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Rudd's diplomatic talk « Previous | |Next »
April 9, 2008

Rudd's big overseas trip is different from that of Howard. The style is that of a diplomat who has a grasp of foreign policy issues, who thinks beyond the role of lap dog to the US and the conservative scenarios of a future face-off between Australia and an Asian (Chinese) juggernaut, and doesn't act as the US 's stalking horse in the Middle East.

Rudd's overseas trip.jpg Alan Moir

There is an element of smoke and mirrors in all of this diplomatic discussion. The classic example is the talk about NATO when the alliance is bleeding itself white in Afghanistan. NATO has big problems there--- international terrorism, unchecked increase in drug trafficking, building a strong state and the economy-- and its military approach is going to solve these. How NATO is going to be able to extricate itself from the colossal muddle in Afghanistan is an open question. No one is talking about an exit strategy.

Rudd's talk about a more coherent strategy in the war in Afghanistan---eg., addressing the unchecked increase in drug trafficking----fell on stoney ground, despite the boom in opium-poppy cultivation and Afghanistan now suppliing 93% of the world total, the bulk of it grown in Helmand and other southern provinces that are most under the influence of the Taliban.

Rudd wasn't willing to address the realistic view that NATO is losing the war through backing the Kabul regime of of Hamid Karzai. The Taliban are not a spent force consisting of a bunch of naive young lads with no credible leader left. The government of Hamid Karzai controls barely 30% of the country. Most of the country is in the hands of warlords and other local leaders, with a tenth under the sway of the Taliban. A transformative victory by NATO is not at hand.

As Paul Rogers observes at Open Democracy

The term "occupying" and "occupation" are not in the vocabulary of the White House or 10 Downing Street: from their perspective what is happening is a major security operation to win the war on terror while bringing two key countries [Afghanistan and Iraq] safely into the western orbit. Krauthammer's "benign imperium" may look a little tattered around the edges but it remains the basis for coalition action

He argues that the reality is that the United States cannot continue - militarily, financially, or politically - to occupy countries such as Iraq and Afghanistan for years to come. The occupation of countries in the middle east and southwest Asia by western military forces is no longer politically feasible. The starting-point for any new policy will have to be complete withdrawal.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 9:02 AM | | Comments (10)


Each year I compile a list of "Australia's 20 vilest people." I would like to see the annual winner exiled from Australia for a year or 2.

Last year the winner was Kevin Andrews, with Catharine Lumby a very close second. Even though I voted Labor at the last election I can already tell this year it will be Kevin Rudd for his abominable rhetorical skills.

Rudd sounds like a guy in Year 10 whose voice is breaking and uses big words repreatedly and inappropriately. His oratorical felicity could make up Vol II of the shortest book ever written, with Vol 1 being "The wit and spontaniety of Malcolm Fraser."

The diabolical thing is that his Muppet Treasurer is already popping out "good to be with you" and even La Gillard has a handbag full of "in due season."


I'll bet that the Chinese are fearful of the day when Cardboard Kev is let off the chain. He'll give them a real tongue-lashing over their handling of Tibet.

Rudd has confronted China over Tibet, citing "significant human rights problems" on the eve of meeting with Premier Wen Jiabao.In a 30-minute speech delivered in Mandarin at the Beijing University yesterday, Mr Rudd called on the Chinese Government to "recognise there are significant human rights problems in Tibet".

Speaking to a capacity crowd of students, he defied official complaints from the Chinese Government to repeat his calls for action in Tibet and dialogue with exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama.

Rudd is able to speak Chinese students and officials in Mandarin. That's a big improvement on previous Australian PMs.


Fine. Make him ambassador to China!

Good to be with you! :)

The origins of carrying the Olympic torch are interesting.

Joesph Goebbels who was in charge of media for the Olympics introduced it as a glorification of the third Reich by getting 3422 young Aryans to run 1 kilometer each between Mt Olympus and Berlin.

The guy with the fire extinguisher gets my vote for "play of the week"

Rudd the diplomat has also raised the issues of human rights in a way that has forced the Chinese to tell him to back off. Of course, he is also talking about climate change, iron and coal exports, clean coal technology, selling education to the Chinese and sovereign investment funds. This is the real point of the overseas trip. Tibet intervened and he had to address on behalf of the international community.

He also recognises China's sovereignty over Tibet, does not agree with any boycott of the Olympics, doesn't mix human rights and trade, doesn't link human rights with the Olympics, and is not doing anything to substantially damage Sino-Australian relations.

I do not understand your criticisms. Do you have any? Could it be Rudd playing to the domestic audience on the human rights issues perhaps?

Rudd breaks with the habit of previous PM's in not speaking up about human rights whilst talking about trade. He did in Beijing and in mandarin.

Isn't Rudd showing political courage in this? It plays well in Australia

yes it could be seen as courageous.

It could also be seen as Rudd repeating his election campaign on the world stage.

Lets not forget that what is said in public and what is said in private are often 2 different things.

Meanwhile back in Oz the natives are dragging a big black pot towards the fire.

Gary, 'can I just say' if only he would address US in Mandarin, then we would not have to put up with his never-ending bag of cliches. Perhaps he will 'in due season.'

Good to be with you.