Why Australia makes diplomatic errors in Asia – Article 2

As a regular visitor to India I note that USA President Donald Trump seems to be respected and popular there – he is evaluated in India based on his economic record and not on his bloopers.

I have not heard him ridiculed over there. His high office makes ridicule unthinkable.

Not so in Australia – from day one he has been ridiculed at all levels. Of course, he has provided ample material for these critics. I use this as an example of differing world perspectives, not as a defence of President Trump.


We always bring the “tall poppy syndrome” into play when we look around the world and we relish seeing the mighty fall – or at least have their weaknesses exposed. How many Aussies realise that most of the world and certainly Asia does not have tall poppy syndrome and are mystified when it is explained to them?

This syndrome is not a good cultural basis for friendships in Asia – and combine that with an aggressive public mindset and you have poor diplomacy.

In reality Australia is one of the friendliest nations – just not in politics or diplomacy.

This is the second in a series on “Why Australia makes diplomatic errors in Asia”.

Author: Stephen Manallack

Former President, Australia India Business Council, Victoria and Author, You Can Communicate; Riding the Elephant; Soft Skills for a Flat World (published by Tata McGraw-Hill INDIA); Communicating Your Personal Brand. Director, EastWest Academy Pty Ltd and Trainer/Speaker/Mentor in Leadership, Communication and Cross Cultural Communication. Passionate campaigner for closer western relations with India. Stephen Manallack is a specialist on “Doing Business with India” and advisor/trainer on “Cross-Cultural Understanding”. He is a Director of EastWest Academy Pty Ltd which provides strategic advice and counsel regarding business relations with India. A regular speaker in India on leadership and global communication, his most recent speaking tour included a speech to students of the elite Indian university, Amity University, in Noida. He also spoke at a major Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) global summit, the PR Consultants Association of India in Delhi, the Symbiosis University in Pune and Cross-Cultural Training for Sundaram Business Services in Chennai. He has visited India on business missions on 10 occasions and led three major trade missions there. He provides cross-cultural training – Asia and the west.

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