Death row inmates Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran are threatening to do far more damage in death than they ever could have done life.

The convicted drug-smugglers are at the centre of clemency appeals fast becoming rancorous and bitter.

Australia’s Trade Minister, Andrew Robb, is the latest to postpone a visit to Indonesia. Foreign Minister, Julie Bishop explained: “We didn’t think it was appropriate for Australia to be there with a large trade delegation at this time,”

Ministerial visits from both sides have been cancelled or rescheduled, trade missions are being reconsidered, and hostilities in both countries are simmering – threatening long term relations between Australia and Indonesia.

Ms Bishop went on to say, there were “a number of meetings proposed in coming months, and obviously we will consider each of those at the appropriate time.”

And while these trade delegations aren’t doing business markets for Australian goods remain untapped. Less trade between does neither country any good.

But Indonesians are quick to take offence and loathe relinquish it:

Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s remarks about the AUS $1 billion donated to Indonesia after the 2004 tsunami caused howls of outrage.

Mr Abbott stressed his remarks were only intended to remind Indonesia of the close relationship between the two countries. But Indonesians reacted with flag burning and facetious coin-collection to pay Australia back.

When the Prime Minister suggested President Joko Widodo would be displaying strength by being merciful, it was interpreted as an accusation of weakness should he choose to do otherwise.

Australia is not alone in feeling the prickly pride of Indonesia.

France, the Netherlands, and Brazil have had nationals executed for drug offences in Indonesia. Both the Netherlands and Brazil withdrew their ambassadors, with Brazil going a step further and rejecting the credentials of Indonesia’s new ambassador to their country. Never one to be upstaged in pettiness, Indonesia then withdrew their entire envoy.

Insults and slights, real or imagined, have real world, sometimes long term, effects.

These two drug-dealers may have ruined the lives of thousands during the course of their criminal lifetimes.

But their deaths could ruin the lives of millions.

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