Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Digging Downer's Grave

Bernard Keane at Crikey suggests that "if nothing else can unite the divided citizens of Cyprus, maybe five minutes with Alex will do the trick":
In the end, AWB summed up Downer’s foreign ministership perfectly: the deliberate turning of a blind eye to the bribery by a National Party scam of a tyrant against whom Downer was at that very moment making the case for war, about whose toppling Downer would later boast -- and against whose forces we would shortly send our troops. The wilful failure of accountability and the intellectual dishonesty of Downer’s response upon discovery -- along with that of Howard and Mark Vaile -- turned even the Howard Government cheerleaders at The Australian against him.
Unfortunately, Keane also takes the opportunity to slag off Mark Latham, who openly despised George W. Bush.
Downer and Howard inflicted significant damage on Australians’ perception of our relationship with the US which, had Mark Latham fluked his way to an election victory in 2004, might have been made long-term.
Would that really be a bad thing right now, given that the USA is descending into Fascism and dragging the planet down an environmental and economic black hole?

Downer could receive $100,000-plus a year for the rest of his life when he joins the UN - while leaving taxpayers with a $500,000 by-election bill. That's you and me, folks.

But maybe we should feel more sorry for the poor bastards whose long-running conflict he is supposed to walk in and fix:
"It's a conflict where everybody has to be really careful about the vocabulary used. It's been going on for decades. Actually it started in 1955 and there's a whole Cyprus vocabulary, in fact a fat dictionary of it and people who get it wrong get terribly punished in Cyprus."
No worries, mate. This is a bloke who once said that Islamic fundamentalists were being supported by the "corporatocracy", remember? And he didn't mean it in this sense either.

Here's the view from Al Jazeera:
In an interview with The Australian newspaper on Tuesday, Downer pointed to his experience as a diplomat in some of the world's major hotspots, but admitted that the job of uniting Turkish and Greek Cypriots was "not going to be a cakewalk".

"These things are always untidy. It's never easy to do. We ended the civil war in Bougainville. We played our part in Iraq and Afghanistan. Why not try to fix up Cyprus as well," he was quoted as saying.