TWO tragedies that illustrate for the discerning the state and moral quiddity of Australian foreign policy – and therefore of Australia itself – were in the news last week, actually or by implication. The first was a rapprochement with the Chinese Communist Party that constituted a no-contrition-offered, no-penance-given absolution for a global pandemic that has wiped out an estimated 15 to 30 million people. The second: the life sentences a Dutch court imposed on two Russians and one Ukrainian in absentia for the reckless 2014 downing of a civilian airliner – Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 – that killed all 298 people aboard. The Australian death tolls – for China’s covid-19 missile and for the conventional one loosed in a Ukrainian cornfield (by personnel unknown) – are 15,976 and 38 respectively. Only the latter, however, motivated Tony Abbott to attribute personal blame to a world leader. The “real perpetrator of this atrocity is of course Vladimir Putin,” Mr Abbott asserted (without evidence). Anthony Albanese – all smiles with Xi Jinping at the G20 – and Penny Wong also condemned Putin and repeated Judge Hendrik Steenhuis’ dubious claim that the three men ‘responsible’ for the MH17 disaster were “murderers.” Embarrassingly, two days after the symbolic convictions were handed down, Ukraine killed two people with an exceedingly suspicious missile strike on Poland. Volodymyr Zelenskyy refuses to apologise.
Show pony Steenhuis previously made news in the Anglophone press in 2016 when he enthusiastically convicted Geert Wilders for the fake “crime” of criticising Islam. His media-vain murder finding assumes two things: that the men knowingly shot down a civilian airliner and that the Donbas conflict in which they were fighting was brought on by Moscow. The war was in fact incited by the US State Department orchestrating a coup in 2014 and enabling nazi militia to ethnically cleanse Russians in eastern Ukraine. The American reaction to the Dutch convictions has been low key for obvious reasons. The United States has never apologised for killing the 290 passengers of Iran Air Flight 655 in 1988. The Wyatt Earp responsible – then captain of the USS Vincennes, William C. Rogers – was never prosecuted. Likewise, Mr Abbott and the other Australian prime ministers who co-presided over a failed 20-year “war on terrorism” that killed approximately 365,000 civilians have never admitted culpability or shown the slightest remorse. They and ADF top brass will not be arraigned alongside the Afghanistan combat veterans being framed for “war crimes.”
An old man I was visiting in hospital some years ago had no chance of recovery and only had days to live. He had always been physically robust and was rightly proud of it, despite prolonged – and serious – underlying conditions. He still did the shopping, the driving, the messages and errands, all the bibs and bobs of an octogenarian’s life. “I might have to hand in my driver’s licence,” he told me, now moribund and just a week from the end. It was a poignant fancy but I could see what was being signified by so belated a yielding to the larceny of time. He thought this concession to reality and hitherto respectfully disregarded counsel would make a final, humbler phase of his life more likely. It was a prayerful plea bargain: ‘Alright, God. I’ve been a bit stubborn. Take my licence and I’ll see out my days at home.’ For the past year or so, I’ve been reminded of the old man whenever I’ve heard or read Morrison-cum-Albanese government principals and op-ed Talleyrands declaring it might be time for Australia to surrender its dogeared, misunderstood copy of A Lucky Country and build a nuclearised defence force for an impending war. It’s too late.
No, this doesn’t mean Australia is going to be “lost” any time soon – as the flighty Colonel Blimp of the Hawke years, Kim “Bomber” Beazley, warned it might be at an Advancing AUKUS symposium last week. It does mean Beijing’s imperial designs on the Pacific and Taiwan are not going to wait 45 years for a chastened nation to nuke up. The President of China’s rules are nothing like the 9th Marquis of Queensbury’s. (Though both men enjoyed crushing dandies). The dualities, hypocrisies and sycophancies of Australian defence and foreign policy have never been sillier or more exposed: we provision the most corrupt country in Europe to ‘send a message’ to Beijing about invading an island nation that Prime Minister Albanese haughtily declares isn’t really a nation. We pretend to be on the cusp of acquiring nuclear submarines but denounce and abhor nuclear energy. Our finest and brightest military minds say China is the Third Reich of our time but we want nothing more than to do business with it. We rejoice over the release of Sean Turnell from a Myanmar prison but are indifferent to the prolonged, sick torture of Julian Assange.
