[LINK] {OT} Walk against War - sunday in sydney -

Russell Ashdown russell@ashdown.net.au
Wed, 19 Feb 2003 15:07:24 +1000


On 19 Feb 2003 at 12:53, Mark Hughes wrote about:
RE: [LINK] {OT} Walk against War - sunday in sydney -

<snip> 
> 1. Example one.  Suppose there was a dictator in New Zealand with a
> track record of killing via murder or starvation a significant
> proportion - i.e. > 10% - of their population.  Would we in Australia
> say: "its the principle of the thing - we must act to stop the killing
> in New Zealand", or would we say "if the UN says its OK, then we can
> act - but if not, the correct course of action is for us to sit on our
> hands and let the killing continue".
> 
> And your answer is..........?

What makes you pick 10%?  Why not 25%?  Or perhaps 5%?  I am 
interested what your "principals" would tell you to do if only one 
person was murdered in the name of a dictatorial state.

> 
> 2. Example two.  Suppose there was a dictator in Australia with a
> track record of killing via murder and starvation a significant
> proportion - i.e. > 10% - of our population.  Would we in Australia
> say:  "its the principle of the thing - we believe other countries
> must act to stop the killing in Australia", or would we say "its only
> OK for other countries to stop the killing in Australia if the UN says
> so".
> 
> And your answer is..........?

See above.

> 
> Then see if your answers apply equally if you substitute other
> countries for Australia / New Zealand.
> 
> If I answer those questions based on principles, I can do it easily
> and quickly.  I try and do it based on any other method I get stuck in
> a hopeless moral morass.
> 

And your answer is?

<snip> 
> 
> * There's a group of countries that produce most of the world's oil.
> ...These are the Suppliers.
> 
> * There's a group of countries that consume most of the world's oil.
> ...These are the Customers. 
> 
> One of these groups is dependent on oil for their prosperity.
> 
> Now, here's the tip:  It 'aint the Consumers.
> 
Well, I don't think you are right there.  It is the customers.  In 
general, the producers are little more than third world states 
controlled by dictatorships imposed from within the country of from 
without.  The money received for oil rights flows mainly into the 
hands of a very few rich and powerful individuals while the majority 
of the people of these countries live a relatively simple life.

When you claim it is the producers, are you suggesting that the 
dictators will be hurt?  Or are you suggesting the oppressed 
populations will be hurt?  Either way, the customers will be hurt the 
most.  If oil production were to be threatened or restricted, the 
developed world economy as a whole (that's Australia, Britain, the 
USA, Japan and others) would be thrown into chaos.  The US 
economy for one is in a particularly parlous state at the moment, 
and any threat to oil supplies would most certainly cause further 
financial chaos there.

And as a footnote, where do your "principals" place you in a 
situation where a "benevolent dictatorship" is imposed on a country 
by a more powerful country, a'la Iran (the Shah)?

Russell Ashdown