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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

do you hear the echo? « Previous | |Next »
June 18, 2004

There is a paragraph in an article on Iraq by Tony Walker in the Australian Financial Review (subscription required, 18 06 04, p. 27) that describes the Howard Government's foreign policy. Tony says:

"...the Howard government will trim its sails to correspond with whatever tack Bush embarks upon. Thus, if Bush is for pre-emption, Howard and Downer are for pre-emption; if he's for the United Nations role, then Howard and Downer are for a UN role, then Howard and Downer are for that too; if Bush wanted to give every Iraqi $1 million then that would probably be okay, as well."

It is pretty accurate don't you think? Of course the Bushies continue to imply that Australia is obliged to support everything that the US says and does. Not doing this is being anti-American. Howard and Downer just follow the script that has been written for them in Washington.

And Bush? Well he has changed tack from America excluding the UN in Iraq to now including the UN. That tack brings the Bush administration close to the original ALP position, does it not? Yet Howard accuses the ALP of increasing the risk of a terrorist attack by promoting a foreign affairs policy of isolation and retreat:

"The narrowly defined defence doctrine that would circle the wagons and deny Australia a capability to co-operate with allies beyond our shores. The tired and deeply-flawed view that implies some inconsistency between a close alliance relationship and good relations with Asia."

The position of those who are critical of Howard's foreign policy is misrepresented as putting a fence around our country or our region. They are deemed to running back to the illusion of Fortress Australia.

It is campaign rhetoric. Like Bush Howard's re-relection game plan had assumed the Iraq war would be a huge plus that would sweep aside the domestic issues of health, education and the environment. Iraq has turned out to be bad news because the occupation is going badly.


So Howard, like Bush, is setting out to undermine his opponents by challenging their patriotism. The aim is to neutralize and destroy the opposition whilst pufffing up Howard's courageous actions in defending the homeland from the international terrorists.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 11:35 PM | | Comments (2)


My sense is that this strategy will backfire on JH, though that might be more hope than expectation. Calling weakness strength can only work for so long, even with a squadron of Joneses and News Corps on side. Latham just has to keep quietly insisting on our sovereignty and he's halfway home.

We australians are very stupid people to give up out sovereignity and become the 51st state.
A couple of years ago that toad armitage said that he expected australian blood to be shed defending taiwan-doesn't sound like a good idea to me.