27th February 2012: Knives Out

The Book of Stratagems

 

Australia’s current Prime Minister Julia Gillard has decisively defeated Kevin Rudd in a caucus leadership challenge 71 to 31 votes. The past week in Australian federal politics has been a fascinating case study in China’s 36 stratagems. Rudd’s initial resignation announcement exemplified ‘stomp the grass to scare the snake.’ His trip from Washington DC to Brisbane seemed like ‘leisurely await for the laboured’. Gillard’s counter-attack was ‘borrow a corpse to resurrect the soul’ (on the Australian Labor Party’s history and election chances) and ‘shut the door to catch the thief’ (gaining the numbers to defeat Rudd). Now, Rudd probably faces only one option: ‘If all else fails, retreat’ . . . to write the tell-all autobiography and do foreign policy consulting . . .