Monday, February 12, 2007

Shut Up, John

Australian Prime Minister John Howard, who once famously described his country as America’s “deputy sheriff”, is facing strong criticism after attacking US Democractic presidential candidate Barack Obama. Using language similar to that of his good friend George W. Bush, he said:

If I were running al-Qaida in Iraq, I would put a circle around March 2008 and be praying as many times as possible for a victory, not only for Obama but also for the Democrats.

Bush himself used the same tactic to try and interfere with Australian domestic politics when he used the same sort of rhetoric to suggest that victory by the Austrlian Labor Party in the last Aussie election would benefit terrorists.

Obama responded forcefully, saying that if Howard was so keen to promote Bush’s Iraq war policies, perhaps he should send 20,000 Australian troops to Iraq. “Otherwise, it’s just empty rhetoric,” he said.

At present, Australia has about 1,400 mostly non-combatant troops in Iraq, as compared to more that 140,000 US troops. To date, more than twice as many Americans have been killed in the war as Australia currently has stationed there.

Howard continued the argument he started by claiming Obama hadn’t addressed the “substance” of his criticism. Australian Opposition Leader, Kevin Rudd, slammed Howard, saying that Howard went too far and should not be taking sides in America’s domestic policies. Polls show that Rudd is now the preferred prime minister, and his party leads Howard’s conservative coalition government in the run-up to the next Australian election.

What I see is that John Howard is interfering in American domestic politics in the same way his friend George W. Bush interfered in the last Australian election. It was wrong for Bush to do so then and it’s equally wrong for Howard to do so now. Howard should shut up before he causes any more trouble.

Update 5:04 pm: At the moment, Opposition Leader Kevin Rudd is ripping John Howard to shreds during Question Time in the Australian Parliament. Rudd called Howard's remarks "reckless" and "irresponsible". He also suggested that Howard's remarks damaged Australia's interests because he clearly suggested that the US Democratic Party, which controls the US Congress and may control the White House after the 2008 elections, is "the party of choice for terrorists". Rudd has demanded that Howard withdraw his remarks and apologise. The Opposition has introduced a motion to censure Howard.


Evil European said...

John Howard is a complete fucking arsehole anyway...this is the sort of idiotic fucking comment you would have expected from Bush's number two brown-noser (B-liar being Bush brown-noser par excellence).
Anyway, you dont make comments on domestic politics like this because you, or your party, may end up having to work with them at some point in the future. Even a brain dead moron who realise this....which is why I guess John Howard did not.
(I REALL dont like Howard!)

Arthur Schenck said...

You're right, EE, the prime minister will have to work with whoever wins the US election. It can't be Bush, so you'd think Howard would have had more sense than to alienate the man or party he or his successor may be dealing with.

As for the rest of your comments, it appears that Australians agree with you at least to some extent: Both Howard and his coalition are down in the latest polls.