Thursday, September 06, 2007

APEC: Howard, Rudd Gush to Impress Voters

Since Tuesday, John Howard has been basking in his friendship with US Presidetn Bush. Yesterday, he even issued a press release of the "media conference of mutual admiration and political praise."

John Howard was gushing in how well the war in IRaq is going, and how much we need to stay. Recent media stories of the progress towards teh 11 criteria set for the Iraq government shows 2 of 11 performance indicators only. Better than none; but hardly war-winning.

Goerge Bush, having said he wanted to stay out of Australian political campaigns was at pains to tell voters that John Howard was a man of "vision" and "a leader". Certainly John Howard has led Australia to follow George Bush's Foreign Policy on Iraq. (war, more war; and more troops, for longer)

Today, Kevin Rudd countered with his meeting with George Bush: a meeting at which he confirmed Labor's policy of withdrawing (some) troops from Iraq; but offered to send more troops to Anghanistan. Diplomacy is a 2-sided coin, after all. Details of the conversation will remain private, at Mr Bush's request.

Chinese President Hu Jintao has arrived, and announced improvements to ensure the safety of toys (following a number of toy recalls by Mattel) and while the governemnt announced a gas deal, Mr Rudd apparently spoke in Mandarin during a social event with the Chinese. He is trying to show Australian voters, and the Chinese, that he is better able to communicate by talking one-to-one with the Chinese in trade, energy or other matters. Certainly, his time as a working Diplomat gives him that advantage over John Howard.