Monday 23 Jul 2018 | 09:57 | SYDNEY
Monday 23 Jul 2018 | 09:57 | SYDNEY

Arms-control metaphor riot


Sam Roggeveen


16 April 2010 09:17

The Interpreter has been kind to the Australian Strategic Policy Institute over the years, So ASPI shouldn't feel too bad if I pile on with some criticism of Carl Ungerer's recent piece for ABC Unleashed about nuclear arms control.

I say 'pile on' because commenters at Unleashed have already spotted a factual error, with Ungerer referring to Iran as a non-member of the NPT. Sloppy, sure, but it happens, and Ungerer has acknowledged the mistake.

There might actually be a respectable argument in Ungerer's piece, if we could only find it among the succession of stale metaphors. It begins when we learn that the 'tectonic plates' of nuclear arms control have shifted. Ungerer goes on to say that a fissile material treaty is a 'key' to the nonproliferation 'puzzle' (don't puzzles have pieces?).

Next, we learn about several 'hurdles' which need to be 'crossed', though they very soon become 'stumbling blocks' before turning into hurdles again. And in amongst it all, there are the 'winds of political change - slight breezes can still cause an instant chill.'

So true. In fact, I think I just felt a shiver down my spine.

Photo by Flickr user Gilmoth, used under a Creative Commons license.