John Menadue. Diplomatic lessons for Canberra.

Aug 9, 2014

In my blog of July 31 ‘Overplaying one’s hand’ I said that there were clear lessons to be learned from the disasters of MH370 and MH17. The lessons are – don’t overplay your hand or overstate your case for domestic political reasons.

Today in the SMH, Paul McGeough, see link below, refers to the failure of megaphone diplomacy over the loss of MH17. He says ‘While Abbott and Bishop opted for megaphone diplomacy against the rebels’ sponsors in Moscow, Malaysian Prime Minister, Najib Razak, quietly made phone calls to the rebel leadership in Donetsk, in which he achieved essential outcomes – the release of the refrigerated train on which the rebels had stored the 200 or more bodies and the handling over to Malaysian officials of the Boeing 777’s black boxes, which are essential for crash investigators.’

Now Tony Abbott is off to the Netherlands to thank the Dutch Prime Minister and  the AFP and other officials. But surely the priority call should be in Kuala Lumpur. It was the Malaysian Prime Minister who helped most of all on what really mattered. Why won’t Tony Abbott accept that? Perhaps he could make amends by dropping in to KL on his way home.

In the same paper on the same day Peter Hartcher said that Abbott’s conduct over MH17 ‘has been impeccable’.Where has he been!

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