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Wednesday 21 Feb 2018 | 13:13 | SYDNEY
Wednesday 21 Feb 2018 | 13:13 | SYDNEY

Reader ripostes: Public opinion, scarcity



1 June 2010 10:20

Further below, Chris Skinner contributes to our 'war and globalisation' debate. But first, Scott Burchill comments on yesterday's Lowy Institute Poll launch:

Comment by Stephen Loosley at the launch of 2010 Lowy Poll: As long as bipartisan support for Afghanistan contribution in Canberra, declining popular support for Afghan conflict not an issue.

Comment: The ultimate in elite disdain for public opinion. Who cares what the public wants as long as we can neutralise the issue with a bipartisan consensus at odds with community sentiment. An all too frequent attitude to democracy by policy elites. No wonder the same poll found that 69% of Australian say the government pays too little attention to their views "in comparison to the opinions of foreign policy experts."

Chris Skinner:

I think that Hugh White has added a significant qualification to Michael Wesley’s post but not for the reasons Sam discussed.

For me the most important insight from Hugh was the final line: '...the instincts to competition in the relations between states.' In this profound bottom line he encapsulates the most worrying aspect of all the earlier discussion by both commentators – that of behaviour in the face of scarcity. Whether this is ultimately shortage of water, food or energy, or only of living space, the desire for a sufficient share of these resources has led to conflict in the past and no amount of globalization will prevent conflict over these same issues in the future.

The much discussed 'peak oil' may be postponed by other fuels and energy sources, but there is no certainty to any long term sufficiency for any projected world population, and hence there will most likely be conflict in some places at some time or other. Not necessarily great powers such as USA and China, but if they aspire to act to keep the peace then they will inevitably be drawn in to whatever conflict erupts.

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