Tony Abbott: only good at sledging

Speaking at an afternoon tea for the teams at Kirribilli House in Sydney on Thursday, Prime Minister Tony Abbott told the assembled cricketers:

“I couldn’t bat, I couldn’t bowl, I couldn’t field, but I could sledge, and I think I held my place in the team on this basis.”

And doesn’t that sum up his political career.  His relentlessly sledging of the unpopular Gillard government won the Liberals government. But once in power, not being  able to bat or bowl has proved to be a huge disadvantage for the captain of Team Australia.

Tony Abbott and the two test captains. "All I could do was  sledge and now I'm Prime Minister."
Tony Abbott and the two test captains. “All I could do was sledge and now I’m Prime Minister.”

There was a thoughtful article in The Age by former diplomat Bruce Grant entitled  Leaders must choose the right mindset for 21st century Asia Pacific.

In this article, Grant draws comparison between Abbott, who he terms a warrior, and Obama, who he terms an intellectual. Abbott’s problem, according to Grant, is that he is always spoiling for a fight and his first response to national and international matters is invariably aggressive.

The main thrust of Grant’s article is a discussion of the way in which Obama has endeavoured to prepare America for  changes to global  role in the light of the rise of China.  In particular, Grant discusses the need for an “intellectual” approach to  International politics in the Asia-Pacific citing Henry Kissinger in his book On China.

Kissinger discusses confidence-building measures and shared development in a Pacific community similar to the Atlantic community between Europe and the US, as a way of avoiding conflict between China and the US. “It would enable other major countries such as Japan, Indonesia, Vietnam, India and Australia to participate in the construction of a system perceived as joint rather than polarised between Chinese and American blocs.

Henry Kissinger: still good at 92
Henry Kissinger: still good at 92

And this is a long way from shirtfront diplomacy.

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