Saturday, February 27, 2021

What Scott Morrison’s foreign policy says about Australia

What Scott Morrison's foreign policy says about Australia

The Coalition’s handling of Trump, China and an increasingly unstable world could tell us a lot about how Morrison sees Australia’s role on the global stage.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (Image: EPA/Rungroj Yongrit)

One of Scott Morrison’s first acts as prime minister was to announce an as yet unfulfilled plan to move Australia’s embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. 

It was terrible geopolitics. The embassy move is a huge flashpoint in Muslim-majority countries, and had the potential to poison relations with neighbours like Indonesia and Malaysia. But, just months before, the Trump administration had moved its embassy, a long-term goal of both powerful pro-Israel lobby groups and Evangelical Christians, triggering mass protests across the Middle East. And right after Morrison’s announcement there was a byelection in Wentworth, a seat with a high Jewish population. 

Whether the decision was a thought bubble, an opportunistic bit of domestic politicking, or an attempt to curry favour with the Trump administration, looking back, it still bears many of the hallmarks of what “the ScoMo doctrine” has been about. 

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