I've been a little surprised at the abject fawning over Abbott's posturing re. the Islamic State and, to a lesser extent, Russia. It's like the entire press gallery has decided to drop pants and bend over. There might well be sound strategic reasons for participating in a limited military strike against IS. There might even be reasons for going further than that. But neither Abbott, nor Shorten for matter, have put them. Instead we get pompous fucking bloviating and the blackguarding of anyone who demurs.
©Glen Le Lievre
The world is horror and madness. So why is the horror and madness of the Islamic State our concern? Consider their fanboy coreligionists in Nigeria, Boko Haram, infamous kidnappers/slave traders of 300 school girls. These murderous clowns look good for the sort of stern correction that can only be delivered by a squadron of heavily armed F/A-18F Super Hornets. Not content with knocking Justin Bieber out of Twitter's trending topics for a day with that kidnapping caper, Boko Haram declared their own Caliphate in northern Nigeria in late August, pronounced themselves best friends forever with the Islamic State, and celebrated with the usual round of mass executions, including the reported beheading of a six-year-old boy.
Not a grown man who took a professional risk and paid a grim toll for it. A little boy.
Horror enough, you would think, to justify a tiny bit of bombing. Just a little touch of special forces magic in the night, perhaps? After all, the only thing necessary for evil to triumph is that good men and women be distracted long enough by celebrity nude photo leaks that evil has plenty of time to get its mojo on.
I've only seen two other 'major' ctritiques of the so-called Abbott Doctrine. One, a cartoon by First Dog yesterday.
And the other, a deft bit of media analysis by Peter Brent, but not at the Oz, where he writes the Mumble column. Instead he had to go to Inside Story.
Something unedifying possesses the Australian media when its gaze moves to this country’s place in the world. The national trait of wanting to see Australia “punching above its weight” overrides sober analysis. The elaborate protocols of international interaction are interpreted at face value and invested with earnest meaning. Journalists accompanying our leader overseas gush as the PM interacts, on equal terms, with this or that famous identity...
The prime minister’s comparison of the Islamic State to communism and Nazism this week – and hence the reason to “respond with extreme force” – was touching on bizarre. And those insisting Abbott is earning plaudits around the world don’t seem to have checked whether the rest of the world is actually aware of this.
Away from the mainstream commentariat, in the strategic policy community, the tone seems to be bafflement. Power realists (who are a lot more realistic about the limitis of military power) are shaking their heads.
But you'd think the entire country is happy to skip off to Iraq again with Abbott if all you read was the oped pages.