IF KEVIN RUDD — on the sham pretext of mock concern over the spiralling situation in Syria — goes to the G20 summit in Russia next week, it deserves to drive the final nail into his government’s coffin; grandstanding by Rudd will achieve nothing, and there is more at stake than his ego-obsessed image.
The problem with a pompous, egomaniacal, self-obsessed and narcissistic cretin is that he or she will typically turn up to the opening of an envelope; when that cretin is Kevin Rudd, there is no limit — or safeguard — on exactly what he might do.
Rudd has for months hankered after attending the G20 summit in St Petersburg on 5 September, ostensibly to accept the rotating presidency of the forum on Australia’s behalf: a jaunt he indicated, reluctantly, had been ruled out by the date of the imminent election.
However, word is circulating — in the aftermath of the Syrian regime’s use of chemical weapons on its citizens, and ahead of what seems a likely retaliatory military strike by the United States — that Rudd is again contemplating making the eleventh-hour trip.
And why? To avail the G20 of his particular talents and wisdom in the field of international diplomacy. Seriously.
I simply point out that at some point Rudd has got to either abandon this ridiculous pursuit of slaking of his ego, or have someone — the electorate on 7 September — do it for him.
One of the more fortuitous consequences of Labor’s increasingly likely defeat in nine days’ time is that this lunatic, with his penchant for traipsing around the world making a fool of both himself and this country, will be involuntarily restrained from ever doing so again in the name of the Commonwealth of Australia and/or its citizens.
Which is just as well, because what is going on in Syria at present is no joke.
Far from it.
For the first time in decades, the West (in the classic sense) — the US and its allies, such as the UK, France, and others — appear certain to militarily strike a country with close ties to and a deep alliance with Russia.
It is inarguable that any use of chemical weapons (or any other weapons of mass destruction, for that matter) represents a moral outrage and an absolute expression of human barbarism that cannot and should not go unpunished.
The problem is that Russia is sticking close to the besieged al-Assad regime in Syria; publicly, it denies that any use of chemical weapons has even taken place, and has given every indication thus far that it is prepared to defend its ally.
Ominously, Syria — along with Iran — was nominated by Russian Prime Minister Dimity Medvedev last year, when he was President, as a global flashpoint from which any military conflict could escalate into a nuclear war. We talked about this at the time.
This isn’t kid glove stuff, or a game; it’s real, earnest, and potentially lethal.
If there is any substance to the rumours that Rudd is considering using it as the pretext to attend at G20, I think fundamental questions must be asked of his suitability for office.
I don’t seriously think there is much likelihood of Russia responding to a Western attack on Syria with the use of nuclear weapons, just to be clear on the point.
But it has persistently and consistently warned of unspecified “catastrophic consequences” that would follow any US-led military strike on Syria; and over the past few years generally — and especially since the return of Vladimir Putin to the Kremlin last year — the general tone of Russia’s communications with the West has grown decidedly more bellicose.
It is also well known that relations between Putin and Barack Obama are frosty, to say the least, and have been for some time.
None of this, of course, should dissuade the West from intervening; reliance on the United Nations Security Council — a forum long used by Russia and China to flex their muscles and frustrate the US — for authorisation to act would seem an abject waste of time.
Some would interpret my remark on the UNSC as tantamount to the advocacy of a flagrant disregard for international law, and they are entitled to their view.
But the fact remains that in an increasingly multipolar world, the United Nations has to a large degree passed its use-by date, and any body of “law” that would shield a regime that uses chemical weapons on its own people — if only by virtue of a vote of veto by one of its members, acting in its vested interests — is morally obsolete anyway.
Whether the US launches a strike on Syria or not, and what (if any) retaliatory measures the Russians undertake, will occur irrespective of anything Australia says or does.
Which brings me back to Kevin Rudd.
Anyone whose only possible path to re-election seems to be to lie (and lie blatantly) about his opponent’s policies can hardly be deemed a fit or proper person to engage in diplomacy on Australia’s behalf and on such a delicate issue; there goes one justification.
Rudd’s foreign minister, Bob Carr, has in any case ruled out any possibility of committing Australian troops to a US-led military effort; there goes another.
And there is no case to justify Rudd’s attendance in St Petersburg on account of Australia’s recent elevation to a temporary seat on the UN Security Council: the G20 has nothing to do with the United Nations, and in any case, even if it did, Australia would play an insignificant role indeed in any proceedings of real consequence.
The simple fact is that Rudd — if he goes to Russia — will have decided to use the dreadful events of the past week in Syria, and the attendant prospective consequences of their aftermath, to justify one more ride in the VIP RAAF jet, and for no better reason than to get some footage into the evening news in Australia a few hours before polling booths open.
Frankly, in those circumstances, Rudd would prove once and for all what a contemptible specimen he is; at a time of international crisis and the real danger of a wider conflagration, that such a cheap stunt would motivate simpering expressions of concern and talk of “helping” to justify the field trip would be reprehensible, to say the least.
Perhaps Rudd might reason that if he’s in Russia, he’d be spared the ignominy of having to make an embarrassing concession speech when — as seems increasingly certain — the ALP loses on 7 September, and loses very badly indeed.
Even so, this is an abominable idea of the lowest conceivable order, and — should he pursue it — then Rudd deserves, politically at least, to be absolutely crucified.