Everything, in other words, is back to pre-covid normal. We want US protection and Chinese cash. To the extent that the Prime Minister has revived realpolitik (if that isn’t too lofty a description of Third Fleet cargo-cultism) and turned the page on the Morrison-Dutton government’s over-the-top campaign-mode warmongering, well and good. But enough with the golden laurels, please. As I’m sure Woody Allen would be happy to point out, 80 per cent of diplomatic success is showing up to alliance get-togethers and signing on for more of the same. Contrary to Paul Keating’s antiquated Asia-Pacific provincialism, the more trade and defence linkages we have in ‘our’ region (especially with Japan) and in the northern hemisphere the better. Contrary to Mr Albanese’s critics when he was Opposition Leader, he was never going to become an alliance burner in The Lodge. Two other Keating criticisms of the bi-partisan orthodoxy the PM dutifully professes, however, are absolutely correct: Australia is too obedient to the US and there is no possibility of this country projecting military power on its own against China – ever. We’re wary of Celestials, then, and enchanted by the Great White Fleet. Call me when the longer twentieth century ends.
The point of gearing up is to make us more trouble than it is worth to start something. That’s it.
Agree it is probably too late though.
20 November, 2022 at 5:08 am
The point of gearing up is to make us more trouble than it is worth to start something. That’s it.
And even if it isn’t enough of a deterrent at least we can give them a swift kick in the nuts as we disappear.
But yes, it is probably too late.
Thanks C.L. Superb.
The world we live in, where Putin is evil, monstrous, the new Hitler yet Emperor Xi is the kind and great celestial Daddy who we will all kowtow to.
Oh and as for “Kim “Bomber” Beazley”, is he still Governor of WA? The great republican. My oh my he gets around, Bomber is another case of always “failing up”. But I’ll say this about Labor, they always look after their own, unlike the stupid effing Liberals. Speaking of the stupid effing Liberals, Tony Abbott, I’m reminded of how in September 2013 I had so much hope, hope which was dashed within weeks. It was Abbott and Credlin who laid the tar on the road to which the Liberals remained embedded on for almost nine years, a road of capitulation, spinelessness and cowardice. One good thing, like the Tories in the UK, the Liberals are dead. Abbott should STFU. Pardon my language.
Oh and I digress, speaking of useless cowardly Liberals, this was in The Oz last night…
Vic Libs dump candidate with church links
Matthew Guy has confirmed Upper House Liberal candidate Renee Heath will not be welcome in the Liberal Party room should she be elected.
Members of the Victorian Opposition leader’s team have described the move as the strongest possible, given it is too late to disendorse the controversial candidate.
Mr Guy confirmed to reporters on Saturday that Ms Heath, whose candidature for Eastern Victoria attracted attention from Nine newspapers over her religious affiliations, would not sit in the party room should she be elected.
Contacted by The Australian, members of Mr Guy’s team confirmed the move was not a formal disendorsement, given the state election is just days away.
Mr Guy had taken the “strongest action from the options available”, his team explained.
Ms Heath’s name would be present on the ballot as a Liberal Party member but she, if elected, would “effectively act as an independent”, they said.
Ms Heath’s candidature attracted controversy earlier this month after she was revealed to be an active member and shareholder in a Pentecostal church that preached anti-abortion rhetoric.
Sign at a Liberal Party branch meeting – “No Christians allowed”.
Cassie……….Another reason not to vote for labour lite
Ultimately the tail does not wag the dog. We are dependent upon the US and China for different things. If our population was 100 million we might be able to stand on our own two feet.
Good stuff C.L. but you could probably get a 3, or 4, part series of articles out of your article.
I cannot look upon the latest G20 meeting as anything but 19 nations kowtowing to the celestial Emperor.
It’s a BRICS World now!
Love a good joke. Hardly needs to be pointed out they all as knackered as the West, the 2020’s are about basket cases.
Twelve months ago if someone told me they believed that Ukraine, with the connivance of the US, had downed MH17 I would have considered them batshit crazy. Now?
CL: you bang on about evidence. Yet when you repeat the Putin talking pints justifying his invasion you don’t indicate any evidence at all. No evidence if a coup. No evidence that Ukraine is run by (Jewish) nazis. Nor do you explain why Ukrainians who were presumably oppressed by this combo of capitalist conspiracy and national socialism were so willing to fight fiercely to repel Putin’s storm troopers. Seems to me you are very easily fooled.
“No evidence that Ukraine is run by (Jewish) nazis. “
Where and when has C.L ever said that Ukraine is run by Jewish Nazis? That’s right, never. You’ve inserted “Jewish” in there to peddle your narrative. You really are an offensive moron.
However, there is evidence, lots of evidence, that Ukrainian Nazis are running amok in the east, but facts and evidence have never been your strong point.
So “Yank” you boldly stand up for principles … and the foremost principle is that anyone who says anything you don’t like is “Putin talking points” … did I get that right?
