Sunday 11 February 2007


The Prime Minister's attack on Barack Obama reveals the real nature of his commitment to the United States

So now it’s clear. John Howard is not the great champion of the US Australia alliance that he and his looney foreign policy pundits propose. Rather, he is the champion of the extreme ideology propagated by messrs Bush and Cheney. It's an ideology that has brought us the Iraq War, Guantanamo Bay, Abu Ghraib, extraordinary rendition, hopelessness in the Palestinian territories, extreme shifts and emboldenment in Iran and Russia and grave US economic vulnerability to China. Most Americans have rejected this ideology both in opinion polls and at the ballot box. There is no Presidential candidate from either side of US politics endorsing the failed Bush agenda. John Howard has recklessly pinned Australia’s fortunes to it and refuses to change from a failed course.

The Prime Minister’s criticism of Barack Obama’s Presidential candidacy revealed how out of touch he is with the overwhelming resentment of the Iraq war in the US and here in Australia. His characterisation of Obama as Al Qaeda’s preferred candidate was an outrage and a signal to Kevin Rudd of the appalling lows that Howard will dip to in the coming election campaign.

Greg Sheridan, Gerard Henderson, Miranda Devine et. al. have all propagated the notion that the Howard government has developed a uniquely powerful relationship with the United States. This is a myth. Howard’s attachment is to the incompetent extremism of Bush and Cheney and not to the United States. It's an attachment that has damaged Australia's standing worldwide and will require a major shift after the next US election regardless of whether the successful candidate is a Democrat or Republican. The post Bush correction is already under way in the US. There are signs a Howard version thereof might soon begin here too.

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