g.maclennan at qut.edu.au
Mon Mar 31 15:56:03 MST 2003
Divisions have opened here among competing camps of advisers. The
Australian Broadcasting Corporation had been using an 'expert' Hugh White
from the Australian Strategic Policy Institute. He has modified his tone
slightly but it is still very pro-war. SBS which is the public channel for
migrants to Australia has been using an 'expert' with a background in the
Air Force (easily the most reactionary arm of the Service). He too has been
very like a sporting commentator talking up the prospects of our team i.e.
But since the week end an alternative group of experts based on the
Australian National University has come out criticising the conduct of the war.
None of this yet amounts to a problem for Howard the Prime minister. He is
still up in the polls and the cretinous and morally bankrupt leader of the
Opposition, Labor's own Simon Crean is proving a priceless asset to the
So Howard is not taking the kind of pressure that Blair is under. Last nite
on tv he seemed relaxed. By contrast Blair looks and acts like a man
trapped in a bad dream. Specially significant here was the attack on Blair
by Will Hutton of the Observer. His criticism was that Blair is hurting
the national interest by becoming the plaything of the America Right.
Much the same point could be made here in Oz, but Labor is terrified of
developing an independent foreign policy. This after all was the site
that the Cold War was fought over.
So Howard can afford to ride out the doubts that are gathering around this
Stan Goff is now less than 100% certain of an American victory. I am not
letting myself develop hopes here. But we are poised on the edge of a
possible eruption in the Arab world. Syria's Assad has come out clearly
and said he hopes for an Iraqi victory. He is doing nothing other than
give voice to the hopes of all Arabs. But note that when the war began
western commentators were saying that any demonstrations in favour of Iraq
by the Palestinians would be a big mistake by the latter. The early days
of the war were also full of comments about how the reaction in the Arab
world was less than expected.
Iraqi resistance has changed all that. Hope of a possible alternative to
humiliation has now seized hold of the Arab imagination.
The demonstration in Cairo last Friday was illegal. But the authorities
could not stop it. Who knows what will happen next Friday after the
prayers. Mubarak and his thugs must be in absolute dread.
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