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Is the Bush Administration interfering in Australian politics?

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  • Is the Bush Administration interfering in Australian politics?

    First we had GWB refer to Latham's "Home by Christmas" pledge as "disasterous" and "would embolden the enemies of freedom", now both Colin Powell and Richard Armitage have made mention that any Latham government is likely to result in the US withholding information from Australia, and making veiled references to "you need us".

    Now, I'm a John Howard supporter, but even I don't like the precedent this is setting - the US interfering in a hostile nations politics is one thing - but Australia is one of their closest allies (arguably the closest at this point in time), and should be left to it;s own devices.

    Now this could just be GWB looking out for Howard, and further damaging the Labor party's standing (god knows Latham's f*cking it up enough by himself), but one comment by Bush is one thing - prepared statements delivered by the SecState and Asst. SecDef opens up the possibility of a concerted US administration effort to hamper the oppositions chances in this years federal election.

    To be fair though - John Howard and GWB get on veeeerrrry well, and as such, this could just be GWB looking out for his little buddy's back.

    Now listening too;
    - Russell Robertson, ruining whatever credibility my football team once had.

  • #2
    I'll bet the ALP's hoping it keeps up. The more they can portray it as a David and Goliath struggle the more it will damage John Howard's chances. Good riddance!


    • #3
      You sound like a smart fellow and yet you support Howard?
      Oh well , the world is a strange place.

      Still, putting that aside, as much as we would like to, this time poor GWB was not the main culprit, though his minion's later blabberings are very stupid... The US tends to forget that while certain aspects of our political spectrum are pro-American there is a relative level of 'mis-trust' (though that might be too strong a word) of the US from Australians. Having a leader like GWB saying 'you are a top Aussie little Johnny' doesn't wash with most of us!

      If you note in the preceeding moments before the question, GWB was going to ask another reporter for a question (only 2 questions each from the US and Aussie camps - a typical GDW, 'freedom of information' press gallery), yet little Johnny insisted the question come from a particular reporter, and surprise, surprise, that reporter worked for Rupert Murdock (another Aussie, sorry, American, who loves Johnny). There is no doubt that J. HoWARd is a shrewd political operator and i think it is relatively clear that he stage-managed this...

      Yet considering the foresight he showed with the Iraq War i am not at all surprised that he didn't realise this would not work out as planned

      BTW i vote Greens ( )... though i might put a tic down for Labour just to make sure that ANYONE but Howard (aka GWB's Monika Lewinsky) wins!
      Legion's ASL AARs


      • #4
        from my fiancee...

        i know this is off topic...

        although you are not outwardly pro labor, you dont like liberal, yet boast being a greenie. i hate to rain on your parade but liberals have done more to conserve the environment than labor. eg who passed the old growth forest legislation - chopping it down, to create jobs in WA's south West, compared to liberals who have restricted these practices considerably. this is one of many examples i can give, however i do not have any political refernce. just thought you should be informed P.S voting greens is such a donkey vote!!!
        can you tell she votes Liberal?

        personally, I don't like Labor's fiscal policies - nor their attitudes on dfence and IR matters
        Now listening too;
        - Russell Robertson, ruining whatever credibility my football team once had.


        • #5
          Now... if you were some of the other people who frequent these forums you would be accusing me of being a traitor, a hippy or a godless SOB.
          Instead you reply with self-depreciation, humour and with logically concieved out points.

          What a breath of fresh air!

          BTW you are still to even consider voting Liberal
          Legion's ASL AARs


          • #6
            Once again, I refer to Bush's psychological profile. (It is almost too accurate.) Personal loyalty is preferable to competence with Bush not only when appointing staff, but in general. So it is not surprising he would try to aide an old friend who seems to be in a bit of trouble. Even if doing so is unwise and counterproductive.

            I don't know what information would be "withheld" from the Australian government in the event of a change in administrations. The US and Australia have a number of bi-lateral agreements, which includes intelligence sharing. The only logical justification for suspending or ammending those understandings would be the presence of a national security risk. I don't see that. So withholding information could be a political and maybe even legal problem for the Bush Administration, particularly if such conduct undermines the security of ally like Australia.

            Maybe Bush was talking about sport stats. Do Australians like Baseball or Soccer? Maybe games will experience "blackouts" throughout the televised event. I don't know.

