Balneus

Australian Lefty on Politics, Governance, Science and Info Management

What should we use diplomacy for, Kevin?

Posted by Dave Bath on 2007-10-11


There’s a twist to Rudd’s censure of Robert McClelland I have not yet seen discussed by pundits.  McClelland’s restatement of the policy of universal abolition of the death penalty, long held by the ALP and all civilized peoples, should not really have been news.

Rudd’s reaction, however, prompts me to question what he thinks are the proper domains of diplomacy.

Most of Rudd’s statements on record indicate he considers the issue of capital punishment to be a moral one.

Advocacy on moral issues should be part of normal diplomatic discourse.  Unjust detention, torture, beatings, and even the lack of democratic privileges are common issues used to criticise governments such as North Korea, Zimbabwe, and now Burma, yet these have less moral significance than the taking of lives.

And what is the problem with belligerence between states, or the deaths and injuries from terrorism other than a moral issue?

We should also remember that advocacy is much less intrusive on the rights of other nation states than military action.

Does Rudd think therefore that we should not put pressure on other nations on moral issues?  If his concerns about civilian deaths overseas are only for Australians, then why has he condemned the deaths of US citizens in the World Trade Centre attacks, why should he be worried if North Korea drops a nuclear bomb on South Korea?

Perhaps Rudd is kow-towing to countries that relish judicial murder, notably China and the US.  He, and Australia as a whole, should consider Frank Zappa’s observation that "there’s a big difference between kneeling down and bending over".

Perhaps Rudd believes that the only proper subject of non-violent discourse between nations should be about trade and economic matters, while moral issues should only be used as a pretext when we seek to bypass negotiation and jump straight to military action.

Rudd, a former diplomat, should understand the nature of diplomacy and be able to articulate his vision on what subjects Australia’s diplomats would address if he becomes PM.

Then again, perhaps Rudd is actively seeking the vocal condemnation of the left and the liberal conservatives as a means of increasing his standing among the Howard-loving troglodytes.

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One Response to “What should we use diplomacy for, Kevin?”

  1. Guy said

    Then again, perhaps Rudd is actively seeking the vocal condemnation of the left and the liberal conservatives as a means of increasing his standing among the Howard-loving troglodytes.

    I think you’re probably closest to the mark there. Rudd doesn’t want a debate on whether or not the Bali bombers deserve to die right now – because those on the left of the party will make him and Labor seem out of touch with the old testament morality of (probably) the majority of Australians.

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