Monday, September 04, 2006

Living in a rogue state

I was brought to a sudden realisation yesterday about how one's understanding of events is culturally defined. (Or put another way, where you sit is where you stand!)

It was literally a laugh out loud moment. Our family was in the car and my partner turned on the midday radio news.

One of the leading items was about Dr Dewi Anwar, a former adviser to Indonesia's last President, saying Australia needs to reassure its neighbours that it has no desire to acquire nuclear weapons.

I laughed out loud in the car because I suddenly realised: the Prime Minister started a public debate a few weeks ago about the use of nuclear power in Australia (we only have one research reactor here which is used to make radioactive medicines and industrial radioisotopes). This debate is proceeding under cover of arguments that nuclear power may be the green solution to carbon emissions and climate change. But in my view it's really about opening up new uranium mines to allow mining companies to export more of our uranium reserves (from memory Australia has about 30% of the world's uranium reserves).

I laughed because I had never thought before about how this debate might be perceived overseas, particularly in Indonesia, the world's most populous muslim country. But it's obvious, really. When Indonesians perceive Australia as having promoted the secession of Timor Leste from Indonesia, and led armed forces into Timor twice in recent years, and wantonly attacked Afghanistan and Iraq, the possibility that we might start enriching more uranium needs to be considered in a strategic context. Dr Anwar said that Australia needs to assure the international community that it is not a security threat.

All of a sudden, I started to realise a little of how it might feel to be an Iranian.

1 comment:

Janet said...

May I add your site to my links?

And... we recieved your mailing and forwarded it on. XOXO!