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25.11.13

Rage Against The Machine

Just guessing from the hit counts, about half of the audience here doesn't keep up with Southeast Asian politics, but sometimes it's really worth the extra effort.  Take now, for instance.

To get you up to speed, Indonesia "discovered" that Australia was spying on it, recording the President's and First Lady's cell phone calls.  Now, like Germany's response to NSA revelations, I can't believe this is a Really Big Aha! moment.  Due to long-simmering territorial disputes between Jakarta and Canberry, I'm very sure both sides have been keeping tabs on each other for decades.

At any rate, Indonesia threw a hissy-snit over the revelation.  Makes for good theater, ya know.  Indo President Bambang (referred to indelicately in Oz press as BangBang), immediately demanded an apology and cease-and-desist.  When they weren't forthcoming, the Prez began ordering Ozzies expelled and firmly suggested that all Indo citizen in Oz return home - including scads of students, domestic help and tourists.

The fear of losing his maid apparently spurred Oz PM Abbott to mumble a couple of vaguely conciliatory words, which served to exacerbate the problem.

Prez Bambang then began recalling diplomatic staff and gearing up to expel Oz tourists and businesses here in Indonesia.

Abbott almost sat up at that point, fearing not only the loss of his domestic help, but the cancellation of his Bali vacation, as well.  He made noises that some interpreted as sounding like, "I'll draft up an apology and get back to you."

Well, that wasn't good enough, so Bambang stopped detaining refugee boats that lay over on their way to Oz.  This caused an immediate 4% jump in illegal immigration down south of here.

Well, Abbott nearly stopped eating at that point.

Which brings us up to events over this past weekend.  Looks like someone got up a rent-a-mob in Jakarta and they trotted down to the Oz consulate there and promptly burned...wait for it...an American flag.

Now this is either a gaff on the part of the rent-a-mob organizers, or a very profound statement about Oz's position as avatar to the Anglo-sphere in SEAsia.  Given that a great number of Indonesians can't deal in deep abstracts such as irony, sarcasm and metaphor, one assumes it was a gaff.  But, still...

There is little doubt that Oz acts as lap-dog to London and Washington, and as such, would be deeply involved in espionage here in SEAsia.  After all, they've got that great listening station at Canberra that was built with NASA money back at the dawn of the space age.  There's little doubt that Oz shares anything they happen to catch with those ears with the NSA - which is catching heat of late for, yup, spying on friends and family.

The Anglo-sphere continues to be shunned by the rest of the world, which has become emboldened by the weakening dollar and the ongoing disgrace known as Barrack Obama.  Ignorance, indifference and just plain arrogance on the part of London and Washington in their head-long race to global domination (or is it oblivion) is alienating the world.  Emerging powers in Asia, Africa and South America are no long content to wait for crumbs to fall from the Anglo-sphere table.  Their growing power and burgeoning middle-classes, plus the omnipresent decline of Western hegemony and financial might.

The Western powers are so corrupt and disconnected from the world that are both unwilling and incapable of seeing the current trends.  Instead of fostering more amenable ties to these emerging powers, they have chosen instead to take square aim at their own feet and blast away with heavy munitions.

As with Germany in WW2, and other examples, eventually the rest of the world tires of being shat on and begins pecking at every sign of weakness until all out war ensues.  If the Anglo-sphere continues to be hauty and dismissive, as Abbott has been, then Indonesia and other long-suffering nations of the world will consider flexing their new muscles to get things done.

It's not a very good time to be the neighborhood bully.