            I won't dismiss the possibility that the US is trying to influence the Australian elections for more than personal reasons. There were a number of people here in the US that felt the Bush Administration didn't do enough to help the former government of Spain prior to the March elections. As a result, we lost the support of a very strong ally in an embarrassing way. So the Bush team doesn't want to loose the support of Australia, and might be making moves to improve the current government's position.

            Personally, I think it is a very risky, if not counterproductive effort. If anything, the US would be wiser to stay out and work on developing favorable relations with whoever takes control. If the Labor Party wins, Bush's little attempt will justify a greater strain in the US-Australian relationship than might have been present if we simply kept our mouths shut.

            The right political move, from the US perspective, would be to emphasize the importance of the US-Australian alliance, without necessarily defining that support by parties.
            "As soon as men decide that all means are permitted to fight an evil, then their good becomes indistinguishable from the evil that they set out to destroy."-Christopher Dawson - The Judgement of Nations, 1942


            • #7
              The upcoming election is one where we (and any interested allies) just have to sit on our hands, look good, not say or do anything stupid, and we will squeak in. This is because a certain leader of the opposition is just bound to do or say something stupid (Peter Garrett??) as he tries to regain the lead. All the groundwork has been laid for a Liberal victory, just let the sensible people answer the media's questions, and other than that everybody keep mum.

              (Please, no political donations or deputy sheriff's badges!)


              • #8
                Hey Legion

                Is there a story behind your choice of avatars?


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Sharpe
                  Hey Legion
                  Is there a story behind your choice of avatars?
                  Do you mean the previous one (a self-portrait that i never got around to finishing) or the current one?
                  The current one is due to my living in Japan for quite a number of years... and once i finish my degree i shall be going back there ASAP!

                  Ah Japan, sakura, momiji and a country that is just all so peachy!
                  Legion's ASL AARs


                  • #10
                    I don't think the liberal supporters, here or in 'real world' have really gauged Latham too well. Getting Garret onside will turn out to be a major coup if he can pull it off. Garrets no clown, he has been in the past but he has done the hard political mileage to have a better idea how the system works.

                    I think the election will be a close one, unless theres an Asian Islamic attack on our soil b4 then, then we'll see who has the best anti-terror policy ideas.
                    Not lip service, nor obsequious homage to superiors, nor servile observance of forms and customs...the Australian army is proof that individualism is the best and not the worst foundation upon which to build up collective discipline - General Monash


                    • #11
                      The Bush administrations interventions into Australian domestic politics are certainly troubling. Like him or not, if Latham wins the election, the US government will need to work with him, and vice-versa. Latham has backed away from the somewhat reckless statements he made before being elected leader, and the Labor Party has a long history of supporting the alliance (hell, they founded it in 1941/42). To my knowledge no-one in Labor is even considering pulling out of the Alliance. They just want to get us out of Howard's ridiculous Iraq adventure. If the Americans really think that the alliance is conditional on us staying in Iraq, then I'm all for withdrawing from it, especially given the underwealming American support of the Australian activities in East Timor in 1999.

                      IMO, getting the Americans to do this is a really dumb move by Howard. The Americans comments are likely to do no more then harden current opinions, and they totally lock Howard into the fate of the Bush administration and events in Iraq. With even Bush predicting things in Iraq to get worse before they get better, Howard may have chained himself to a sinking whale carcass.

                      Incidently, Latham's performance continues to be spot-on. While the Liberals engage in ridiculus hyperbole (ie, Downer's claim that Peter Garret winning a seat will endanger the alliance, or the claim that the 100 Australians on non-force protection tasks are playing a 'vital' role in Iraq) Latham's responce has been cool, measured and, dare I say it, statesman-like.

                      The reason behind this appears to be that Latham isn't interested in fighting an election on foreign policy issues. Given the Australian public's general disinterest in foreign policy and Howard's obsession with foreign policy in his third term (which has been compounded by the lack of a coherent 3rd term domestic agenda), Latham is being very smart IMO - he's playing to Labor's strong point while Howard has to play one of his weak points.

                      The following comments by Latham are interesting:


                      "I'm not getting into a debate with American policy, I'm just not," he said.

                      "I'm interested in a debate with the Howard government on the policies that are relevant to Australia.

                      "It's an Australian election campaign that we're going into later in the year and it's going to be conducted under Australian conditions."
                      Last edited by Case; 11 Jun 04, 06:21.
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