reports that Indonesia's
Megawati has expressed concern to John Howard about about the economic cost of
Australian warnings to people against traveling to Indonesia, and has asked how
long the warnings will last.
This is a change from Megawati's much celebrated snub of John Howard at the
last APEC meeting in which she refused to meet with him, and wouldn't even answer
And 2 years ago the Indonesians were talking about applying an 'Ugly
Australian Tax' - an extra payment which Australians would have to
pay in order to get visas into Bali.
How the tables have turned. After the Megawati government's successful
cultivation of anti-Australian hatred in Indonesia, they have now realized that
their actions have a price - Australians will simply stop dealing with
them. And if Australians do, so will most other Westerners.
Indonesia's economic woes - the fallout of 30 years of corrupt dictatorship
followed by 3 years of corrupt pseudo-democracy - are likely to worsen with the
vanishing Australian tourist dollar. Even more significant though, is
Indonesia's inability to develop (or even properly maintain) their infrastructure without
workers, many of whom are now leaving.
And Megawati has realized, too late, that economic hardship will
destabilize her already struggling government.
Of course it's never too late to give good advice: "Megawati - be careful
what you wish for - you might get it."