Abbott on MH17: Another Aus Suicide Bomber; Sheridan Questions Western Govts; Libya’s Arab Spring

MH17 and Security

Abbott is right to (apparently) take the lead internationally in expressing anger publicly about the missiling of this plane and its occupants (now 36 Australians dead), about the critical Russian news service response and about the apparent rejection of any responsibility by the Russians. It even stirred Obama to phone and express his support. Whether anything would be gained  from Australia isolating Putin from the G20 meeting or from western countries generally to try to isolate him from any other international meeting seems doubtful, however. Better perhaps to allow Putin and Russia generally to be exposed to public criticism and sanctions which have adverse economic effects.

One hopes that Abbott’s anger might also be extended to the Islamic extremism that has now led to the second Australian suicide bomber. The announcement that security laws will be significantly upgraded is important but  a more extensive critique is needed.

Western Values

Greg Sheridan has rightly expressed concern about the increased questioning of democratic governments and the part being played  by modern governments in that. One of the problems is that the original idea behind the push for democracies was to give individuals more choice and ability to run their own lives. But in numerous cases governments have simply become more powerful or have claimed to be a “democracy” but have retained extensive autocratic behaviour. As Sheridan suggests, the solution is to reduce the role of governments.

Libya’s Arab Spring

The call for help by the official Libyan government (supposedly a democracy) raises the question of whether democracies of the autocratic type actually “work” in Middle East countries and whether Western countries should promote them. The recent experience of Egypt suggests a more pragmatic approach may be best.