Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Certainty affirmed

“I don’t know about my future but I am certainly the Foreign Minister.”

Australians all will breathe a sigh of relief at this affirmation that Mr Downer is keeping his eye on the ball for Australia.

“We are only focusing on winning the election. That is all we are thinking about at this stage and that is a big job.”

Our taxes at work. But still, Mr Downer has his finger on the pulse of Australia’s national interest on the world stage; for instance, with regard to General/President Musharraf’s experiments with Pakistan’s democracy...

“Well, he’s certainly, by certain standards, well he’s certainly by some standards a dictator.”

Well, Mr Downer is certainly on the right track there, the right track, certainly. Of course, as with Soeharto, the unequivocal denunciations will come after the General has gone on his merry way.

According to Prime Minister John Howard, Soeharto’s Indonesia was “not a democracy in the sense we understand it.”

After the fall of Soeharto, of course, it suddenly became safe for the Howard Government to describe that particular strong man as “a dictator”.

In the case of Musharraf, the diplomatic niceties are nominally in the service of Australia’s national interest in the ‘war on terror’.

In Soeharto’s case, it was all about the war on communism... No wait, Domino Theory was pre-1990, so in the Howard Era it must have been about keeping our strong-but-unstable-neighbour-to-the-north on side, in a ‘constructive engagement’ that mutually benefited both Australian commerce and, in a round-about, trickle-down sort of way, the Indonesian people.

Well anyway, the certainty is that a pretext will always be found to selectively coddle ‘our’ preferred sons’a’bitches.

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Blogger Father Park said...

As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be. World without democracy, Amen.

Musharraff's only redeeming feature ,as things currently stand, is that he hasn't started bumping annoying individuals off. Just "house arresting" them or deporting them.

He has not ever been interested in democracy in Pakistan and any portrayal of such a notion by our government was only to soothe our sensibilities. To turn a blind eye.

It amazes me - as you'd note from my black beer-filled rant that is the thread below - that the world sat by and watched him wrist tap his scientist, Khan, for selling atomic weaponry plans and technology abroad.

Imagine had Iran done this. Imagine had Iraq done this.

The bloke is a dictator full stop. That we have coddled him serves only to highlight our penchant for self-interested hypocrisy.

When he is gone, we will find others.

On other matters, I find it particularly galling that our minister for Who Comes Here and How They Come Here...or Leave Here, Andrews, seemingly turns blind eyes upon critical emails detailing his department's plans should Haneef be granted bail. The information at the time strongly suggested a "stitch-up" and this information simply confirms it.

We had a government quite prepared to throw millions at an enquiry into Union "slush funds" but quite unperturbed at this politicisation and perversion of our so-called "Anti-terror" laws.

No need for any inquiry into the traducing of these laws and any notion of fair and proper "due process".

7/11/07 11:24 AM  
Blogger Caz said...

Oooooh, I don't know.

I think Rudd's effort on the news tonight was better than Downer's limp ".. I am certainly the Foreign Minister".

Rudd was asked how big a price he expected his family to pay for his personal ambitions (with his wife having to sell her local business, 'though not the international arm, and now his brother having to sell his livelihood, because it might create a a "conflict of interest" for Rudd PM).

He rattled off that he respected his brother enormously, followed with: "I've known him all my life".

*Rolls eyes to the heavens*

BTW - no, he didn't get around to answering the question about how much his family members were going to have to sacrifice.

Still, most reassuring to know that Rudd has known his own family members all his life. Bet his brother was most comforted too.


Seriously: our response should be ... what?

No other country in the world has "responded".

They're all sitting around being jittery, waiting for the other shoe to drop.

Our tax payers money at work?

Well, yeah: I'd be pretty concerned if Downer or any other current minister hopped on a jet in the middle of an election to go and chat to a President of some other country.

I'd be equally concerned if we "did" something about Pakistan right this moment, or this week.

Soeharto and Musharraf / Pakistan aren't comparable situations, other than the dictatorship part.

7/11/07 7:13 PM  
Blogger Caz said...

You'll also find that the US is already grumbling internally that they have mishandled Pakistan, that is, given them too much rope, in the name of the "war on terror".

That argument is already being seen for what it is, so it'll go bust in Oz too.

It's not as though our dealings are anything more than marginal, and an echo of the US.

Well, other than selling them some planes 20 years ago. But, really, if having a crystal ball was a prerequisite, no country would ever sell any other country anything.

7/11/07 7:19 PM  
Blogger Jacob A. Stam said...

And he so lervs being the Foreign Minister, almost as much as Mr Howard lervs being the PM.

Hmmm, was Mr Howard ever asked how much he expected his family to pay for his personal ambitions? And if so, did the inquirer get a straight answer?

As to WTF I expect any Oz pollie to do about Musharraf, I guess our Foreign Minister for a start ought to be less "jittery" and equivocal. But then, maybe Alex is saving that stuff for the private phone calls. "Look here, Pervez, you're nothing but a tin-pot dictator, so lift yer game."

But the Father's point is correct, that the reality of dictatorship has been let slide for so long now. And your point is correct, or rather its corollary, that folks in Oz won't give a stuff anyway, until perhaps years down the track when whatever chooks come home to roost.

Certainly, Musharraf & Soeharto aren't comparable situations. However, both led their respective putsch in response to perceived corruption/misgovernance of the previous regime. Both were high-ranking soldiers in militaries that have perhaps an overwheening influence over civilian structures.

But yeah, the main thing is that they are/were both dictators, who moreover enjoy/ed a lot of forbearance from the Free World.

If anyone wants to argue that that's just the way the world is, then fine. All I'm saying is maybe it's not so fine.

Naive perhaps, but I reject in advance any charges of hate-speak from the usual raving loons.

8/11/07 11:34 AM  
Blogger Jacob A. Stam said...

The latest is that Alex has taken time out of his electioneering and defending Mayo, and me-too'ed Mr Bush's call for Musharraf to resign from the army.

Okay, maybe 'me-too' is a bit too judgemental (sick, sick, sick...), since it's necessary that the Free World should speak in one voice, etc.

However, I'm sceptical that Musharraf's resignation from the army would change anything, since the same structures would likely obtain with the same nexi of influence, cronyism, etc.

As for Mrs Bhutto, I just don't trust the lady. All those meetings with Musharraf and his cronies on her return from exile, with a view to 'power-sharing', etc. Would such arrangements be an authentically viable alternative government?

8/11/07 9:45 PM  
Blogger Father Park said...

Mrs Bhutto's fingers are tainted with a similar odour that Musharraf's hands reek of.

8/11/07 10:32 PM  
Blogger Caz said...

If Musharraff resigned as head of the military it would be nothing more than window dressing, is my thought.

Besides, he has resisted all such suggestions in the past, so I don't think cute requests from other countries are going to sway his little black heart.

How many lives lost, merely because Bhutto landed back in the country?

Foreseeable, preventable.

Her apparent compulsion to return, to save the country, strikes me as being driven by personal want, not the good of anyone in Pakistan. We need look no further than her happy countenance at the prospect of sharing power with Musharraff. If there were any purity to her motives, she wouldn't contemplate any such partnership.

No, the folk of Oz don't give a rat's arse, not now, and not after the election.

Can't imagine the ALP will "handle" anything about Pakistan. (Not even sure who there Foreign shadow minister is ... whoever, they'll be Rudd's puppet, I suppose. Rudd will run foreign policy.)

8/11/07 10:51 PM  

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