomic weapons will end-up in the hands of terrorists.

The window of opportunity to de-fang Iran of nukes is quickly shutting. Bush should act quickly.

10/27/2006 11:45:00 PM  
Blogger John Samford said...

Ford is my congresscritter and I was happy to vote for him as a congresscritter. But not for Senate. Harold is his daddy's boy and nobody in his right mine is going to put a world class crook like Sr. where he can steal again. The whole fam damily is as big a collection of theives and scoundrels as has ever existed in American politics. Harold didn't roll that far from the tree.
I laugh when I read the polls. This is Harold's strongest district and you can go to the local grocery and shout "Who's voting for Ford?" and watch everyone either look away or laugh. I doubt even the dead vote, which is always 100% democratic in these here parts, might not be enough to get him over. If he does come out ahead, the lawsuits will go on until '08, so He'll never actually take his seat. The Polls have always been wrong and they are spectacularly so this time.
Makes me wonder about the polls where I don't live.
Anyway, the chances of Junior finding Australia on a map are not near as good as me winning the powerball twice in a row. Junior is now down to playing the race card, which is hillarious. Haorld claims to be black while Corker claims to be white. If some one used just that description to pick out those two in a photo of them together, they would get it wrong.
You have a black guy who looks white charging racialism against a white guy that looks black. I love America.

10/28/2006 06:34:00 PM  
Blogger C-Low said...

ignorance in Politics won't end until the WE THE PEOPLE stop voting on who is prettier, or like this dirty election cycle who is uglier.

ISSUES should be the deciding factors. ISSUES but then I guess until we get Leaders instead of Politicians we wont have much of those to speak of either. Like a freind of mine once said after a brief conversation rant on how politicians never look for pernament solutions he answered "if they fix the problem pernamently why are you going to vote for him next cycle?" simple stupid I guess.

10/29/2006 02:32:00 PM  

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