Graeme Dobell’s Fiji Dilemma

Graeme DobellGraeme Dobell writes short pieces for The Interpreter, the blog for the think tank Lowry Institute.  While his experience is mainly in Asia, his journalism assignments have taken him to Fiji. His latest four-part  article The Fiji Dilemma has been widely cited in the anti-Fiji blogs, and a link is  provided here for your evaluation.

When you have read it you may wish to compare your opinions with those of someone better equipped than me to know where Dobell is coming from.  Here is what he said:

1. The arrogant and spiteful language used in Dobell’s four blogs demeans his argument and suggests he is more interested in playing to a narrow-minded domestic gallery than actually addressing a serious and complex international issue that is important to Australia’s national interests and those of Australia’s nearest neighbours.   One cannot help wondering at the Lowy Institute’s quality control on blogging that carries its logo.
2. Dobell’s overt advocacy gets in the way of a professional approach to facts in dispute.  Dobell accepts as facts Roko Ului’s claims without recognising that these have been disputed and, in some cases, apparently refuted.  One cannot help but wonder where Dobell left his journalistic training in critical analysis.  Perhaps he has forgotten the damage done over the decades by a naïve acceptance of “intelligence” offered exile communities from Taiwan, Cuba, Iraq, etc.    
3. Speculation as to Bainimarama’s motives is asserted without evidence and used to build on further speculation.  This includes the rather novel assertion that a consistent plan (“New Order”) has been pursued since the 2000 Speight coup!  Such ill-founded speculation can only continue to add to the wall of suspicion and distrust between the two Governments thus further undermining the resumption of talks on the restoration of democracy that Dobell professes to want.  
4. The Hayward-Jones proposal for a “coalition” led by Australia to bring the Fiji Government to heel totally lacks credibility.  Canberra has been pursuing this line for more than four years.  No basis is offered, beyond wishful thinking, for believing that the factors underlying the failure of this tactic heretofore have changed.  Indeed, the quote from Richard Herr seems to reinforce an awareness of the Fiji Government’s strong resistance to the line taken in Hayward-Jones proposal!


Beware the mad Australian said…
What is this guy on about? I can't believe the poor quality of the analysis here. FB started his coup in 2000. Beg your pardon? Tevita Mara is the hero of the hour. Come again? What planet is this guy from? If this reflects the thinking of the Lowy Institute, then the only place these people should be is in an institution all of their own. Surrounded by people in white coats. There, there, everything will be alright. Just keep taking the tablets. Incredible.
Gutter Press said…
It’s true that Graeme Dobell’s tone leaves a lot to be desired – it’s unnecessarily patronising and insulting. That said, there’s not a great deal else here to take too much opposition to, especially in view of the tone of comments by pro coup journalists who’ve also been quite scathing when commenting about their subjects, if those subjects have been anti coup..

Reading between the bombastic bluster (as it’s always necessary to do when trying to make sense of the opinionated ‘facts’ from the two opposing camps) Mr Dobell’s speculation about forthcoming course for the military seems to be founded in the Roadmap’s stated ideals which see the military in a centrally important guiding role in Fiji’s supposedly fledgling democracy. It remains to be seen whether such a self appointed role is going to be for better or for worse, but it would be an unrealistic person who would try to argue against the very strong likelihood that the military will be the real hand on the tiller for many years beyond the 2014 elections.

Speculation about Bainimarama’s role in the 2000 coup, not as an instigator of course, but certainly as being responsible for refusing to allow the democratically elected government to resume power, isn’t far fetched. It’s fact. It might have been expedient to appoint an interim government, but it certainly wasn’t the morally correct procedure, so if some people have questioned the fellow’s motives since then, it’s not without just cause.

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