As another lengthy mortar attack slams into the Green Zone, killing three and wounding 18, John Howard tells everyone in Australia to "take a deep breath". He insists that neither the USA nor Australia is even thinking of withdrawal.
"I don't believe that there is going to be any change from the course on which the Administration has set itself over recent months," he said.Bush is also insisting that there will be no changes before September. But events may now be out of Bush's (and Howard's) hands.
The US Democrats were widely criticized when they attached milestones to the last military spending bill rather than just sending it back to the White House. But now the next military spending bill is due, and NONE of those milestones have been met by the Iraqi government. The surge is not working, and GOP senators and congressmen are revolting (no, really). Al-Maliki's government is clearly ineffectual and on the point of collapse.
Howard is desperately gambling that there will be no significant change in US policy prior to the Australian election. He may get lucky. But "no change" is still not good news for Howard: his party remains hobbled by the profound negative affect of this ongoing war.
Meanwhile, there are dark mutterings about the Moti affair in the Solomons. Has our nation's foreign policy achieve anything at all of lasting significance in the past decade? I'll leave you with an excerpt from today's Jakarta Post editorial:
While from an Australian point of view securing energy resources may be a legitimate reason for sending its troops into harm's way, it is the poorest of excuses for the thousands of Iraqis who have died and would have not profited from the oil bonanza even if they were alive.
This episode clearly shows Australia's true colors. It is also a reminder that when dealing with our neighbor down under, their foreign policy talk of good governance and democracy is not necessarily spurred by the goodness of their hearts.
It is plain for everyone to see that the red blood on their hands can easily be washed off by the pitch black of oil.
We understand the art of diplomacy, the demands of national interests and the necessities of deceit in foreign policy. But touting democracy to conceal greed taints the ideals to which Indonesia and other democracies also adhere.
Sadly Australia, like the United States, in this case is acting like a corporation rather than a country by starting wars for profit.
No wonder some experts expect an anti-democracy backlash sometime in the future, in retaliation for the way this benevolent ideology has been hypocritically imposed and enforced.
Now that they have admitted they were in Iraq for the oil, we can fully expect to one day hear Australia confess they were in East Timor for the same reason.