Any little detail I missed … or that sums up your entire argument?
“The war was in fact incited by the US State Department orchestrating a coup in 2014 and enabling nazi militia to ethnically cleanse Russians in eastern Ukraine. “ literal Putin talking points. Literal assertion that Ukraine is a Nazi state.
Well, given the borders were closed to military-aged males and that Mr Zelensky has banned democracy, they don’t have a lot of choice.
Strange that the world’s most admired hero doesn’t want to face another election.
CL: moving the cheese? Neat. But those are even more Putin talking points 🙂
Jewish nazis. Hmm, now I hav heard everything. We just can’t get the antisemites out of the left can we?
Members of the Azov, Tornado, Right Sector and kindred battalions were not Jewish.
Have you heard the one about the Jewish President who voted with the Arab world to investigate Israel last week? How about the Jewish-led nation with a 0% pro-Israel voting record at the UN?
Zelensky is to Judaism what Joe Biden is to Catholicism.
The best and most logical evidence based and principled argument of all time … “Putin talking points”.
You heard it here folks.
More “Putin talking points”.
Video: Ukrainians Shoot 11 Russian POWs in Cold Blood – US Merc Involved
Zelensky is to Judaism what Joe Biden is to Catholicism.
Zelensky: Poland bomber, democracy banner, money launderer, nazi collaborater and war criminal.
*Putin talking points”
The Pol-Pot of the Ukrainian Killing Fields.
It’s truly heartening to see such spirited efforts to defend the pure, peace loving defender of democracy from the evil, oppressive Jewish Pol Pot nazi propaganda. More Putin talking points please!
At least we can rely on you to provide us with a regular supply of the so-called “progressive” leftard talking points.
Which we can readily get from the MSM.
You are boring, try to provide something original.
BJ: I doubt that you can identify any such thing. My differences here are entirely to do with your uninterrupted repetition of Putin propaganda. Sadly this often emanates from the disgusting bilge promoted by folk who have made good money out of divisive, hateful messaging and political hucksterism. Many of us lifelong Republicans believe this us a battle for democracy. Here in Australia it’s just your amusement.
“Many of us lifelong Republicans believe this us a battle for democracy. “
When will you stop lying? You’re not even American.
23 November, 2022 at 3:20 pm
BJ: I doubt that you can identify any such thing. My differences here are entirely to do with your uninterrupted repetition of Putin propaganda.
Remind me, with some examples.
PS, I doubt that “If only they could both lose” really counts as Putin propaganda.
When Yank says “lifelong Republicans”, I suspect that he means “country club Republicans”.
No doubt he supports Liz Cheney, and this is too funny…
Emerson Poll, More Republicans Support Liz Cheney Than Ted Cruz, Nikki Haley or Larry Hogan for 2024 GOP Nomination
November 22, 2022 | Sundance
The Yank would seem to have a point, evidenced somewhat by the reaction.
Still waiting for those links to my “Putin talking points”. Perhaps, given the apparent inability of Yank to provide them, you could try?
Totally cleaned up there wingnutjob.
“Still waiting for those links to my “Putin talking points”. Perhaps, given the apparent inability of Yank to provide them, you could try?”
I’m sure they’re similar, very similar.
In my experience people who happily promote talking points typically play diversionary games that usually involve denial. Much as Trump does as a matter of course.
I’ll take that as an admission that you couldn’t find any Putin “talking points” to cite.
Funny sort of “lifelong Republican” who attacks Trump, but never Biden or the Democrats.
“Funny sort of “lifelong Republican” who attacks Trump, but never Biden or the Democrats.”
Diversionary tactics like constantly making assertions backed by no evidence, logic or truth. Own goal there yank. We all know whose talking points you promote. Even CBS admits the laptop is real now.
Real Republicans want Paul Ryan for President.
Yank, who claims to be a very principled lifelong Republican would no doubt be very familiar that the “latest thing” talking points coming from the Democrat Party and their leftist media outlets is “battle for democracy”.
What they mean by “democracy” is a powerful Washington clique that sees ordinary voters the way Jonathan Gruber described them … stupid and needing the be told what to do.
It’s a fine thing when they can obstruct Trump for four years with neverending investigations based on the liar Steele Dossier and then impeachment based on insubortinates deciding they didn’t personally agree with Trump’s foreign policy and do what they liked dispite him. Finally the ultimate obstruction being their gain-of-function virus shutting the world down.
That’s all fine when they do it … just better not try to stand up against them if they declare themselves the winners.
Of course a real Republican would know that these USA were intended to be governed in a decentralized way, and not ruled with an iron fist and politicized FBI from Washington.