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Paul can regularly be read in the mainstream press

THE FUTURE OF THE ADF

By | Critical Essays, Defence, Geopolitics | No Comments

“…the laudably intentioned words ‘Defence Forces’ have created a most injurious and widely spread feeling that our Army’s duty is, so to speak, to sit in trenches and await attack…Nothing could be more grotesquely far from the real needs of the situation…Our field army must be in the highest degree mobile, ready to concentrate anywhere, march anywhere and fight anywhere – not everywhere.” – Colonel James Whiteside McCay, Director of Intelligence (1911)[i]   “We must be careful to ensure that technology does not give an illusion of progress – we cannot afford to maintain outdated ways of thinking, organizing and…

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STRANGERS  IN  A  STRANGE  WORLD

By | Book reviews for the press | No Comments

Jon Ronson’s Them: Adventures With Extremists (Picador, 2002, 328 pp) Jon Ronson must have had a barrel of laughs writing this book, for which he spent considerable periods of time getting to know people who passionately believe very odd or hopelessly muddled things. Those things are mostly conspiracy theories about who ‘really’ runs the world. Many of his interlocutors think it is the Jews. Yet Ronson, himself Jewish, never loses his gentle and ironical sense of humour. To the contrary, he again and again exhibits an astonishing capacity to empathise with those whose views he very plainly doesn’t share. It is…

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ATHEISM, MUSIC AND CIVILIZATION

By | Book reviews for the press, Western Civilisation | No Comments

Paul Monk reflects on Sam Harris’s The End of Faith “…everywhere I saw how readily men construct fables in order to avoid looking reality in the face. The invention of an afterlife would not matter so much were it not purchased at so high a price: disregard of the real, hence willful neglect of the only world there is. While religion is often at variance with immanence, with man’s inherent nature, atheism is in harmony with the earth – life’s other name.” Michel Onfray The Atheist Manifesto (2005)[i]   “Who are they who fill wells with earth? They are without…

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THE INFERNAL PUZZLE OF ANTI-SEMITISM

By | Critical Essays, History, Religion, Western Civilisation | No Comments

  I have always found anti-Semitism perplexing. I associate Jewishness with a religion that doesn’t pester anyone; an intellectual culture that produces a disproportionate number of Nobel Laureates, comedians, musicians, philosophers, economists, novelists and philanthropists; and, perhaps not least, an outsider status with which, as an intellectual, I identify. When I was a young man, I knew only one set of anti-Semites: Hungarian immigrants, who had come to Australia after the Second World War and the Communist takeover in Eastern Europe. They were neighbours and members of the Catholic parish in which I grew up. They were fine people in…

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CAPONE OR MALONE? Terrorism and the Uses of Coercive Interrogation

By | Critical Essays, Human Rights | No Comments

  “Muslims everywhere [should] dismember [the Americans’] nation, tear them apart, ruin their economy, provoke their corporations, destroy their embassies, attack their interests, sink their ships…shoot down their planes [and] kill them on land, at sea and in the air. Kill them wherever you find them.” – Omar Abdel Rahman, New York based Islamic cleric (1996)[i]   “By its terms, Geneva applies to conflicts involving ‘High Contracting Parties’, which can only be States. However, the war against terrorism ushers in a new paradigm, one in which groups with broad international reach commit horrific acts against innocent civilians, sometimes with the…

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DEMOCRATISING CHINA: HU, WEN AND HOW

By | China, Critical Essays, Geopolitics, History | No Comments

On the Chinese President’s speech in Canberra “[Gorbachev]’s got it backwards. He opened up the political system without a clue about the economy. The result is chaos. I did it the other way around, starting in agriculture and small businesses, where opening up worked, so now I have a demand for more of what succeeds. [Political opening] will come later and will start small, just as in the economy. You have to be patient but you have to get the sequence right.” Deng Xiaoping to George Shultz, July 1988 “In China today we need to restrict the powers of the state…

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