Seems the hardline undercurrents in Indonesia haven’t taken kindly to the [revelations that the Australians (certainly at the behest of the U.S.) have been eves dropping on the Indonesian government](http://www.perthnow.com.au/travel/travel-news/indonesian-protesters-call-for-war-with-australia-over-phonetapping-scandal-as-aussies-warned-of-danger/
story-fnjjv9zm-1226765550193); in particular their president, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (a.k.a. “SBY”) and the First Lady of this most populous moslem country in the world. Tensions haven’t been assuaged - rather, agitated - by the conservative prime minister elect of Australia, Tony Abbott - a self confessed devout Catholic, touted misogynist (made infamous by the Australia’s ex prime minister, Julia Gillard’s scathing parliamentary diatribe) and resolute homophobe panderer (his sister is gay) - by his / his government’s refusal to offer a token apology, á la president Obama to Germany’s chancellor Merkel, for the intrusions made by Australia’s spy arm, ASIO.
As a result, Indonesia have ceased (all?) military coöperation, in particular with respect to the political football du jour, the so-called refugee “boat people”, and suspended other diplomatic talks until the seeming malaise is resolved.
What makes these relatively trivial concerns - which could otherwise be dismissed as a pro forma regional reaction to the Edward Snowden intelligence leaks - more intriguing, is that when one takes a closer look at the aggrieved party’s c.v., it doesn’t take long to uncovered endemic corruption, existing “Pacasila” paramilitary connections / influences to the current government (the group responsible for the ‘butchering’ of one to three million ethnic Chinese at the height of the mid-60’s communist paranoia) and not-so-dormant fundamentalist Islam stirrings afoot. This, in what’s being touted as one of Asia’s “rising tigers” and one of the world’s top 10 economies in the coming decades. That is to speak nothing of the ‘terrorism buffer’ that good relations with the S.E. Asian nation act as for Australia. And when one considers recent argy-bargy over cattle exports (due to inhumane culling of livestock) and past issues regarding East Timor and the like, there seems some potential for this to ferment into more than mere vote cosseting prior to the looming Indonesian election.
The Act of Killing (‘Jagal’)
Filmmaker fears reprisals for exposé on mass murders
Well, by default, I side with Australia.
I’m honestly surprised that Abbott did not apologise. It seems like the best of both worlds - help mend relations with Indonesia and portray Labor as a bunch of witless fuckups? Where does he sign up?
He ‘signs up’ at the B.A. Santamaria school of hard core Catholicism and neck-beard pandering. Hence the intransigent stance of contrition in-keeping with his insular constituency’s wont and seeming desire to bait terrorist cells just itching for a reason to fly south.
Protesters clash with police in Jakarta
Indonesian protesters call for ‘war with Australia’ over phone-tapping scandal as Aussies warned of danger
Kind of, erhm… karmic (?) that after replacing a polyglot leader known for his penchant for diplomatic dealings and foreign relations, together with a cabinet comprised of 60% females, for an ’ Abbott’, two ‘Bishops’ and a party with only one female front bench member, that the first thing on the government elect’s agenda is to sour relations with the most populous Islamic country in the world.
…Or is that irony?
Well he*'s *also a bit of a self-important cunt, so there is that to consider.
No, it’s the exact opposite of irony : the fully expected :).
I, too, was surprised that Abbott did not move quickly to apologise. The ALP invited him to, so he was not going to get much criticism from that quarter, and in any event the whole affair happened while the ALP was in power, so he can distance himself from it.
More to the point, his ludicrously-named and ludicrously-conceived “Operation Sovereign Borders” in fact illustrates the limits of Australian sovereignty; it cannot work without the goodwill and co-operation of the Indonesian government. Abbott seeks to “turn back the boats” to Indonesia, assuming that Indonesia will admit people who have no right of entry to Indonesia, and whom Indonesia has no obligation to admit. Abbott is, in effect, banking on Indonesia doing something that he proclaims would be an abdication of sovereignty if Australia were to do it. That’s obviously a risky strategy, and Abbott needs to do all he can to keep the Indonesians onside. Hence, he needs an affront to Indonesian independence and sovereignty right now like he needs a hole in the head.
So why isn’t he apologising?
The only thought that occurs to me is that we’ve only seen the tip of the iceberg, as far as Snowden-sourced revelations go. It may be that a great deal more material embarrassing to Australia has yet to emerge, and that if Abbott apologises for this, he sets a precedent which will make it difficult to avoid an endless string of apologies. And he will be badly positioned with respect to those nations which choose not to accept an apology, and insist on something more concrete. Plus, domestically, this would damage the butch and hairy-chested image that he likes to promote, and would play badly with a “little Australia” constituency whose support he would like to have.
