The new P.M. is likely to go Howard's way on foreign policy, too. What he described as "fundamental differences" with Howard — his vows to ratify the Kyoto Protocol on climate change and pull troops from Iraq — are largely symbolic. Though Australia is outside the Kyoto regime, the country has met its emissions targets. And on the question of a successor treaty to Kyoto, Rudd in mid-campaign abruptly took the Howard position: a Labor government would not ratify Kyoto II unless it required China and India to limit their emissions. On Iraq, Rudd has moderated Labor's earlier "pull-out-now" policy. He says he will bring home the 1,400 Australian troops in Iraq and the Gulf gradually, in a "negotiated, staged withdrawal." He is prepared to send more troops to Afghanistan.Reminds me of France’s president Nikolas Sarkozy. He marketed himself as critical of Anglo-Saxon capitalism during the campaign but immediately turned pro-American and instituted market-oriented policies after gaining power. He is now battling the unions and is apparently winning.
Australia under Labor will remain a "rock solid" friend of the U.S., Rudd has said, but reserve the right to act "independently." Rudd, who spent eight years as a diplomat in Beijing, has criticized China's human-rights record but appears more sympathetic to the People's Republic than Howard. Rudd rejected the Howard government support of a potential alliance between the U.S., Australia, Japan and India, saying China would feel encircled.
Sunday, November 25, 2007
A new era for Australia?
Australia has a new prime minister in the person of Kevin Rudd, who promised to pull out Aussie troops in Iraq and ratify the Kyoto Protocol. Are we going to see a sea-change in how Australia will do its economic and foreign policy? Time Magazine’s observations are interesting: