It is the policy of this website to thank America. To thank her for underwriting our national security in case we faced invasion or serious threat. To thank her for fighting for freedom on some of its most treacherous frontiers, in Iraq and elsewhere. To thank her for her example of enterprise, innovation and liberty which all countries would do well to emulate.
But the fuss about nothing over Prime Minister Rudd’s alleged assertion (most probably a joke) that President Bush didn’t know what the G20 was seems more than a little overblown. It must have been meant humorously given the phone call they had was about the G20 itself.
So the question of whether there was a “leak” of the phone call doesn’t arise.
He was merely “taking the piss”, not “leaking”, in the smarmy, superior way that many at DFAT affect. As it happens Rudd isn’t usually that uppity, at least by the standards of that snooty, effete and left-wing Arabist department.
Unlike many we regard President Bush as a good man, who faced America’s greatest challenges in recent times with quiet grace and decency.
Sometimes he made mistakes (this being the most recent of them) but liberating Iraq was not one of them. Indeed, with the “surge” working and al-Qaeda on the run, history may well vindicate him on Iraq, an issue that essentially ultimately crippled him politically.
But insulting him, in jest and with some affection, about not always seeming to be the sharpest tool in the shed, seems perfectly OK. We doubt W cares. Being “misunderestimated” (as he once put it) was part of his shtick, like President Reagan before him. Both managed to do reasonably well in life, being Governor of their state and two-term Presidents.
And both Rudd and Bush remain in firm agreement about the big issues of our time.
Whether our Prime Minister did say anything mildly disparaging about the President in front of the editor of The Australian or whoever or not strikes us as totally irrelevant. The “cut-through” of this issue beyond Canberra is just about nil. Malcolm Turnbull has been blessed with the chance of opposing a new- and often maladroit – administration that faces a global financial crisis. The opportunity for him to win in 2010 is there but he won’t do it with non-issues.