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Saturday 19 Aug 2017 | 04:36 | SYDNEY
Saturday 19 Aug 2017 | 04:36 | SYDNEY

Reader ripostes: Hollywood and middle powerdom

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2 May 2012 10:51

Below, Markus Pfister, but first, Pete Speer responds to Sam Roggeveen's 'The new economics of Hollywood':

In the original Ian Fleming books, James Bond was capering against the USSR and its intelligence agencies. In the movies, it was different. The villains without exception were part of an international non-governmental  entity or Russian rogues working on their own and not in the employ of Russia.

Why?  Albert Saltzman and 'Cubby' Broccoli figured out there was a huge market inside the Iron Curtain if distribution could be effective there. SMERSH became SPECTER, etc. The assassin who killed Bond with a supposedly incurable poison on a spring knife in the toe of her boot in the first Bond film ('From Russia With Love') was a Soviet agent in the book. Not in the movie.

BTW, how fortunate for Bond that in the same hotel in which he was kick-stabbed there was a convention of snake poison chemical biologists, one of whom was announcing a cure for this particular venom and had a vial of it available for show (this is how the next book opens). How extra fortunate for Saltzman and Broccoli.

Markus Pfister on the 'Military numbers game' debate:

How much is actually enough? What are we trying to achieve? What is a middle power again?

Our strategy seems to be to keep the Americans in Asia and keep them sweet on us. I propose that it is not enough for us to rely on their gratitude for our past helpfulness (go ask the Melians or the Plateans); that we need sufficient power to be able to force their hand, in the way that Israel can; and that this is what middle-power status means.

What might that mean? Just to get the juices flowing: in our case, perhaps it means the ability to stop traffic in the South China sea, or (better) the ability to provoke someone into doing so. What would that take?

Good news too on the Pacific worker scheme, by the way. Cheaper than a military occupation, and will do more to counter Chinese shenanigans in the Pacific than anything we've done till now, apart perhaps from a Pacific Island Regiment.

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