The French president was in Sydney recently, fresh from his triumph in Washington DC. He was in town for talks and, by all accounts, his signature. Any number of bilateral agreements were made legal.
Just to remind you, this is the French president, the figurehead of the country that the English fought wars with for centuries. Only in modern times have they become best buddies, at least officially.
Only “this is Australia, not England”, you say.
True. But an Australia still run by the remnants of the British, the white heritage dudes who, whilst nodding to the multicultural attributes of the people, keep reminding everyone of the empire and those who died to defend it. The very same empire that colonised and suppressed so many peoples for so long.
And what was the President to say, in French of course, to his Australian host Prime Minister Turnbull. My translation from his speech outside Kirribilli House on a gloriously sunny autumn day with the harbour shimmering in the background was something like…
“We love you bro, and your missus.
We are well chuffed to sign just about anything you like if it makes you feel good.
After all we are miles away up there in the real world and you are far away down here and for some reason you were gullible enough to buy a bunch of our submarines at great expense.
Thanks mate, good on ya.”
Now I am sure that underneath my cynicism there are more conventional messages.
For example, it is always good to be friendly towards foreign powers whether they speak French or not. Bullying or annoying them is obviously detrimental to any current or future bonhomie.
Chatting pleasantly to the French president helps realise the opportunity for really good deals with a European Union just as they are about to look closely at trade agreements once the British exit. Pleasantries might even secure the odd bilateral with France.
The French are good at high tech industry and Australia has thought it might like to try that too, so cozying up to a player in that game has any number of benefits. Defense materiel, si vous plait.
The more mates you have, the easier it is to keep the bad guys at bay and off your internet allowing you to be the main social media influence. Although one has to think that cyber crime and indeed, cyber warfare, are the arenas of the future.
All up, keep the boys club alive and all will be well.
It will not. We need better than this. We need discussion and agreements about refugees, food security, universal income, changing the workforce, technology to keep people alive rather than kill them, and a host of solutions to keeping multitudes of affluent people happy and off the streets.
A couple of would be chums buying and selling arms is not the answer.