Australian Foreign Policy/ Foreign Affairs · Malcolm Turnbull

Marise Payne to meet with General Mattis?

In fairness to Marise Payne, she may be a lovely person, and provide good company in private.

But this non- imposing woman, who was confused last year about the role of her job, appears set to meet with the legendary US Secretary of Defense, General James ‘Maddog’ Mattis.

From all that we have heard from President Trump, his administration seems likely to respect resilience and toughness.

Considering this, is there a better way to portray Australian weakness to the United States, than by sending over Marise Payne as Defence Minister?

How can a lifelong political hack with no prior involvement in military affairs, compare against General Mattis, who once warned his enemy: “I come in peace. I didn’t bring artillery. But I’m pleading with you, with tears in my eyes: If you fuck with me, I’ll kill you all.”

If Australia had any intention of demonstrating strength to its most important ally, it would send over Peter Dutton, Tony Abbott, or Kevin Andrews as Defence Minister. Or, if Defence Minister has become some sort of token position, Julie Bishop or Michaelia Cash might strike and impression.

In truth, our country should be sending anyone other than Payne, who appears to lack the patriotic and energetic spirit required to serve as Defence Minister.

“Minister Payne builds bridges with US”, news.com, February 14, 2017:

 Defence Minister Marise Payne is set to become the first Australian minister to have a face-to-face meeting with a Trump administration counterpart.Senator Payne will travel to Brussels on Wednesday for a meeting to discuss the battle against Islamic State.

On the sidelines she will meet with US Defence Secretary James Mattis.

General Mattis is expected to visit Australia later in the year for the annual AUSMIN meeting.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop told a coalition partyroom meeting on Tuesday she would travel to Washington shortly for talks with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who will also attend AUSMIN.

Ms Bishop told the meeting she was detecting a more “nuanced” position from the White House on relations with China.

 

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