Australia Has a New Government; What Will it Think About the US?
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  • Jacksonian_Libertarian

    “the general world feeling is that the US has had two failed presidents in a row.”

    This is garbage, Bush was feared by our enemies (Kaddafi gave up his Nuclear Program, and Bush didn’t even look at him hard), and respected by our allies (he created a coalition of the willing containing 40+ allies). Obama is a failed president, his unbroken record of failure is obvious to people around the world.

    • Kevin

      Bush was not well liked by Western publics.

      The Bush Administration’s getting Libya out of WMDs was well done. I think Obama turning on Qadafi after that was a huge mistake.

      The US ought to cultivate a reputation a scrupulously living up to even implicit agreements with regimes that mend their ways. The unspoken deal with these sorts of regimes ought to be that if they back away from developing WMDs and supporting terrorism we will not support their foreign or domestic enemies.

      Helping rebels overthrow and kill Qadafiy

    • Corlyss

      I have to dispute that, Jack. After Bush invaded Iraq, he was NOT much feared by others in the region because he’d committed so much resources to the Iraq war. He was riding high on sympathy and a bit of international desire to see us take some hide off the ankle-biting terrorists.
      For my money, we’ve had 3 failed presidents in a row. I’ve not made up my mind about Bush senior.

      • Bruno_Behrend

        Bush senior was worse than all, as he gave Saddam his airforce back, allowing Kurds and Shiites to be slaughtered.

        Iraq 2 would not have been necessary had Bush 1 had the moral courage of his son.

        W handed Obama a middle east on the cusp of the Arab spring, and nearly every step Obama has made has been wrong.

        In spite of missteps, Iraq was a victory that ended a horrible and potentially dangerous dictatorship.

        No president is perfect, but with W, you hada an inkling of what was coming down the pike.

        With Obama it has become a guess as to how he will surpass every ‘worst case’ scenario.

        • Jim__L

          So you think that Tel Aviv is going to get nuked in the next five years or so?

          (You did say “worst case scenario”…)

        • Corlyss

          “Bush senior was worse than all, as he gave Saddam his airforce back, allowing Kurds and Shiites to be slaughtered.

          Iraq 2 would not have been necessary had Bush 1 had the moral courage of his son.”

          Bingo, Bruno! You’ve pinpointed my reservations in one. I think of him as a nice man totally out of his depth except for the fact that he’d been the Republicans’ factotum in some critical areas where he learned some things that stood him in good stead. He was basically a time server default “we got nobody better to put here,” and not in a good way. To this day, if I think too much about his decision to stop Gulf 1 rather than humiliate and depose Saddam because Gen. Powell said “it looks bad on tv,” I fly into a hysterical rage. Not good for me to thus dwell, but I know he blinked. It’s just one of history’s tragedies that Bush Jr was not up to what the job demanded.

      • Jim__L

        Iran’s nuclear program was put on hold after we invaded Iraq, and on the subject of Afghan drug traffickers we were actually cooperating with Iranian law enforcement organizations, who saw more casualties on that front than the US did in total in Afghanistan (at least for a while.)

        Only in America does anyone think that US military spending hit some kind of cap with Iraq and Afghanistan. An extra $150B / year added to the deficit, certainly, but in terms of our overall budget that number isn’t that big. If we were to pursue it with WWII-style rigor and home front willpower, an invasion of Iran (and even its aftermath) would not be beyond us economically.

        Domestic spending would probably have to fall, it’s true, and we would have to make a few sacrifices, but only in America is that seen as an absolute impossibility. Other countries look at our economic power and decide (quite rightly) that if we really wanted to, we could do it.

        Call GWB a screwup if you like — overselling WMD, downplaying the possibility of post-Saddam chaos, and the blunder of thinking of Shiites as a “minority” were gaffes of the highest order — but the US is far from as weak militarily as you seem to think.

        It’s the will that may or may not be missing, not the capacity.

        • Corlyss

          “Iran’s nuclear program was put on hold after we invaded Iraq”

          Only briefly, until they realized they were not next after all.

          “we were actually cooperating with Iranian law enforcement organizations”

          Not dispositive of anything The US has worked with them off and on for 34 years as interests converge.

          “Only in America does anyone think that US military spending hit some kind of cap with Iraq and Afghanistan.”

          I know no one who thinks or thought that.

          “Call GWB a screwup if you like — overselling WMD”

          I do. He was 100% right about the WMD. Where he was wrong was the same way that Dear Leader has been wrong for the last 2 weeks in his Syria policy (which is different from the myriad ways he’s been wrong for the last 18 months on Syria): he messed about trying to satisfy Colin “You break it you own it” Powell instead of kicking the crap out of SH when the idea first occurred to him. With 6 months lead time, I, then a 57 yr old woman, could have gone to Iraq and loaded the WMD in my Tahoe and moved them out of harm’s way. As it was, the Russians got in there and moved ’em to Syria. There has been no credible question about THAT fact, that the Russians moved them out of Iraq before the first American sortie knocked out his command and control facilities.

          “It’s the will that may or may not be missing, not the capacity.”
          Jim, you’re being uncharacteristically sophistic with this one. Of course it’s the will that counts. Will is part of capacity. It don’t matter a fig how many missiles, planes, air craft carrier battle groups we have or can bring to bear on a situation if we are unwilling to do so. To paraphrase Madeline Albright, we might as well NOT have them if we won’t use them. It’s that simple. This president’s complete lack of ability to pull the trigger is all that is in issue here.

          • Jim__L

            Eh, at worst it’s an emotional reaction rather than sophistry. I know a lot of people who work very hard to make sure that this country’s capacities are without peer, and have done some small part that way myself.

            All we need to make it work is one guy whose strategic thinking and leadership can inspire confidence and support. That’s a significantly different geopolitical position than, say, old Europe. Or Russia. Or anyone else in the world, for that matter.

            As for whether anyone thinks that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are “imperial overstretch” and the highest tide the US defense budget will ever see, ask yourself what VM’s very own resident troll (and the rest of his ilk) would think. I realize it would be better to ask what a rational human being would think, but that’s not always what we’re working with, where Lefties are concerned.

  • Jim__L

    “Australia has been one of America’s staunchest allies since US forces came to the rescue in World War Two, and there aren’t many people in Australia who want that to change.”

    Although there are shortsighted ideologues in Australia. I was talking to an Aussie (with EU sympathies) recently, and in the same conversation he cited both his appreciation of US military spending as it benefits Australia (he grinned like the Aussies were getting away with something) and the very Euro thought that the US spent far more money than it should on defense.

    I wonder what he would think if the US were to bring our defense budget into line with European norms by abandoning (among others) Australia?

  • Jason

    Two corrections to the sentence “In the old Australian Party, a minority Liberal government needed Green
    votes to stay in power. As a result, the Greens were able to protect a
    controversial cap and trade program that most observers say contributed
    to the Labor loss.” First, you mean “minority Labor government.” Second, the Labor government and the Greens passed a carbon tax (under Julia Gillard). When she was ousted three months ago, Kevin Rudd moved to a cap and trade program.

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