Friday, November 08, 2002

GAWD! There’s more recommendations for a more recumbent foreign policy, this time from Geoff Kitney, again in the Herald.

His point? We need to do more to repair the relationship with Indonesia. Who should do it?
it won't be the gung-ho gang of commentators who believe that the best way for Australia to respond to Bali is to thump our chests about our superior social and political culture

Yes. Whatever you do, don’t point out that we are free, secular and democratic, while they are corrupt, theocratic and oppressive.
It won't be those who believe the only course for Australia is to make all other strategic interests subservient to joining the war on terrorism by sending the troops wherever the United States wants us to send them and cracking down ruthlessly on anyone who might have had even the most tenuous connections with Islamic extremists.

Heaven forbid! We could create another Afghanistan, routing terrorists and increasing democracy and freedom. Kitney hereby promises never to question any failure of intelligence gathering, as that might have resulted in “ruthless crackdowns”.
It won't be those who see these issues only in terms of domestic political opportunity, for point-scoring and playing to the dark side of Australia's sense of insecurity and fear

Ummm … like, journalists?
Leadership on these vital questions will come from those who recognise the reality of our place in the world and how dependent our security is on improving our relations with our South-East Asian neighbours, and with Indonesia in particular.

And what do these Leaders need to recognise? Rooooooot Caaaaauuuuuses.
It will come from those who recognise that the Bali bombings were not just a wake-up call about the reality of a terrorist threat on our doorstep, but about the issues behind it.


So what is the solution? What can Australia do to improve the situation? Our citizens killed, our domestic policies criticised. What's our move?
John Howard must be prepared to invest a significant amount of his domestic political capital in this task, starting with going to Jakarta and trying to personally counter some of the negative sentiment towards Australia.

“Thanks for receiving me, Madame President. I would like to start out by apologising and offering compensation for our citizens provoking last month’s bombing by their insensitive drinking, dancing and hard currency distribution. While the funds are being transferred to your Liechtenstein account, perhaps I can interest you in an omelette? I make it with three kinds of cheese!”

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