29 Aug. 2007

Bush To Howard: Stuff APEC, I'm Busy Nuking Iran

Greg Sheridan is Rupert Murdoch's political point-man in Australia, so it would be foolish to brush off his suggestion that Bush might miss APEC as idle speculation. In fact, coupled with rumours of an impending strike on Iran and the looming media charade of the Petraeus report, I think this column from Sheridan is most likely a media softener for the coming announcement.

Speaking of Murdoch, only Teh Oz would start a story on the latest Lowy institute survey like this:
AUSTRALIANS hold the United States in high regard but...
By contrast, the leftwing radicals at the ABC headline the same story:
Bush turning Aussies off US: poll
As Darryl Mason suggests, if Bush misses APEC, Howard's polling team may not mind at all. But the man himself will be mightily miffed!

Bush's APEC absence might make a big difference to the Sydney traffic next week, but it would will be another massive blow to US influence in the Asia Pacific, a public slap in the face for Howard's subservience, and "something of a metaphor for the near future of Australia as we settle into our place in a rapidly changing world order".

UPDATE: The White House is denying that Bush has any plans not to come. But they would say that, wouldn't they? Meanwhile, Bush's obligation to deal with the Petraeus report just got lightened a little with the pre-emptive leak of a GAO report that is "strikingly negative".

Ominously, however, Cheney appears ever more determined to launch an attack on Iran no matter what. Juan Cole has published leaked details from "someone in one of the leading neo-conservative institutions" ...
They [the source's institution] have "instructions" (yes, that was the word used) from the Office of the Vice-President to roll out a campaign for war with Iran in the week after Labor Day; it will be coordinated with the American Enterprise Institute, the Wall Street Journal, the Weekly Standard, Commentary, Fox, and the usual suspects. It will be heavy sustained assault on the airwaves, designed to knock public sentiment into a position from which a war can be maintained. Evidently they don't think they'll ever get majority support for this--they want something like 35-40 percent support, which in their book is "plenty."
More at Informed Comment.

Finally, Josh Marshall has a very enigmatic little post up today at TPM:
But even the President of the United States
Sometimes must have
To stand naked.
-- Bob Dylan
Something's up. Either Josh is pissed as a newt, celebrating his hard-earned defeat of Gonzales, or he knows something too. Interesting times...