70 days in Canberra – gunboat diplomacy

Excerpted from my article  Prime Minister “One-term” Tony sets a blistering pace, about One-term Tony’s achievements in only 70 days.

Sri Lanka: Determined to put Australia into the international spotlight, One-term quickly showed that he’s not afraid to disagree with, well, pretty much everybody.

Canada, India and Mauritius all boycotted the CHOGM meeting in Sri Lanka in protest at Sri Lankan human rights violations and the treatment of Tamil refugees. The U.K. Prime Minister, while attending, called for a United Nations war crimes tribunal following a number of well documented instances of ethnic Tamils being slaughtered by the Sri Lankan army.

One-term Tony registered his disapproval by giving their navy two gunboats.

Announcing the gift, One-term explained “It’s, ahh, only common sense. You don’t need to be a, er, scientist to see that the navy isn’t the same as, um, the army. They have different names, for a start. Furthermore, if we can stop all of the, um, REDACTED FOR, er, OPERATIONAL, um, REASONS leaving Sri Lanka in the first place, we won’t have to REDACTED with Indonesia, or separate REDACTED FOR OPERATIONAL REASONS orphans from guardians. This sinks the problem at the source.”

One-term added “Sometimes in difficult times you have to, er, do difficult things”.

Some commentators interpreted this to be condoning torture by Sri Lanka. However in a joint statement, One-term, Token Bishop, Honest Joe, Incredible Pyne and Scott Free announced “The Prime Minister’s remark has been widely misinterpreted in the context of Sri Lankan war crimes. This is totally fallacious. One-term Tony was referring to the difficult necessity of our lying to the electorate in order to get elected, and in running a campaign demonising refugees fleeing for their lives and appealing to the worst nature of the electorate. We hope this sets the record straight”.

Afterwards, One-term joked off the record with the Press “Actually, the lying wasn’t all that difficult, we trained very hard”.

Indonesia: In only seventy days One-term Tony has landed the diplomatic equivalent of a one-two punch to our relationship with Indonesia.

Ignoring Indonesia’s clear signals about the pre-election “Turn back the REDACTEDs” strategy, once in office One-term and Scott Free immediately set up a series of confrontations with Indonesian naval authorities by trying to force REDACTED full of REDACTED back into Indonesian territorial waters.

Details of these encounters are sketchy in the Australian press, however international coverage has given the contest to Indonesia in the first round on a TKO.

Not content with a single unnecessary, doomed and predictably inflammatory gesture, One-term pressed home his advantage by refusing to provide any apology or appeasement for the “alleged” spying on a large number of prominent Indonesian officials, causing a rapid escalation in tensions, the suspension of most bi-lateral co-operation, and threats to trade.

Very impressive, given that in almost identical circumstances even President Obama couldn’t achieve any of these outcomes with Germany. However almost destroying our relationship with Indonesia was only one part of One-term’s Round 1 international plan.