THE United States embassy in Canberra (right) advised President Barack Obama not to make the provocative, anti-Abbott speech on climate change which he made at the University of Queensland in Brisbane. That the President acted against the advice of his own embassy reveals a deeply divided and in part dysfunctional Obama administration…
The speech was not only damaging for Tony Abbott, as it will be used by all his deadshit opponents, like Tanya Plibersek, on climate change up until the next election, it was a disaster for US foreign policy, because the gratuitous climate change remarks completely overshadowed all the regional and security content which Obama’s foreign policy team wanted to be the main point of his major address on his Asian tour. A few days later, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop gave Obama a ''bitch-slap'' by correcting him about his incorrect statements about Australia's Great Barrier Reef.
Obama’s speech was deliberately designed to hurt Abbott… Historians of the relationship cannot cite a single similar example of a visiting president going out of his way to wound an Australian prime
There was also an element of cowardice in the speech. Obama would never have given that speech at home before the congressional mid-term elections. There would have been some courage in such a speech delivered, say, in West Virginia, or Ohio, a week before the mid-terms. What was Obama’s purpose? Can one more celebrity orgasm really be more important to the President than maintaining his relationship with his closest ally in Asia? Was Obama preparing for his post-presidential life, as a new and improved Al Gore?
Simon Benson of the Sydney Daily Telegraph adds:
''EARS are still ringing in the US embassy in Canberra after one unlucky State Department official received a terse phone call last weekend… The caller ... a senior staffer from ... Tony Abbott’s office and rang to express their displeasure at not being afforded the courtesy of a forewarning that the US President was planning to come to Australia to dump on the PM. ''
The caller demanded to know why the Prime Minister’s office had not been given a “heads up” about Obama’s G20 climate change stunt. After all, that’s what friends do, right? Or in this case don’t do. They don’t blindside them.I enjoy very much this kind of briefing from Abbott officials - painting the picture of Obama hitting back after losing the Senate and House of Reps and being shown up for the failure that so many US voters now see:
''One has to consider why [Obama] didn’t make his line-in-the-sand speech on climate change before the mid-term elections and, well, to a domestic audience in America…
There are those who also believe the US administration has also been waiting for a chance to give Abbott a serve....'' added Benson.
The US was also annoyed at Australia’s free-trade agreement with Japan, believing it undermined its own domestic ambitions being pursued through the Trans Pacific Partnership. It is also still smarting over the PM’s use of veto to kill the Graincorp deal.
Abbott has also been perceived by some officials to have shown Obama up on several occasions — most notably his refusal to go to water over the Snowdon leaks like Obama did and, more recently, his hawkish and early calls on action against Islamic State terrorists, which Obama had been accused of having no clear plan to deal with.
Senior officials are now hoping the rupture caused by Obama’s speech doesn’t have implications for other more important aspects of the US-Australia relationship, which is
Combined with a conservative government in NZ, already there are four members of the Five Eyes intelligence network led by centre-right conservatives. And this at a time when the fifth and most powerful member, the US, is not only under the command of a president who abandoned the centre for the left, but whose power has been circumscribed...
Add the conservative leaders of Japan and India, and the strong personal relationships Abbott has with them, and a significant conservative power bloc emerges already in the Indo-Asia-Pacific with links to the northern hemisphere in the UK and Canada.
Obama, who has strayed perilously away from the centre, appears now to be the odd man out. The question is that, if the status quo remains in place for the foreseeable future — and should the Republicans win office in 2016 — an unprecedented conservative global grouping could be established that has the potential to have profound impact on the changing world order, just as the Tony Blair-Bill Clinton pact — as short-lived as it was — did in the ’90s with a power grouping of centre-left social democratic governments across the Atlantic.
The shift to centre-right government among the major partners of the US has implications for a range of issues — most notably on national and global security. “The Republicans will win presidency in 2016. I wonder if anyone has considered that all Five Eyes partners could be led by centre-right governments in 2017,” offers a senior intelligence source. “Throw in conservative governments in control in India and Japan, and it’s worth pondering.”
The Way I See It......it was obvious this week when the conservative global intelligence think-tank Stratfor published a critique of Obama’s next two years and what it will mean for the world.
“We don’t normally comment on US domestic political affairs unless they affect international affairs,’’ wrote Stratfor’s CEO George Friedman (photo right). “However, it is necessary to consider American political affairs because they are likely to have a particular effect on international relations,”
“We have now entered the final phase of Barack Obama’s presidency, and like those of several other presidents since World War II, it is ending in what we call a state of failure. “When the president’s support has fragmented to the point that he is fighting to recover his base, I consider that a failed presidency — particularly when Congress is in the hands of the opposition.
“His energy cannot be directed toward new initiatives. It is directed toward recovering his base. “Looking at the timing of his decline, the only intruding event that might have had that impact was the rise of the Islamic State and a sense, even in his own party, that he did not have an effective response to it.
“The president is actively trying to save his legacy in the face of enormous domestic weakness. The last two years of a failed presidency are mostly about foreign policy and are not very pleasant to watch.” A call for more effective US leadership in Iraq and more US support for Israel might not go astray, either.