It seems everybody's had a go at Scott Morrison: either for duplicity and double-dealing with the French while pursuing a deal with the Anglosphere, or alternately the ham-fisted way it was announced.
The PM's defence has been simple - he acted in Australia's best interests and makes no apology for doing exactly that.
So let's judge the PM against his own simple rubric: is this country more secure today that it was last month? Examine the submarine project he inherited taking office.
Begin with context. Every PM since 2007 has chosen their own submarine. Kevin Rudd proudly announced we'd build 12; the project stood becalmed under Julia Gillard.
Tony Abbott opted for a Japanese design, soon scuppered by his own South Australian senators. Malcolm Turnbull's dynamic defence minister Christopher Pyne chose French. Joint work began on the initial design stage.
Each design comes with its own inevitable trade-offs and it's simply a matter of choosing which particular deficits to accept. Ruling out nuclear propulsion was one of those key decisions.
It meant - as this column pointed out over a year ago - that this country was attempting to build the impossible: a conventional submarine with nuclear characteristics.
Some things just can't be done. Of course the project had problems: that's what happens when you try to build a vision.
Reality gets in the way. Workarounds were, nonetheless, found and the project seemed to be ready to move to phase two, although nothing had been signed.
So, when Morrison sat down at the Élysée Palace with President Macron on the June 15, both leaders knew the project was hugely troubled and swapping to nuclear propulsion was preferable.
Both were aware France builds exactly this solution. Paris was keen to work with Canberra to solve the problems.
Nonetheless, over a long and wide-ranging meal, the Aussie PM didn't even suggest he'd just inked a deal with the British trashing the French option. He dissembled instead, suggesting everything was fine. It wasn't.
Australians may love to believe we've got some kind of deep state, acting behind the scenes to run the country, but we're not grown up enough for that.
What we do have, however, are lots of fiercely independent individuals who are determined to get their own way. They think, because they are clever, that their smart ideas will inevitably be better too.
They believe they can turn second-best solutions into triumphs of the will, if only everybody gets behind them. That's what Turnbull had done with the French option but as soon as he departed the building, others decided to try their luck, too.
Some wanted a US Virginia-class sub; others wanted a conventional boat with stand-off capabilities; another group still believed we could get to the moon. The US couldn't be approached directly so a compromise was chosen. Use the trouble-plagued British nuclear submarine industry as a way into ditching the French.
In March, Navy Chief Vice-Admiral Michael Noonan (a former surface fleet officer) had met with UK First Sea Lord Sir Tony Radakin at Australia House to ask if Britain could help.
He shepherded the process through Whitehall with, according to British sources, "as few as possible aware of what was going on".
In a sign of the problems to come the idea wasn't being shared widely in Canberra or Washington, either.
A small group of people - clique, cabal, or visionaries, choose your own interpretation - each inspired by their own reasoning were pushing their own ideas of what the project would become.
This was the crucial problem that lies at the heart of Morrison's current difficulties. No matter how good it may have seemed to get out of the current attack class project, there were a number of interest groups that needed to buy into the decision.
No attempt was made to do this. The decision was kept secret simply because as its internal contradictions came to light it would look weaker and weaker.
This is why the first, critical, part of this new process is a standstill for 18 months. This gives time for the opposition (from Aussie designers; industry; state governments; and strategists within Navy) to dissipate. It's understood any hope we might be getting US boats has now been sunk by President Biden.
The Brits expect to make our boats in Cumbria, not Osborne. That's why an unspoken part of this entire process is to destroy the nascent submarine industry forming here around the French design.
All the noise about the sub cloaked the government's dumping of the large-hulled vessel for the Pacific step-up.
Suit-wearing strategists in the current government don't care about who builds what. They've simply made a calm and rational decision that our interests are best served by a US security guarantee at any cost. They're accepting the UK as a curate's egg, procuring our way in.
Since 1942 the UK's history East of Suez has been one of successive disasters. It's bemusing to suggest that country might today have a role in our future defence.
This is why it's important to understand who's calling the shots in this litany of this, well, disaster.
It's not the PM.
He's a muppet simply repeating lines that he's improvising as he wanders along through life.
It's not Defence Minister Peter Dutton. For all his confident bluster he's just a simple-minded policeman at heart. Marise Payne? She's too busy ineffectually saying yes to anything.
No, the professionals have taken over the formulation of our defence policy. The only disappointing thing is that they haven't bothered sharing any of their ideas with the rest of us.
In the end it probably didn't really matter which boat we hopped aboard to fix our submarine problem, as long as we sailed away united. Those attempting to usher us down the gangplank couldn't decide which vessel to board.
Today we don't have any. Instead we'll be relying on missiles to fill the gap. Now there's an idea!
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