Thursday, August 20, 2009
From Latham's impressive Financial Review column today:
"A curious feature of the Rudd government has been the compliance of Labor's Left on defence and foreign policy. In a high-profile speech to the Australian American Leadership Dialogue in Washington last year, Julia Gillard declared herself to be a rusted-on supporter of ANZUS, designating to the US: "a unique role . . . in the world we try to help to build, in the civilisation we want to persist and prevail".
There was a time, of course, when the Left criticised America for its human rights abuses, gun-toting social values and imperialist foreign policy. Now the titular head of its parliamentary faction has declared the US (and remember at the time, this was George W. Bush's America) to be a champion of global civilisation. I cannot allow the wrongness and hypocrisy of this statement to go unchallenged.
Over the years I have received tender messages from Gillard saying how much she misses me in Canberra. One of them concerned her study tour of the US, sponsored by the American government in 2006 - or to use her moniker - "a CIA re-education course". She asked me to "stand by for emails explaining George Bush is a great statesman, torture is justified in many circumstances and those Iraqi insurgents should just get over it".
She promised "to catch up when I'm back from the US and I'll show you my CIA-issued ankle holster".
I never got to see her ankles or her holster, but I will say this: you have to hand it to those guys in Washington, they have a way of making lefties like Gillard change their minds on foreign policy. Within the space of two years they converted her from a highly cynical critic of all matters American into yet another political sycophant. The poor woman has been brainwashed."
Here's Annabel Crabb's take.