War becomes the twin of communication: the development of media has not only changed how warfare is reported, but also how it’s fought. The working rule of the warriors is to spread strategic information and disinformation at every instant. And media workers are culpable too, for abusing the genre of breaking news reporting to magnetise audiences and advertisers, doing it at a great symbolic cost.
is Professor of Politics at the University of Sydney and Forschungsprofessur at the WZB, Berlin. His latest books are The Shortest History of Democracy (Old Street Publishing, 2022) and The New Despotism (Harvard University Press, May 2020).
Talk of a new Cold War between the US and China emphasizes military capacity and economic prowess. Warrior discourse presents a mono-dimensional situation in which conflict is inevitable. But couldn’t China’s stratospheric rise be better understood and handled by looking at the cultural complexities behind its advances?
Australia’s recent bushfires are the country’s ‘most serious environmental disaster since colonization’. John Keane considers this megadisaster the product of democracy failure, rather than natural forces, which raises questions about political culpability, economic impacts, deep environmental damage and cultural accountability.
Sensationalism has focused on fistfights over toilet rolls, but the real story is the withdrawal of democratic oversight, and how little public resistance there is to the declaration of martial law. Power granted is power conceded; and power relinquished is power reclaimed with difficulty.