Media making up a problem nothing new
David Lennon writes: Re. “Alcohol and violence: Fairfax’s shameless campaign of misrepresentation” (yesterday). Your Fairfax story about alcohol and violence took me back a good 40-plus years to my childhood in NZ, where its version of the Truth paper ran a year-long “birch the bashers” campaign to stamp out assaults … er, in a time when assaults were also going down.
Japan v China (and everyone else)
Hiro Sugita writes: Re. “Abbott turning Japanese, China fuming, Bishop stuck in the middle” (yesterday). This is an excellent report. And unfortunately for Tony Abbott, Americas are quickly losing patience with the Japanese government. This remarkable development is all self-made by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, whose revisionist ideology led him to visit Yasukuni War Shrine. This provoked not only strong condemnation from China and South Korea, but also “disappointment” from the USA. The US Embassy initially issued a statement, and then the State Department did the same.
In a sense, Abe performed a miracle by uniting the US, China, South Korea, EU, Russia, Singapore, India, and even a paper like The Australian. And at the same time, the Australian government initiated totally unnecessary confrontation with Indonesia.
I’m sure people in charge of US foreign policy are screaming: “What the bloody hell are two of our allies in the Pacific doing?”
I guess allies like these, the USA doesn’t need any enemies.
Dylan Taylor writes: Tony Abbott was always going to revert to his old “reds under the beds” formula — inherited from his earliest mentor, Bob Santamaria! All that guff about China when he was opposition leader was part of the “don’t frighten the horses” act. Now he is PM he’ll do as he pleases, and it pleases him to join up with the US (hoping, no doubt, for some right-wing Republican after Obama) plus Shinzo Abe in Japan and form a triumvirate in the Pacific against China.
Abbott doesn’t need to pander to the tiny minority of Nats — they were happy to trade with the naughty Communists long before we recognised the Mao regime. And they will scream when the Chinese start squeezing their market share. This development is the dream of a tin pot leader with no qualifications or skill in diplomacy and a memory stuck in the 1950s.
And poor Julie Bishop (always left to carry the can) has neither the clout nor the charm to do anything about it. Her inept efforts to kiss the embarrassed Marty Natalegawa (no one told her that Muslim men only kiss other Muslim men in public!) made one squirm.
Julia Gillard achieved something quite remarkable in our diplomatic relationship with China. Would it not be ironic if Abbott and Julie Bishop manage to muck it up?