Sunday, June 13, 2004

Lawrence out of Arabia by Christmas 

The president of the Australian Labor Party, Carmen Lawrence, accused the US government of trying to interfere in Australian elections by helping the Howard Government get re-elected. Said Lawrence about repeated warnings from Washington that Labor's policy of withdrawing Australian troops from Iraq by Christmas would be "disastrous":

"The US conservative administration is supporting the Australian conservative administration. These are political points that are being made, not long-term strategic points and to that extent, somewhat disappointing. [The Australian electorate] don't much like being told how to conduct themselves by other governments".
C'mon Carmen, your own leader, Mark Latham, has called George Bush "the most incompetent and dangerous president in living memory." If Bush is so incompetent, why worry about him trying to help John Howard?

UPDATE: Meanwhile, back from his talks in Washington, Labor's foreign affairs shadow spokesman, Kevin Rudd, disagrees with Carmen Lawrence. According to the "Australian", Rudd "said he saw 'no evidence' that President George W. Bush's intervention was the result of a set-up or conspiracy between the Bush administration and Howard Government." On the other hand, Rudd was quite optimistic about the standing of the potential Prime Minister:

"I've not detected any evidence to suggest that Mark Latham would not be received appropriately as the prime minister of Australia should he visit Washington in future."
Well, yes, but even Jacques Chirac is received "appropriately." They don't pull down your pants and whack you on the face with a cream pie if they don't like you in Washington, Kevin. That's not the point.

But regardless, it seems that poor Mark Latham just can't win:

"The campaign of the Democratic candidate for the US presidency, John Kerry, has for the first time rejected Mark Latham's plan to recall Australian troops from Iraq by Christmas, leaving the Labor leader without support for the policy in America's political mainstream.

"James Rubin, a foreign policy adviser to Senator Kerry, told the Herald in Washington: 'John Kerry has been very clear that regardless of what you think about how we got here, here we are. And failure is not an option in Iraq'."
Alas, failure if always an option for Mark Latham. Mark, should he become the Prime Minister of Australia later on this year, faces of prospect of being considered an unreliable opportunist both in the United States and in the United Kingdom, and that's regardless whether the Republican or the Democrats, or Labour or Conservatives are in power. What an achievement!


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