The U.S. weren’t. In fact, in an interview today on the Asia-Pacific Focus current affairs program¹ with, Kurt Campbell, the former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, said that the approach by the Abbott government was correct and exactly how they should have responded. That the comparisons made with the Obama apology to Merkel were not analogous because the U.S.'s relationship with Germany isn’t the same as that of Australia’s with Indonesia (offering the U.S.-Russo relationship as a more applicable measure).
There was also an interview with the former intelligence chief of Indonesia who, as he did in 2004, said that spying was par for the course when it came to intelligence and that if intelligence agencies did not spy, we would be asking what we were giving them our tax dollars for. He also made it clear that the concerns of the Indonesians stemmed from political ranks / motivations and not military or intelligence sectors―who are well cognisant of how the international espionage game works.
The overarching theme, however, was that if anyone should be apologising, it’s the U.S… For it’s at their behest the Australians would have been conducting a large portion of these taps and it’s their Edward Snowden that leaked the information. Something I tend to agree with. Albeit with the qualification that the stubborn conservatism of Abbott to not proffer a token ‘sorry’ has potentially more negative offshoots than any political ceding contrition might have entailed; and thus pragmatism should have prevailed over pig-headed patriotism. Lamentably, diplomacy isn’t this so-called “Jakarta over Geneva” promulgating government’s strong suit. :rolleyes:
¹May not be viewable outside of the Oceania region, so some kind of proxy server might be required to see this program.
Oh, I don’t imagine the Indonesians were in the least bit surprised to find out what was going on. And their concerns about it may be more political than military.
But so what? The fact that a particular behaviour is common doesn’t make it proper or acceptable, and the fact that it it politically offensive rather than militarily offensive doesn’t make it any the less offensive. The Aussies are clearly in the wrong here, and if the Indonesians have any self-respect at all - and they do - they have to make an issue of this.
I take your point that the US-Germany relationship may not be an exact analogue for the Aus-Indon relationship, though I’m not convinced that the US-Russia relationship is a better analogue. But why look for analogues? We can look at the realities of the Aus-Indon relationship itself. Abbott has just been elected on a platform of promising to pressurise the Indonesian government to do things that Abbot has said publicly he would consider a national humiliation, were Australia to do them. That was always going to put him in a pretty delicate position with the Indonesian government, and he really, really needs them not to torpedo his idiotic policy too publicly. And now this blows up, and the Indonesians find themselves in a position where they have to make a stand on their national honour. Frankly, a demand for an apology is a pretty moderate one in the circumstances. If Abbott had half a brain cell, he’d fall over himself in his rush to offer a fulsome apology. But he doesn’t.
So either (a) Abbott is every bit as stupid as he presents himself, and more, or (b) Abbot knows something that we don’t about the downside that may result from an apology.
That, and on cutting the “carbon tax” (which is actually a misnomered carbon trading scheme), the promise of shoddy Internet infrastructure based on a hybrid optical fibre-copper network AND, most influentially, Labour’s own internal leadership ructions.
But, yeah. This is about more than mere eves dropping. Abbott laid the groundwork for this malaise as soon as he began decreeing refugee boat turn-backs and the cockamany paying of Indonesian people smugglers for their vessels; both without as much as a ‘what say you?’ directed towards the Indonesians themselves.
Well, I think it’s generally the case that in this thread the participants Don’t Like Tony.
It doesn’t follow, though, that Tony is stupid, and in fact I don’t think he is. (His policies may be, but that’s another matter.) And yet his refusal to apologise does look pretty stupid to me.
I realise that there’s a certain constituency out there who would be pretty pissed off if he ever apologised to Indonesia for anything in any circumstances whatsoever, but he can risk pissing that contsituency off. With the eclipse of One Nation, those people have nowhere to go but the Coalition and, however pissed off they may be, their votes will still end up in the Coalition tallies. All other things been equal he would rather not piss them off, of course, but in the present circumstance all other things are not equal. The downside of pissing these people off looks a lot smaller than the downside of pissing the Indonesians off, and having Operation Hairy-Chested Borders exposed as a charade. So this isn’t a convincing explanation, to me, of Tony’s stance on an apology.
Methinks that this is all a bit of sabre rattling, there are elections in Indonesia coming up. But then again as an Aussie I don’t want 247 million pissed off people knocking on my door. You can also see the radicals ready to jump on anything that reminds them that we are a US puppet in a lot of our dealings.
hey sorry we got caught, promise to try harder next time.
The Rhodes Scholarship award would normally support your assertion… but: