US Defence & Immigration Policies; US/China Trade; OZ Energy Policy

Trump’s sudden announcement that the US intends to “immediately withdraw” troops from Syria (and much reduced troops for Afghanistan) has caused much confusion as to US defence policy and, following the resignation of Mattis as Defence Secretary, Trump has found it difficult to get a replacement. While consistent with his election manifesto, Trump appears to have recognised that he was being too hasty and it appears he has accepted the view of National Security adviser, John Bolton, that the withdrawal be extended over a longer period and that it should first involve the elimination of IS (which Trump initially claimed had been achieved). Even so, policy uncertainty remains.

“Far Right” Views Assessed; France Crisis

It is not clear whether or not Senator Anning’s attendance at a small St Kilda protest rally was intended to stir public discussion and comments from Morrison and Shorten. But this has happened and some points made in my Commentary on Monday have also been reflected in that discussion. Importantly, The Australian has published a number of letters (see OZ Letters on “Far-Right”), including my own as what is sometimes called the lead letter

Hollywood Bias Exposed; Trump Sticks to Troop Withrawal; Romney’s Vew

It is widely accepted that, through its films and those acting in them, Hollywood favourably portrays the left and criticises the right. Because it has established this position over the years, most viewers/readers take account of this bias when commenting on a film and simply say no more than “well just as one expected”. But occasionally the bias is so bad that an observer feels forced to draw attention to it.

Dutton’s Exposure of Turnbull

In last Sunday’s Commentary I pointed out that, while in August Dutton challenged Turnbull for the leadership he did not really spell out the reasons for doing so, but Dutton had now covered much more ground than any former Cabinet minister has done since Turnbull’s departure in an article published that day written by a journalist. In particular that the Coalition would have lost 25 seats under Turnbull and that he was all talk and little action

Dutton Exposes Turnbull

While in August Dutton challenged Turnbull for the leadership, he did not really spell out the reasons for doing so and, when Morrison succeeded in his challenge for leadership, Dutton did not continue as minister for immigration but stayed as Minister for Home Affairs alone. But in today’s Herald Sun (and other News Ltd papers) he has now publicly exposed more of the reasons for his challenge

Morrison Changes CChange Policy

It would be premature to claim a breakthrough in the Morrison government’s climate change policy. But a potential starting point may have been made with its decision to count carried-over emissions credits from under the first and second Kyoto agreements to help meet the 2030 target of a 26% reduction in carbon emissions set by Turnbull in Paris. What this seems to mean is that energy section emissions will now have to fall by only 17 per cent, while transport and agriculture emissions are actually forecast to continue risin­g until at least 2030.

CChange Silly Season; Shorten’s Danger Promises; Immigration Policies Changing

Yesterday’s meeting of COAG confirm that discussions of energy policy between federal and state minister have reached the point when people do or say things that are not sensible or serious ie the silly season has arrived (it appears that the only area of agreement was in regard to retail reliability!). The Liberal Energy Minister in NSW, Don Harwin, who somehow acquired a BEc(Hons), advised COAG to aim for zero carbon emissions by 2050 even though his website says “coal will remain a vital source of energy”. To put it mildly, these two propositions conflict and Harwin was not even allowed to put a motion to the meeting.

CChange Conference; Judith Curry on Predictions of CChange

It was great to discover at last Wednesday’s Christmas drinks at Treasury (in Canberra) a number of “oldies” who said they were enjoying my Commentary and in particular the scepticism about the dangerous warming nonsense. While I resigned from Treasury in 1987 I later hoped that, with the danger thesis becoming more widely reflected in government policy both here and overseas, Treasury would publish analyses as John Stone and others had done on various controversial economic subjects during my time there. In fact, I edited a couple including one on the New International Economic Order(NIEO), which had an aim similar to one adopted by believers in the dangerous warming theme viz “save” developing countries by providing squillions of aid which would allow them to substitute costly fuel sources for cheaper fossil fuels.