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An historic fourth term for Australia’s John Howard

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Have I ever mentioned how much I love Australia?

I think that most Americans, liberal and conservative alike, have admired the antipodean nation. But now, American liberals might just like it a bit less.

Liberal Party leader John Howard just got re-elected Prime Minister. It will be the fourth term for Howard, and is the second-longest term ever served by an Aussie PM. Howard is a staunch ally of the U.S. and a major ally in the War on Terror/in Iraq. His win assures that Australian troops will remain in Iraq.

If Mark Latham’s Labor Party had won, all 850 Australian troops would have been brought home by Christmas (or so he promised). It could have been disastrous, as the Coalition had already lost Spain in March after they’d been attacked by Al-Qaeda with the Madrid commuter-train bombing.

Instead, Australian voters decided their stable economy was of greater concern and trusted Howard to keep it on track. Their housing market is affordable, there is strong employment, interest rates are low and the stock market riding high. A free trade agreement with America, that Howard negotiated (and which the opposition Labor party itself endorsed), will only help.

Mark Latham, in addition to his endorsement of the free trade agreement, had also tried to paint himself as pro-American and strong on security by backing the U.S. Alliance, striving to put his differences with Bush aside. But Howard has already proven himself with regard to security issues with his pro-active stance toward terror and strong border control against illegal immigrants. Australians may have decided that, despite their opposition to the Iraq War, that maintaining strong ties to the United States and Britain is pragmatic and sensible.

In fact, Howard’s victory reminds of a sign I saw in the Marxist Society’s office at the university I used to work for. In April, they posted a sign in their window that showed:

Bush
Blair
Aznar
Howard
Berlusconi

Aznar’s name was crossed out. The point? We’ve gotten rid of one evil member of this war coalition, so said the stupid-ass campus socialists, and soon they’ll be many others. They expected Howard to fall next, followed by Bush, followed by Blair.

But Blair is expected to win Britain’s 2005 General Election, Bush is in a tight race with Kerry, but is by no means out; Americans still trust him more with national security issues. And as for Howard, well, Mark Latham and Labor were a dead cert with their promise to pull out of Iraq.

Think again. The rest of the coalition won’t be broken up that easily, as Australian voters proved.

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  • http://semioclast.com ben

    you call that a coalition? 850 troops? that’s one of the key members of your coalition? more us soldiers have died in iraq than austrailia has provided and you’re implying that those troops will somehow spell the difference between “victory” and “defeat”? are you serious?

  • boomcrashbaby

    I agree with comment 1, 100%, but should just add that one of the complaints of the American liberal is that there isn’t a coalition worthy of the title. So if Austrailia is leaving their 850 troops in Iraq, then liberals prefer that over them pulling out. Ideally, they would contribute more, but 850 is better than zero, so liberals are glad to hear of Austrailia’s election results.

  • http://www.resonation.ca Jim Carruthers

    I think it needs to be pointed out that in a Parliamentary system, voters don’t vote for the Prime Minister unless they are in his riding. They vote for the member of Parliament to represent their riding. The party with the most members and the confidence of Parliament forms the government.

    So to spin this as a poll on the occupation of Iraq is mis-leading. Considering how the Australian government treated Afghan refugees it is hardly an endorsement.

    And those so-called “free-trade” deals with the USA aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. How much trade does Australia do with the USA anyway?

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ

    “there isn’t a coalition worthy of the title”

    When a gay man shits on an entire country, is it considered group scat?

  • boomcrashbaby

    I said: “one of the complaints of the American liberal…”

    Your Royal Highness, it’s been a long time since we’ve killed the messenger for the message, should I notify the guard it’s time to start the practice up again?

    The ladies must be bangin down the door to get a piece of that class.

    I respect all the troops in the coalition and I respect the Iraqis who are working with us to rebuild their nation into a great country. I do believe the coalition is far too lop-sided, but I believe other countries have to look at their own populace first and foremost and we all know this isn’t a popular war (meaning Iraq) elsewhere in the world. Many people around the world, while wanting to help us fight terror, see Iraq as Bush’s War. I didn’t tell them to think that, RJ.

  • http://www.tude.com/ Hal Pawluk

    Isn’t it amazing how everything that happens in the world breaks positively for the Right-wing, just “twisting in the wind” until it’s blown into a caricature of reality?

    We used to own a beachfront condo (a “unit”) in Surfers, and I guarantee that all the Aussies I know disagree with Howard’s stance on Iraq and are pissed at the Bush double-cross.

    The Aussies were supposed to get a “Free Trade Agreement” in exchange for supporting W. on Iraq, but instead got a U.S. protectionist bill, see The “Cargo Cult” is alive and well – today it’s called “free trade” for details.

    Pfui on your propaganda.

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ

    If Howard had been beaten, the MSM would have been going berzerk about how Bush can’t keep allies, and about how alliances with the Bush administration = political suicide.

    But Howard won. So the MSM is conspicuously silent about this great victory for the US-led coalition.

    Bias? I report, you decide…

  • Shark

    Yhe Neo-Con Right are apparently unable to feel any shame whatsoever, but desperate times call for desperate assertions, eh?

    The “US led coalition”?

    ~ahahahah!

    Australia?!

    Yeah, gawd forbid that our “allies” in the “coalition” withdraw their TOTAL OF 850 TROOPS.

    (Less than the current number of American GI’s killed, btw!)

    Thanks, Aussies! Losing 850 soldiers could jeopardize our awesome [ongoing] “Victory” in Iraq.

  • bob2112

    Missouri has more troops than Australia in the ‘Coalition of the Lemmings.’ Our politics are quite different from theirs, so I do not read too much into the Aussie Asshole victory. Dude is not Bush, period.

  • alma renner

    how can i get a picture of prime minister of australia john howard.thanks for your help.sincerely,almarenner 6530 40th ave,sacramento,calif usa 95824-2020

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    >>Dude is not Bush, period.<< One thing they do have in common – they both won reelection by a respectable margin despite being involved in the War in Iraq. Perhaps that should tell you something – but then you’d have to be listening… Dave