Thank heavens for the FPA! Our very own Force Posture Agreement…

Mar 12, 2023
Relations between two countries. USA and Australia flags.

Just what’s needed to get me standing up straight, proud and strong! A session with a kindly chiropractor.

Not much actual force is needed. He’ll just firmly manipulate my spine and make things right. Posture corrected. Out with that clumsy walking-stick!

But what’s this? Is something wrong? Why is John Menadue urging our government to repudiate the Force Posture Agreement? And presumably the EFPI: Expanded Force Posture Initiatives as well. Could those words, so clearly medical, chiropractic, have another meaning? More obscure? Even…sinister?

One can only admire the skill of the wily wordsmiths, both Yankee and Aussie, who came up with such a subtle title for their project. How long did they pore over the Macquarie Thesaurus before alighting on those delightfully obscure, soothing words? Wonderfully anodine; full of vague, analgesic balm. The words only reveal their sly intent to obfuscate if you consciously grab them; interrogate them; squeeze the juice out of them. Force  Posture  Initiatives.

How many Australians are actually aware of the management-speak term “Force Posture Agreement”? A teensy bit clever and smarmy, eh? How many times have we heard it from news-readers’ lips, yet failed to “hear” it? Does it slip in one ear and out the other? Probably never even in

Yet within the murky shadows of those waffly weasel-words lurk possible future horrors for us all. Obedient and deeply unwise forelock-tugging to the US military in whatever force posture initiative they may choose? With Australian rights to object or intervene signed away? How about war with China…?

I can’t wait for Don Watson to get his hands on the FPA files. In Worst Words he describes management language as “evasive and dishonest in its essence; abstract, devoid of useful information and concrete information, remote from human reality, filled not with detail but with hogwash.”

Now I can’t resist getting stuck into the expanded initiative myself. No force, mind you…

So how would a current government management-speak expert define, for example, “Doctor”? Why, CIDA, of course: Consultatory Indispositional Dysfunction Authority.

How about the more indelicately explicit “Dan, Dan, the Dunny Man”? Before flush toilets he used to collect the weekly family bin. What else but ERDEOP: Egregious Residual Domestic Evacuation Operative.

And the cheerier-sounding “Santa Claus”? APJCEE, naturally: Annual Participatory Jocosity and Conferment Exchange Enabler.

With the obfuscations hidden behind the cunning FPA title now being brought to light, let’s hope for action. On 17 February 2023 John Menadue sent an open letter to the Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese. 39 prominent Australians signed it. The letter, published in Pearls and Irritations, ends:

Reducing the risk of Australia becoming trapped in an American war in Asia, again, requires the Australian government to give notice now to the United States that it wishes to withdraw from the FPA.

So maybe all will be well. Here’s hoping! And maybe, with the help of that actual spine-manipulating chiropractor, I’ll be rid of this clumsy walking-stick after all…

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