Skip to comments.Bush has done us no harm, says PM
Posted on 08/15/2004 7:54:33 AM PDT by Jakarta ex-pat
THREE years into the war on terror, two years after the Bali bombing and more than a year after the invasion of Iraq, John Howard's support for the international strategy of President George W.Bush is undiminished.
However, like other Australians, the Prime Minister worries about US cultural influence.
"People in Australia at times worry about (US) cultural overreach. I do, too. Despite my being typified as being very pro-American, I'm a fierce defender of a distinctive Australian cultural identity."
But on the political front, he believes that Bush is absurdly demonised and that Australia's closeness to the Bush administration has done us no harm in Asia, not even in Muslim countries.
Howard's overall judgment of Bush's handling of the war on terror, given in a lengthy interview with The Australian, is that "he's done a remarkable job in a difficult situation".
He makes the point that it is impossible to judge the war on terror, or even the operation in Iraq, by taking a single snapshot at some point and deciding it doesn't look good.
"No recent president has had the sort of unexpected challenge that he's had," Howard says.
"When unexpected things come along, in the end the leadership and the behaviour of people is judged by the ultimate outcome.
"There would have been various stages in World War II when people would have questioned the success of the leadership in the great democracies when things weren't going well.
"It (the war on terror) has got years to go. I think, given the inevitable transparency and propensity for criticism within a huge open democracy, they (the Bush administration) have done very well."
Indeed, Howard points out that the policies of Democrat presidential challenger John Kerry have moved closer to those of Bush on Iraq.
He draws an unflattering contrast between the relative bipartisanism on substance that Kerry offers Bush, or that Britain's Conservative opposition leader, Michael Howard, offers Tony Blair, and the position of Australia's Opposition Leader, Mark Latham.
"Certainly, Kerry is much closer to Bush on Iraq than Latham is to Howard on Iraq. Kerry's not talking about troops home by Christmas," Howard says.
"In both the US and the UK, with political allegiances transposed, you've got, essentially, a common position. I know that Michael Howard has nuanced his position but not to the point of saying he's in favour of British troops coming home by Christmas, certainly not.
"It remains my view the Australian Labor Party stumbled into that position and the leader is too stubborn to change it."
I won't go there.
Considering Hollywood's crap, rap music, and stupid reality shows that we are exporting, I can see the PM's point about overreaching US cultural influence
>>Howard's overall judgment of Bush's handling of the war on terror, given in a lengthy interview with The Australian, is that "he's done a remarkable job in a difficult situation".
Well said, Mr. Prime Minister.
Hmmmm. Very good point.
I can understand a desire to protct what makes a country unique, I want to protect our own culture. However, the way this is phrased makes it sound as though we have sent an empirical hand to alter how their society will define itself.
He is right Kerry has shifted closer to G.W on the war. Important to note- Kerry means nothing of what he says. He'll say what is necessary to be elected than do what comes naturally to him. Treaties, withdrawals, and giving the UN the power to determine our actions.
I thank Australia and their Prime Minister for their support.
As a resident of Thailand for much of each year, I agree with you and PM Howard. The influence of popular culture has little to do with basic Western Values and much to do with down and out slease. Countries with values compatible with ours should not mess with them or they are likely to emulate the Noam Chompksy / Michael Jackson / Micheal Moore branch of America.
The first thing I thought was "what's next; stories about how the Americans are secretly implanting chips in Aussies to turn them into sort of Stepford Americans?"
I would guess that Oz got more misfits, prisoners and exiles than the US did, but over a shorter span, albeit at a faster pace than the US in the colonial period.
I think the socialistic tendencies in their polity started about the same time they did in all the 'White Dominions' of the British Empire.
Not sure of exact dates but Canada, Australia and New Zealand all moved towards self government and some replication of UK politics around the same time, say 1880s on (I know, confederation is 1870 in Canada), with divions into Liberals (whatever their local name), Labor and United Empire Loyalist types (traditionalists, conservatives, imperialists).
You can't have a lot of confidence in the strength of your own culture if you're that terrified the "forners" are gonna take it away from you. I doubt this was the authors intent, but the whole article screams "fear"
Don't fall into that kind of lazy thinking. No one is forcing them to buy anything. If they don't like rap music, Hollywood movies, Starbucks, etc... they don't have to buy it. They also shouldn't confuse what we consume with our culture. They shouldn't blame us for their choices. (For all of France's complaints, the McDonald's in France are most profitable in Europe.) The US has no problems with appropriating other cultures these days.
The old line about nobody is forcing them to buy it is a red herring. It presumes a perfect world where we a) Are exposed to all the choices and b) Are mature enough to make rational choices.
The (not so good) parts of Amercian culture that we import are mainly in the realms of youth. They have neither a) nor b). What we do have here though is culture via advertising or via music and music video. Advertising is paid for and is made to influence the buying public (ie the youth) and the music video shows are extremely cheap TV and are also promoting sales. So the nobody is forcing this cr*p down their throat line is also BS.
Try thinking beyond your slogans!
So it's the US's fault that you can't raise mature kids to think for themselves? Now who's not thinking beyond slogans? If the things that make Australian culture unique isn't strong enough to survive on its own, maybe it deserves to be replaced.
Watch it sport, you do not want to get into a cultural flame war with Oz.
For one thing we know more about Murrican culture and its absurdities than you know about ours.
Australian culture is irreplaceable. Amongst youth in this generation it has been replaced by iconic advertising non sense. Any truely great cuture is a fragile thing and must be nurtured and kept close to the heart. Ressistance is not futile and I for one refuse to be assimilated into the cultural Borg.