Anyone who thought Trump was going to feel obliged to honor Obama’s ludicrous deal to take 1250 boat people from Australia had rocks in their head. With that in mind let me categorically state that Malcolm Turnbull the Australian prime minister has a rock in his head the size of the really big one that sits in the middle of the country and has a tourist site around it. Perhaps we could organize a tourist site around Turnbull’s head. We could charge money for admission, after all there’s a lot of space in there.
These boat people are the last of a bad bunch. The dregs of the dregs. Nobody wants them and we’ve had them cooling their heels on some offshore island shithole in the hope that they’d eventually get fed up and trudge back to their countries of origin. Fat chance of that happening.
But our self proclaimed “master negotiator” of a prime minister thought he saw a chance to bundle them all up in a nice ribbon in the final weeks of the Obama presidency. Obama said, sure, send them our way. What do I care? I’m off to Magnum PI’s house in Hawaii. So the deal was signed and what did Turnbull do?
Nothing. He sat on his hands while crowing about how brilliant he had been. And all the time the clock was ticking. It was ticking down to the moment when Trump would assume the presidency. Did Turnbull get all 1250 boat people on non-stop flights to the US? Nope. Not one of them. Perhaps Turnbull was under the impression that all leaders are like him. In other words, they talk the big talk but they don’t actually do anything. After all, doing stuff is nasty and icky. Much better to pontificate and talk grandly about “investing in the nation” and “building the nation of the future” and my personal favorite, “creating the agile and innovative nation.”
Meanwhile Trump had taken office and he was moving. He was moving fast. Inexplicably, he was getting lots and lots of stuff done. Perhaps Turnbull was starting to feel uneasy, but I doubt it. Turnbull has the false confidence of the clinically inept and stupid. Why, he had signed a document! It was all said and done, old boy! Jolly good show!
Inexorably the eye of Trump moved over and gazed upon the hapless figure that leads our nation. He held in his hands the Turnbull-Obama deal. A deal that no president in their right mind would ever sign. Trump picked up the phone and now Turnbull had a chance to prove that he was the great master negotiator after all. Twenty five minutes into the phone call Trump hung up on him and then proceeded to tell the world what he had done. And Turnbull?
The silence is deafening. He does not know what to say. He dithers and dathers. He hopes that all will be right. The power is not in his hands.
I very much doubt that Trump will honor this agreement. He would be spectacularly unwise to do so. The very best that Turnbull can hope for is that the agreement is renegotiated with Australia giving Trump the Sydney Opera House and Harbor Bridge as payment for taking those 1250 “potential Boston bombers,” as Trump calls them. Who can disagree? After all, if we won’t take them why the hell should we expect a nation like the USA to shoulder the risk? Only a moron would think that.
Which is what we’ve got.