Following the Obama playbook

America has many problems and enemies to go with them but the only enemies Obama really cares about are Republicans. Same for Malcolm. Australia has its own list of problems but the only enemies Malcolm can get himself worked up about are our Republican-equivalents, which just happens to be members of the party he leads. You hardly need to be a genius to work out that a certain measured common sense is needed right now in the Middle East so I hardly think it’s anything other than Malcolm mimicking Barrack to have said so. But there are those who think that something needs to be done in the Middle East, and despair that America is led by someone who, for whatever reason, feels quite content to let things boil over without any involvement. Worst President ever matched possibly by the worst Prime Minister ever. Time will tell but so far Malcolm has excelled only at avoiding dealing with any of our actual problems, either national or international. If ISIS is not a problem to Malcolm, then he is unfit for the job.

This is Dennis Shanahan in a column in which he is even trying to say nice things about Malcolm. But even so, he does note this:

On Tuesday, the Prime Minister’s security statement to parliament on Syria and Iraq was universally viewed as a “slapdown” to the public statements of his predecessor, which only distracted from the core message to the public. . . .

The jibes about machismo were directed against Abbott and former defence minister Kevin Andrews, who publicly advocated, from the backbench, a greater military presence — SAS forces on missions — in Syria.

Turnbull’s public putdown added to a growing atmosphere of paranoia and resentment between thwarted conservative Coalition MPs and those who supported Turnbull’s seizure of the leadership ten weeks ago.

Yet the idea of considering limited “boots on the ground” is not limited to a coterie of Abbott supporters, with West Australian Liberal Luke Simpkins, one of the signatories of the leadership spill against Abbott in February, telling parliament it was something we “need to do”.

No one knows the answer in dealing with ISIS but allowing the problem to fester is not high on the list of possible solutions.

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