Flying back from Philadelphia last night I sat next to a man suffering through the second leg of a grueling transatlantic journey from Germany to Seattle, shoehorned into a seat that seemed designed to taunt his 6-foot, 4-inch frame. I suppose I should have shown him more mercy considering his sleep deprived state, but I couldn’t help myself, and so we ended up talking politics. He was on a rare trip back to the states after spending most of the past three decades as a civilian military employee in Germany, and I just had to ask about the German attitude towards the US these days.
“They hate us,” he replied without hesitation. And not just the Germans he said, but throughout Europe, the United States as a nation (as opposed to individual Americans) is feared and loathed. Thank you Mr. Bush.
Since squandering the near global goodwill lavished on us in the tragic aftermath of 9/11, the US has become a nation without political allies. Indeed, being identified as an ally of President Bush has become a recipe for political suicide, with first the UK’s Tony Blair biting the dust, and then Poland’s hateful Kaczynski twins. And yesterday it was Australian voters’ turn to repudiate Bush’s disastrous policies:
Bush’s closest ally, Australian neanderthal John Howard “suffered a humiliating defeat” today. Kevin Rudd, a moderate left candidate will be the new prime minister and he has promised to overturn the ultra-reactionary Bush-like policies of his predecessor, particularly in regard to Global Warming and Iraq. Bush’s only ally left in the entire world on Global Warming is now Oklahoma crazy right-wing senator, James Inhofe. Rudd won a clear parliamentary majority and it looks like Howard may actually lose his own suburban Sydney seat to boot! […] Rudd campaigned on promises that “his first acts as prime minister will include pushing for the ratification of the Kyoto climate agreement and to negotiate the withdrawal of Australian combat troops from Iraq,” both seen as repudiations of George Bush’s embarrassing leadership.
And oh yeah, with Rudd’s victory it now seems likely that Midnight Oil singer (and Senator) Peter Garrett will join the new cabinet as Environmental Minister.