We recently reported that “the revelations by Edward Snowden that the Australian Government is spying on the Indonesian Government, was a hammer blow for the Abbott Government and for the mass surveillance program carried out by the USA”. What has now become evident is that the damage goes further.

Most importantly Abbott through his arrogant and aggressive response combined with his simplistic and militaristic “turn back the boats” mania ,  has stupidly all but destroyed our most important regional defence alliance.

Ironically it was the Labor Government who had entered into this spying venture with the USA but it is the incompetent Abbott who will pay the price. That Abbott did not have the sense to apologise to the Indonesian President has meant that in the long term the Coalitions main platform, “Stopping the Boats” is in shreds because Indonesia’s Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa aka, Filipino porn star responded to Abbott  by saying all cooperation with Australia is off including on the issue of returning refugee boats to Indonesia.

This followed the arrogant and diplomatically stupid statement from Foreign Minister Julie Bishop that (in regard to turning refugee boats back to Indonesia) “Were not asking Indonesia for permission, were asking for their understanding”

Indonesia must now understands that despite the Abbott Government parroting that Indonesia is our most important neighbour, it is well down the list of our real friends like the Americans.

They will also notice that Abbott is fixated with two issues that are at odds with Indonesia’s best interest. They are preventing refugees passing through the region to Australia, and Abbott’s climate change denial, which will result in rising sea levels and more typhoons and sea surges that will be devastating, particularly for Indonesia’s smaller islands.

Indonesia at some risk has pursued a regional strategy that stands out from most of its neighbours. It has allied itself militarily with the West. Indonesia must be now re-assessing its alliance with Australia and the USA as a counter to the growing influence of China in the region.                                                                    

Indonesia and other regional states might well consider that Australia is not a credible or trusted ally and hitch itself militarily to the regions other superpower, China.

This would be a disaster for Australia and bad news for the USA, who would have to massively increase its troop numbers in South East Asia.

Abbott may gloat about preventing asylum seekers getting refuge in Australia for a month or two, but the cost of his foreign policy like his climate policy, could be catastrophic.