keywords: Obama

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Pope's G20 hospital pass to Abbott

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 14 November 2014
    18 Comments

    The news that Pope Francis has written a letter to Tony Abbott makes one pause. It is usual for Popes to write such letters, and luckily this one is no shirtfront. Instead it will probably be treated as a hospital pass. The trouble with swerving away from hospital passes, though, is that the watchers may see you as cowardly.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Red tape leaves Australia with compassion deficit

    • Michael Mullins
    • 20 October 2014
    14 Comments

    Australia has been unable to secure an ‘ironclad’ guarantee from a closer country that it would treat an Australian worker who contracted the Ebola virus in West Africa. Why would they open their hearts to West African Ebola victims and not to Australians?  Thinking that imposes red tape on Australian humanitarian workers with demands of ironclad guarantees defies the logic of compassion.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    The Kurds: fighting the good fight?

    • William Gourlay
    • 23 September 2014
    6 Comments

    Turkey and Iran, the two major regional powers against whose borders ISIS jostles, have, each for their own reasons, declined to participate militarily in President Obama's action against ISIS. The likelihood or benefits of working in concert with Iran can be debated long and hard, but in the meantime the Kurds clearly emerge as the immediate go-to allies. Positioning them as such, and arming them, will change the dynamics of the region.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    What are we walking into in Iraq?

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 15 September 2014
    7 Comments

    President Obama's decision to take military action against ISIL forces in Iraq and Syria has been applauded. But it should give us pause that this is the outcome desired and provoked by ISIL itself.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    An elusive peace in Ukraine

    • Tony Kevin
    • 26 August 2014
    6 Comments

    My optimism in previous essays on Ukraine continues to be undermined by the remarkable capacity of all players in this tragic drama – the government in Kiev, the rebels in East Ukraine, and their respective backers in NATO and Moscow – to dig in stubbornly and refuse to compromise goals in this now very nasty civil war.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Mexican border reflections on Australian asylum seeker policy

    • Frank Brennan
    • 15 August 2014
    30 Comments

    We Australians confront none of the complexities of sharing a land border with a poor neighbour. Most Americans, I find, consider our policy morally repulsive and just stupid. They cannot believe that we routinely lock up children, that we recently held 157 people on a ship in the Indian Ocean for almost a month, and that we are now going to send up to 1000 asylum seekers to Cambodia.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Signs that East Ukraine has averted mass human tragedy

    • Tony Kevin
    • 11 August 2014
    12 Comments

    On Sunday morning Australian time, we learned that the destructive civil war raging in East Ukraine seemed to be drawing to a close, essentially on Kiev’s terms. It appears that the tense test of wills between Russia and the West generated by the crisis, which briefly last week risked a wider war, has ended in a tacit backdown by Moscow.  

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Mixed messages undermine western solidarity with Gaza

    • Raff Piccolo
    • 06 August 2014
    16 Comments

    There are messages of support for Palestinians suffering in Gaza. But for every 'condemnation' that is directed at Israel by the President of the United States, the same speech always refers to the 'inherent right of Israel to defend itself'. However well intentioned, the sentiments are being used by Israel to justify all its actions in Gaza.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Ukraine endgame?

    • Tony Kevin
    • 31 July 2014
    11 Comments

    The shooting down of MH17 by insurgent anti-aircraft missiles has now been swallowed up in the wider drama of the fierce civil war raging in Ukraine's pro-Russian eastern region. On 24 July, the International Committee of the Red Cross proclaimed Ukraine to be in a state of civil war, appealing to all those involved to respect the humanitarian rules of war or face later indictment as war criminals. The burning question now is, what will Putin's Russia do?

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Beware of political posturing after MH17 tragedy

    • Justin Glyn
    • 22 July 2014
    13 Comments

    The horror of the crash that killed 298 people was not a day old before blame was being vigorously assigned by all sides. Not only is this deeply unhelpful and disrespectful, it obscures the fact that, whatever actually happened, a terrible tragedy is at risk of being compounded by the hot-heads on all sides calling for more war and escalation of a conflict in which both Russia and the United States have acted with rank opportunism.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Two state solution does not depend on words

    • John Kilcullen
    • 08 July 2014
    8 Comments

    The recent controversy about whether the Australian government regards East Jerusalem as Occupied, occupied, or disputed, at least made it clear that the Australian government still supports the ‘two state solution’. Now is the time to do something positive to bring the second state into existence.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Hillary Clinton's bloodless memoir

    • Barry Gittins
    • 04 July 2014
    2 Comments

    This was akin to reading a carefully vetted resume. An intelligent and formidable first lady, senator and Secretary of State, and no shrinking violet, the author presents a largely passionless, desiccated record. There's the odd poignant reflection. Absurd depictions of Mel Brooksian secure rooms (and the reading of documents with a blanket over her head in non-secure rooms). But, overall, Clinton draws pictures without drawing blood.

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