We seem to agree on Rudd as well, Mark, except that my meeting with him didn’t go so well. He had described U.S. foreign policy as a consistent force for good since 1945 (or something equally stout-hearted–I wasn’t taking notes.) This was before he became leader and so more likely than not to be sincere.
Later, though, he misunderstood a line about the international Marxist Left in my speech as an attack on Australian Labor, and berated me strongly. I tried to explain that I realized the Labor party was more than its own left-wing, let alone the wider post-national Left. But he wouldn’t be comforted.
Maybe he was fed up with constantly having to distance himself from the Aussie equivalent of the nutroots. Whatever the reason, his anxiety to clear Labor of any taint of extremism was and is a good sign.
And in an unrelated development–despite our mutual pessimism—a pro-American Right may even be peeping shyly forth in the UK. David Cameron is visiting Washington next week and, though the announcement is cautiously phrased, he will probably be meeting Bush on Wednesday.
That would formally end the Big Chill in Tory-GOP relations that began under Michael Howard.
Cameron is also speaking at (I think) Georgetown. That will give him an opportunity to be more pro-American than Gordon Brown. Not the stiffest test, but it would be a start. And if he doesn’t take advantage of it, well, that would be revealing too. On the whole I’d rather be in Sydney.