Left swinging in the breeze

Tuesday, 10 July 2007 

The Iraqi foreign minister was reported to have warned that his government’s authority could be undermined if the growing Republican revolt over Bush’s Iraq policy translated to the withdrawal of US troops. Our foreign affairs minister must know how he feels. The timing of this revolt so close to the recent kerfuffle over Brendan Nelson’s comments suggests how boxed in the government is. It would be likely that Downer’s Washington contacts would have given him wind that a Republican reappraisal was underway and prompted Howard to consider downplaying the importance of Iraq from being solely about a global War on Terror to a regional issue of oil. However, this would have left him open to Labor accusations of cynicism and removed one of the few principled positions left for the government. Doing a U-turn on Iraq is not like doing one on Workchoices or GST.

One other thing; the sleeper of this election has been the eroding cohesion of the Liberals, something that has not has not yet come out because of the lack of any issue to divide them. If the Republican shift continues and the Australian government remains locked into its current position, Iraq may provide such an issue.

Posted by The Piping Shrike on Tuesday, 10 July 2007.

Filed under International relations

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