Thursday, April 29, 2004

Libertarians to Latham's rescue 

Cato Institute's Doug Bandow gives the opposition Leader, Mark "the Werriwa Appeaser" Latham, a helping hand in today's "Australian."

I don't like to pick on libertarians too much, because on one level I'm quite fond of them. But what the hell, Bandow's really asking for it.

"The US really doesn't need a 'deputy sheriff', as Howard reportedly once put it."

I'm glad that Bandow used the qualifier "reportedly" because John Howard never actually said it. The media did.

"Frankly, what the US needs most are good friends willing to tell it unpleasant truths."

Really? I thought that the US already had a lot of good friends and long-standing allies such as Germany, France or Canada telling them unpleasant truths. Why would they need one more like Australia?

"Expecting to be 'an equal partner', as Latham does, might be unrealistic - Washington has yet to learn to treat any nation as an equal."

That's because on all counts that matter internationally - economy, military strength and reach, cultural influence - America doesn't have an equal as yet. Plus, it's the UN's job to treat all nations as equal, be it the US and Sierra Leone, or North Korea and Sweden.

"Giving freedom to the Iraqi people was a positive result, but by that standard of intervention another two or three score nations await liberation."

Which is something that Cato Institute unfortunately won't be helping us with.

There's plenty more, so check out the whole of the opinion piece.

Bandow is right on one level - as far as the rhetoric around the world goes, Latham is not particularly anti-American; he doesn't see the US-the nation as the - or even a - source of all evil in the universe. But he's certainly anti-Bush and anti-Bush Administration policies. He would be far happier if Al Gore was the President right now, or at least if John Kerry will be after the next election. Then we can all go back to multilateral internationalism and resume the advance down the Third Way towards a warm and fuzzy post-modern future.

The problem with Latham is not that he's anti-American but that he's anti-reality. Deep down he is still a September 10 sort of a politician in a world that has since moved on. Bush knows that, Blair knows that, and Howard knows that - Latham might learn it one day too, but I wouldn't be as optimistic as to suggest a Christmas deadline for that to occur.


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