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Sunday, 5 February 2017

The Unpalatable Truth About Trump, Turnbull and Phonegate

Above, Trump as Snoopy; below, Turnbull as a child with a Mercedes.
I admit to feeling touched the other day when this comment from an anonymous American was posted on my blog: "Speaking as an American, I want to personally apologize for the recent behavior of our _sshole President. I didn't vote for him, but I probably didn't do enough to stop him either. Frankly, few of us believed there were enough idiots among us to elect him. Anyway. He was rude to YOUR President [actually, Malcolm Turnbull is our Prime Minister, we're not yet a republic, unfortunately] and I apologize sincerely. We'll do away with him as soon as possible, I am certain."
However, for all that, I must 'fess up, as much as it hurts, and concede that in this particular instance, Donald Trump is right.
The massive storm in a tiny teacup over Trump’s phone call with Turnbull (in the modern tradition of "journalism", I'll call it "Phonegate") is more likely than not to turn in Turnbull's favour. The truth is, it is letting Australia "off the hook", as it were. It is turning an Australian disgrace into an American one. Instead of being outraged by Trump's remarks, Turnbull is probably laughing all the way to his electorate. Australians are for once feeling sympathetic toward Turnbull, specifically over Phonegate, and are pouring their scorn on to Trump and the US. It should be the other way around. 
Turnbull, and Australia in general, will probably emerge from Phonegate smelling of roses, even at the time when Turnbull’s distinct lack of leadership has had him very much on the nose in this country, and for some considerable time now. The refugee deal that has filled Trump with disdain is Australia’s deed done dirty – it’s Australia’s responsibility, not America’s, to sort it out. For once in his life, Trump is actually in the right.

At the end of his Op-Ed piece “United States to Australia: Get Lost” in The New York Times on Thursday, columnist Roger Cohen summed it up: “For Australia, Trump’s insults should be an incentive to do the right thing. The refugee deal now looks near worthless. Shut down the foul Manus and Nauru operations. Bring these people, who have suffered and been bounced around enough, to Australia. Close this chapter that recalls the darkest moments of Australian history. Cut loose from Trump’s doomsday prejudice …”
Those are the words Australians are electing not to read or hear, and Phonegate is only allowing them to divert their attention from the truth. This is Australia’s problem and Phonegate is letting this country turn it into America’s embarrassment. It’s Australia’s disgrace and Trump’s cheap shots at Turnbull must not be seen to change that fact.


Bill M said...

I'm waiting for the second half of the professor's prediction to come true. Part 1 Professor Lichtman predicted Trump would win. Part 2 Professor Lichtman also predicted that Trump will be impeached.

Richard P said...

Even a stopped clock is right twice a day.