Malaysia's controversial leader, Mahathir Mohamad, continued his war of words with the West yesterday when he vowed to treat Australia as a "terrorist" if it acted like a US sheriff in the region.Here's what Australia's PM, John Howard, said, quoted in the same article:
Dr Mahathir - already under fire for remarks this week in which he said that "Jews rule the world" - was responding to reported comments by US President George Bush saying Australia was America's "sheriff" in South-East Asia.
"I can assure Australia that if it acts as a sheriff in this country it will be treated as a terrorist and dealt with as a terrorist," he said.
"The more co-operation there can be, the better," Mr Howard said before he left Sydney.Note the omission of a certain country beginning with "M"?
"In many ways, co-operation between Australia and Indonesia and Singapore and other countries in the region is a template for what the wider world should do."
Sometimes what's not said is more important as what is said.
Australia, unlike the USA, the UK, and France, has only got one foreign base in the world. One. To have a foreign base on one's own soil requires a rare degree of trust. Australia's one foreign base is RAAF Butterworth, near Penang, in Malaysia.
I repeat, sometimes what's not said is more important as what is said.