Senseless In Davos

Where Rhetoric Goes To Die (But Where Bastardry Thrives)

This forum going on in Davos is a bit of a joke. A few days ago Shinzo Abe got up and said his visits to the Yasukuni Shrine was to pray for world peace. If you overlook how disingenuous this is, sure, why not? Except all it did was provoke storm of protests form the governments of China and South Korea who like it or not have made it an industry to complain about the alleged re-militarisation of Japan. And so the Chinese have been on a diplomatic offensive everywhere telling every world newspaper what a threat Japan is to world peace. Which of course taken in a vacuum might look that way but as with Shinzo Abe and his disingenuous-ness, the Chinese are building Aircraft carriers and unilaterally declaring  airzones in their favour.

Let’s be bluntly honest. The Chinese themselves are the biggest threats to world peace full stop, without comparing them to Japan. So if you overlook that glaring fact, then maybe Shinzo Abe’s visit to a war memorial looks provocative. I’m not sure the Chinese sales pitch is working, even in Africa. After all, it’s not like Japan’s been to any kind of conflict, let alone war for nearing on 70years while China’s happily had war action in every decade since World War II ended. The Korean War, the land war with the USSR, The invasion of Vietnam in the 70s not to mention the various oppressive things they are doing to their ethic populations in Tibet, Inner Mongolia, Manchuria and to the Uighurs.

So there’s that. But the clincher might be the fact that for any person complaining about the Yasukuni Shrine housing Class ‘A’ war criminals from the Tokyo Tribunals, nobody can name all the names. They just say, “Class ‘A’ War Criminals” like there’s some universal understanding of what that means. Most of them wouldn’t know who Justice Webb was, nor would they understand what Keenan and Pal had to say after the trial about the Tokyo Trials.

Be that as it may, we’re going to keep hearing about these visits. Here’s the vexing thing. Japanese Prime Ministers since Junichiro Koizumi have eschewed going to the Yasukuni Shrine. That’s dating back to 2006 or so. Since then, the first go around for Shinzo Abe, Yasuo Fukuda, Taro Aso, Yukio Hatoyama, and Naoto Kan, have come and gone without attending the Shrine and you can’t say they got any slack from the Chinese or the South Koreans. It’s been a noisy chorus of complaint regardless. Its not surprising that Shinzo Abe decided he may as well serve himself and his constituency by visiting if there wasn’t going to be any merit in not going. The complaining – for all its pseudo-historic self-righteous legitimisation – is gratuitous.

Tony Abbott – Asshole Representative

By now it is clear that Tony Abbott’s essential style is ‘thrower of artless haymakers’. This week he got up in Davos to try and sheet home the blame of the Australian Government debt to the ALP and threw their record under the bus. It doesn’t matter that it’s not the done thing when you represent your country. It doesn’t stop him from behaving like a prat. It doesn’t matter that his characterisation of that recent history is totally at odds with how the rest of the world understood the GFC or how much they would like to swap their problems for ours. It doesn’t matter that he comes over like a jerk – he’s used to that, he doesn’t even notice any more – and that it subtracts from the sum total of Australia’s credibility for voting him in. That’s right. He really doesn’t care. If he went there as an individual to speak bullshit, that just reflects badly on him. Unfortunately as Prime Minister, his Bullshit speak makes us all look incredibly stupid.

Yet, he’s our man in Davos. The more I think about it, I think our political class has collectively flown into the twilight zone of good sense or simply into a post-modern simulacrum of politics and not real politics at all. Pleaides was threatening to destroy his computer in furious protest at Tony Abbott’s choice of general Cosgrove as the next Governor General, but really Tony Abbott’s just meeting expectations of being the pits. And just as the whole thing reflects badly on Australia, it reflects badly on the Coalition that they think this is their man to lead the nation. So far, he’s a bust.

It was reported Tony Abbott met with Shinzo Abe, and they didn’t discuss whaling as an issue. This upset the Greens back home. After all, how could Tony Abbott not bring up the most symbolic issue that exists between Australia and Japan? Quite easily it seems. Tony Abbot claims they mostly talked about the TPP, trade and security. In the most ironic of ways, it actually makes sense. Why bring up whaling and make thing unpleasant? That being said, I find it incredibly hard to imagine Tony Abbott bringing up a topic that is not close to his heart at all and arguing a robust case on its behalf. Whatever he is, he is not that good a politician.

Dissing Jakarta From Afar

The even more peculiar thing about the Abbott Government so far is how it has mishandled the relationship with Indonesia so badly, to the point where we ought not be surprised should a shooting engagement erupt on the high seas between our navies.

The worst provocation would have been this business of sending back the asylum seekers in boats. To do this, the Australian Navy had to sail into Indonesian waters without permission. Immigration Minister Scott Morrison fronted the media and claimed that the Australian Navy might have “inadvertently” entered Indonesian waters.  Now, I don’t know about you, but I don’t see how that makes our navy look good when our Immigration Minister uses being lost as an excuse for being somewhere where they probably should not have been.

Jakarta’s in a huff and they’re buying more military hardware. They’re buying F-16s fro America and 8 submarines from Russia. All because we provoked them with our navy, unilaterally sending back asylum seekers in boats; and in turn, this was because this government came to power on the stupid slogan “stop the boats” so they had to be seen to be doing it (otherwise they would be seen  to have broken a promise).

If you thought Shinzo Abe was a bit of a dummy incurring the complaints from China and South Korea for having visited the Yasukuni Shrine, he’s got nothing on Tony Abbott.

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