The Macron spat over Aukus submarines has taught world leaders a lot about Scott Morrison | Katharine Murphy

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As Scott Morrison flew towards Australia’s subject basal for operations successful the Middle East connected Wednesday, Jean-Pierre Thébault was utilizing an quality astatine the National Press Club successful Canberra to proceed France’s rolling excoriation of Australia’s behaviour portion dumping a multibillion-dollar submarine contract.

By the clip Morrison touched down successful the desert, the French ambassador had landed a potent extrapolation. If Scott Morrison’s cognition was prepared to leak backstage substance messages from satellite leaders to settee diplomatic scores, who could spot Australia?

“You don’t behave similar this connected idiosyncratic exchanges of leaders,” Thébault said successful Canberra. “Doing this besides sends a precise worrying awesome for each heads of state. Beware, successful Australia, determination volition beryllium leaks, and what you accidental successful assurance to your partners volition yet beryllium utilized and weaponised against you.”

I uncertainty you’ve missed the saga of the substance messages, but conscionable successful lawsuit – the greeting aft Emmanuel Macron told Australian journalists connected the sidelines of the G20 acme successful Rome that Morrison had lied to him during the fracas, 1 of the president’s backstage texts turned up successful immoderate Australian media outlets.

Two days earlier Morrison, Boris Johnson and Joe Biden terminated Australia’s declaration with the French Naval Group to physique diesel submarines successful mid-September and replaced it with the Aukus pact, Macron had asked Morrison: “Should I expect bully oregon atrocious quality for our associated submarines ambitions?”

This substance was submitted arsenic grounds that Macron’s outrage – the accusations astir lying and Australia stabbing France successful the backmost – were wholly confected, due to the fact that the president knew each on the French declaration was astir to beryllium dumped.

Actually, the connection confirmed precisely the opposite. It shows Macron didn’t cognize what was happening 2 days earlier 3 leaders humiliated France with the Aukus announcement – which you’ll callback was livestreamed to the world.

So arsenic ruthless exercises successful home harm power go, this was a peculiarly chaotic one. Measured successful presumption of planetary relations, this was high-cost, low-efficiency.

Presumably, the score-settling reflected the fury of Australia’s premier curate aft Macron launched his drive-by quality assassination astatine the G20. Morrison was arsenic aggravated arsenic I person ever seen him connected learning of Macron’s accusation.

But if it was an impulse, a lashing out, his revenge play, erstwhile unleashed, could not beryllium rescinded.

Morrison has had plentifulness of opportunities to contradict his bureau leaked the texts. He has not done so. He has besides not expressed immoderate remorse astir it either.

Asked connected the crushed astatine the Al Minhad aerial basal what the threshold had been for engaging successful retributive behaviour wholly extracurricular diplomatic rules of engagement – was the trigger 1 satellite person (Macron) accusing different 1 (Morrison) of lying – Morrison doubled down.

“Claims had been made and those claims were refuted,” the premier curate said.

Implicit successful this is Macron was the 1 who shifted the goalposts by launching a idiosyncratic attack. Morrison does person a point. There was thing diplomatic successful the French president’s observation astatine the G20. It was an bonzer moment. Morrison responded with an bonzer infinitesimal of his own.

But the accelerated escalation has removed each the defender rails and conventions that usually restrain the apex predators of authorities from engaging successful unmasked aggression against their peers.

Morrison understood helium was present successful unchartered territory – which is wherefore the premier curate declared an armistice during his little stopover successful the Middle East.

The premier curate thought present everybody had got assorted things disconnected their chests, it was clip to get past the muck. “Claims were made and claims were refuted, what is needed present is for america to determination connected – that is what is important the Australian people”.

What’s important, according to Morrison’s telling, was he, Scott Morrison, had made the close telephone by replacing French diesel powered submarines with atomic ones.

He, Morrison, had “delivered an incredibly important capableness to Australia to support america harmless and support and support Australia – that’s the astir important thing, that is what is astatine contented here”.

“That is the happening that matters astir to Australians – that we bash everything we tin to guarantee the Australian defences are the champion they perchance tin beryllium and the men and women who service get the best. That’s what I was seeking to bash and if others person different motives, others person different agendas, good that’s for them”.

The means warrant the ends, successful different words. Nothing other matters.

Morrison is inactive a comparatively caller subordinate connected the planetary stage, but his planetary counterparts person learned thing important astir Australia’s premier curate successful this episode.

Morrison doesn’t request to beryllium liked. He doesn’t request to beryllium trusted – and successful a home governmental context, Morrison is not trusted either by colleagues oregon by adversaries.

Morrison’s assurance successful his ain instincts and decisions is absolute.

He doesn’t request anyone to prop him up, oregon validate his choices. His affectional hinterland is extracurricular of politics. In the premier ministership, helium is an island. What’s important is the volition to power, which for Morrison, takes signifier successful a consciousness of relentless righteousness.

What is important to Morrison is immoderate it takes to triumph the adjacent governmental battle. International relations are lone important insofar arsenic they explicit themselves done the prism of home politics.

Morrison thinks he’s connected a winner. Macron mightiness beryllium a casualty of that. Australian taxpayers mightiness person to fork retired billions to decouple from the Naval Group.

But if it’s a winning play, the costs don’t matter.