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Be very afraid

Thank you so much for the excellent article ‘The coming war on China’ by John Pilger (NI 498). I read it and my blood ran cold. I was shocked by the map that shows China surrounded by over 400 military bases, four of which are in Australia. Two thoughts immediately came to mind: 1) our proximity to China, our trading partner and potential enemy, and 2) our alliance via ANZUS with the US, which could put all Australians (and New Zealanders too) right in the firing line.

When the subject of nuclear disarmament comes up, the US always insists that other nations must disarm while it continues to cling tightly to a huge arsenal of nuclear weapons. The US has for a long time depended on war to boost its economy. Altogether, many reasons why we should be very afraid. Is it time for Australia and New Zealand to cut their ties with this world bully?

Trevor Scott Castlemaine Australia

What a waste

Add to the US attempt to encircle China to the east and southeast the presence of Russia to the north and northwest and Trump’s unpleasant relationship with Putin, and one can see why China might feel threatened. What a colossal waste of resources, endlessly preparing for war.

Peter Taylor-Gooby Canterbury, England

Pay the toll

The amount of global wealth hidden via tax evasion (NI 498) might be as much as half the global GDP, and accomplished by putting up a brass plate in a tax haven.

These companies are cheating the residents of the countries where they operate in using the infrastructure, paid for out of tax, for free. So why not change the system from one based on profits to one based on the use of infrastructure? This use would include the country’s airports, seaports, roads, railways, energy, drainage management, water supply, pollution management, plus the cost of educating and maintaining the health of the people the company employs in that country, for all these are parts of the infrastructure paid for by income tax.

This, in other words, would be reviving the old toll tax, at one time commonly levied for the use of roads and bridges – the right and privilege to use a facility that has been installed. It might need universal adoption but it would mean that companies could no longer avoid the cost of using the installations paid for by the citizens of the home country.

Franklin Medhurst Stockton-on-Tees, England

Colonial China

By featuring the map of China on the cover of NI 498 to include the disputed Tibetan and the Uighur nations, is NI affirming China’s right to invade, occupy and rule those countries, while dismissing their struggles for independence?

As a colonial power, China is no different from any other empire-building nation.

Paul Elwell-Sutton Haast, New Zealand/Aotearoa

Let’s have it all

No serious basic-income campaigner promotes it as a replacement for public services (NI 497). We don’t need to see basic income as a case of either/or. This line of argument is itself a gift to the Right, who insist that public spending must be strictly limited.

Demanding a basic income is a way of showing support for the redistributive tax-and-spend that also funds our public services. We can and should have it all.

Laura Bannister World Basic Income, Manchester, England