Weapons of mass disaffection: How the world is run
GLOBAL power requires an advantage over others. It used to need many soldiers or powerful weapons. Empires got power that way and then lost it as war, technology, politics or other events overtook them.
The world has progressed and arrogant responses are a danger to trade - where modern leaders get their domestic power because voters like a booming economy.
But the old ways are still used by tinpot dictators who wield a lot of local power and have bigger global ambitions - Syria's Bashar al-Assad using chemical weapons and North Korea's Kim Jong-un rattling his nuclear sabres. The US's Donald Trump looks like he could nuke Kim, but the international fallout would hurt more than radioactive fallout.
Modern leaders use other weapons - mostly trade weapons, where they limit access to certain markets or restrict products from certain countries. As a result, countries unite under free trade agreements to create big markets. An example is the recent Trans-Pacific Partnership linking numerous Pacific nations and led by the Obama administration until President Trump pulled the US out.
Back in 1950, Europe began to firm into a strong trade bloc that now has more than 500 million people. Britain joined the European Union in 1973 after a huge internal debate about whether it was part of Europe or should go it alone.
Britain is a massive trading nation and being part of the world's second largest economy helps. Brexit turned that upside down. Bizarrely, a mere couple of percentage points difference between those voting to Remain or to Brexit left it with no choice but to quit.
But Theresa May has just shown herself to be a smart tactician. Calling a national election just before her summit with European leaders in a week means she goes into that meeting looking strong.
Then in the election on June 8 she will likely demolish Opposition Leader Jeremy Corbyn's position in the Labour Party and force Britons to back her or accept she now has a strong mandate for Brexit. Strike while the iron's hot - or the Opposition's not.
Brexit leaves her to deal with 27 European governments and leader egos and then get trade deals with the US, Australia, New Zealand and more to fill the gap. But she won't be fighting her own party and the House of Lords as much. Brexit will happen but could split the country into European Britain and Brexited Britain.
Will it be Scotland the Brave? A McExit could have it leave the UK and become independent again and take over as finance and technology capital of Europe with many London whizkids moving to a friendly English-speaking country. And taking lots of the old Britain's trade.
Politicians used to go to the polls with the party united and the electorate disunited. Modern elections are often the opposite. Politicians are disunited and the electorate is increasingly united - against most politicians. So, after June 8, will it be a united kingdom? Or will the independence stirrings in Scotland make it a disunited kingdom?
As Oz poll experts Lynton Crosby and Mark Textor support the Conservative party, Kevin Rudd will no doubt advise British Labour on how to win the election with that great Aussie technique of dumping a leader just before an election.
I suspect he won't let on that we call it Ruddrolling to honour the man who perfected it by losing his job as PM in a party room vote against him then returning to lead the party - and losing his job as PM by a national vote against him.
Enjoy the trip, Kev. Must be time to join Mark Latham and Paul Keating in the grumpy old Labor leader media circus. At least Keating achieved something at the top. You and Latham...?