Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Mr. Abbott Could Teach Creationism to Australian Children and Mr. Abe Wouldn’t Bat an Eyelash

A friend of mine in Australia emailed me a link to a Nikkei Asian Review article that takes up the Abbott administration’s intention to “adopt a review of the school curriculum that will severely cut back content about Asia and explicitly celebrate what it calls the nation's ‘Judeo-Christian heritage, values and beliefs’” and wondered what that might do the Abe-Abbott bromance. I wonder what Gough Whitlam would say if he were alive today. Anyway, I’m posting my response lightly edited here, since it might be of interest to anyone else in Australia that reads my blog.

Not much. Neither Putin's increasing tightness with the Russian Orthodox Church and tacit acceptance of ethnic intolerance and anti-semitism nor Erdogan's increasingly authoritarian rule under Islamist influence has stood in the way of Abe's dalliance with these two strongmen (not to mention Modi and his (what I believe is overplayed) Hindu nationalist background). No big deal. Hey, if Abbott doesn't care if Abe goes to Yasukuni, why should Abe care about Abbot teaching Australian schoolchildren that same-sex marriages are an abomination?

What Abe should not do is to get too infatuated with the Australian policy swing from Redd/Gillard to Abbott. The important thing for him is to keep an eye on what has been constant in Australian foreign and regional security policy and to make sure to nail down any gains that have been made (from Abe's perspective) so that they will survive a pro-China regime change, possibly from the Labor Party returning to power*.

* For starters, I would do my best to ensure that the submarine deal is done and well on its way by way of implementation by the time Australia’s next general election rolls around.

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