Gerald McGhie, an ex-director of the New Zealand Institute of International Affairs, says New Zealand and Australia's strategy have failed and it's time to change tack, quote: "Australia and New Zealand can impose costs on Fiji but they cannot impose their will."
McGhie goes on to say that if the United States can seek talks with the Taliban, "it’s time to demonstrate diplomatic skill in dealing with a festering and unacceptable Pacific problem". He suggests an immediate return to the table with negotiators approaching Fiji in the 'fa'a Pacific way' with Melanesia leading the powerbrokers.
Quote: "The Pacific Negotiating Group will require a leader. To date Sir Michael Somare has spent considerable time and much reputation coaxing Bainimarama back into the fold. He should at least have the right of first refusal. Appropriate support for his activities is vital. He must have a new and well-qualified team."
Not to be outdone, two Australian academics have also this week released their keen observations and solutions.
Richard Herr, the author of Time for a Fresh Approach: Australia and Fiji Relations Post-abrogation, of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute and Anthony Bergin, the research director at ASPI, think Canberra should head back to talks with Fiji's junta post haste.
Herr and Bergin make much of the so-called lost 'brothers in arms' closeness between Australia and Fiji, saying the principled Australia is the only one losing out from its decision to isolate Fiji.
Quote: "Our closest Western allies in the region, the US and France, haven't gone as far down the military sanctions path as has Australia and have maintained routine contact with Fiji's armed forces. Our leading Asian allies, Japan and South Korea, have undermined travel sanctions by allowing all personnel banned by Australia to travel abroad via their countries."
Herr and Bergin go one better than McGhie and try to scare Cabberra back into conciliatory talks with the junta, with the notion China is getting too strong in the region, thanks to disaffected countries like Fiji seeking new alliances. Scary, scary.
Let's hope the old Yellow Peril scare tactic doesn't panic folks in Canberra into rushing to renegotiate terms with Bainimarama. This trio is misguided in thinking that Michael Somare and Co can affect an outcome, or that Canberra and Wellinton should succumb to the junta after four years of consistency.
There should be no negotiating with this illegal government, which continues to have the upper hand because it has the guns and soldiers on its side and because it has oppressed most facets of people's lives via the public emergency regulations and illegal decrees.
The Bainimarama junta has been able to control citizens ordinary lives because it is corrupt to the core and because the hierarchy are profiteers. The regime has bankrupted the country to pay the military, its illegally appointed government ministers and public servants, they who are supposedly making life better for everyone under the Roadmap.
Things are not ideal in Fiji, but renegotiation is not an option.