Monthly Archives: May 2011

The absence of Obama

A long, angry arti­cle by Robert Fisk—the most expe­ri­enced his­to­ri­an of the con­tem­po­rary Mid­dle East—on how the Unit­ed States’ has ensured its irrel­e­vance to the future of the region. Obama’s fail­ure to sup­port the Arab rev­o­lu­tions until they were all but over lost the US most of its sur­viv­ing cred­it in the region. Oba­ma was […]

Necromancy and negotiation

Some things, like kings, cru­ci­fied gods and Nor­we­gian par­rots nev­er die. The WTO’s Doha nego­ti­a­tion may be the lat­est can­di­date for myth­ic res­ur­rec­tion (I hope not). But for now, the elders of the church of mul­ti­lat­er­al­ism over at are prepar­ing for a bur­ial ser­vice that they expect to take place at the WTO’s planned […]

One thousand ppm might be better

The Aus­tralian gov­ern­ment is bent on enact­ing a car­bon-emis­­sions tax that has no respon­si­ble jus­ti­fi­ca­tion oth­er than recent­ly re-hashed advice designed to jus­ti­fy an emis­sions tax. Lit­tle won­der, then, that polling shows vot­ers are strong­ly opposed to the tax, despite wide­spread their appar­ent con­vic­tion that the cli­mate is warm­ing and their accep­tance that warm­ing is […]

A great big banana tax

$5 for a banana? At $12 per kg. they’re already $3 a piece. “Aus­tralian Banana Grow­ers Coun­cil chief exec­u­tive Jonathan Eccles said yes­ter­day heavy rain and a cold snap since Cyclone Yasi wiped out 75 per cent of the crop in Feb­ru­ary had slowed banana growth and cut pro­duc­tion. “We’ll cer­tain­ly see whole­sale prices increase […]

Multilateral misalignment

Over at the Lowy Insti­tute, Michael Wes­ley has opened a debate on the mul­ti­lat­er­al­ism with a brief dys­pep­tic review, char­ac­ter­is­ing mul­ti­lat­er­al­ism as the “cop­per wire” tech­nol­o­gy of inter­na­tion­al rela­tions. Pro­fes­sor Nick Bis­ley from La Trobe joins the cho­rus and no doubt oth­ers will fol­low. I’ve been puz­zling about the short­com­ings of mul­ti­lat­er­al­ism for some time. […]

Apocalypse post-Doha?

I’ve been in the Mid­dle East and Europe and am just catch­ing up with a few things: such as the pam­phlet pro­duced by Simon Evenett, Richard Bald­win and a host of illus­tri­ous cheer­lead­ers for the WTO enti­tled: “Why World Lead­ers Must Resist the False Promise of Anoth­er Doha Delay” The col­lec­tion of brief essays—pris­es de […]

EU tax on airline CO2 emissions

The EU has been threat­en­ing since at least 2007 to impose an emis­sions tax on all air­lines land­ing in Europe. They’ve post­poned the tax at least once (to 2012) and may be forced by the strong oppo­si­tion of the inter­na­tion­al air­lines “club” (IATA) and for­eign governments—not to men­tion by the doubts of the EU Com­mis­sion […]