Friday, February 16, 2007
I know I'm late on this, but it feels too significant to ignore. Australian Prime Minister John Howard trashed Barack Obama's announcement of a deadline for the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq. This is how Obama responded: 'I think it's flattering that one of George Bush's allies on the other side of the world started attacking me the day after I announced. I would also note that we have close to 140,000 troops on the ground now, and my understanding is Mr Howard has deployed 1,400, so if he's (ready) to fight the good fight in Iraq, I would suggest that he calls up another 20,000 Australians and sends them to Iraq.' Forget the rights and wrongs here, what is important is the quality of Obama's response. It would appeal both to the right wing exceptionalists who don't trust foreigners and left wingers who just want to get out of Iraq. Furthermore, it is an unusually strong statement at this stage of the game. The right, here and in America, is desperately trying to write Obama off. But the truth is that he has real political class, he is too sharp for Hillary and too smart for the Republicans. This may mean he will fail, of course, but he is, at least, interesting.
Posted by Bryan Appleyard at 10:04 am