The Liberal Opposition leader Tony Abbott is interviewed in today’s Murdoch Australian by Greg Sheridan, a man who never saw a war he didn’t love to watch (from a distance). The message? Abbott loves America, Israel, the West, the “war on terror” and anything Washington asks. That’s not a foreign policy; its sycophancy:
I ask him whether Australia should oppose a resolution at the UN to declare a Palestinian state regardless of negotiations with Israel. Abbott replies: “My instinct would be to do nothing which would prejudice the continued viable existence of Israel. There are a number of countries close to Australia in outlook and values and Israel is certainly one of those [ed: so Australia values a violent occupation of another people?]. Israel is under existential threat in ways that probably no other country on Earth is and it does no good for Australia to seek brownie points with other countries by trifling with Israel’s security.”
Howard was the most pro-Israel prime minister Australia has produced. Abbott would be in Howard’s tradition, and perhaps even more so than Howard.
Abbott’s choice of the statesman he has most admired is, unsurprisingly, Winston Churchill, “the greatest democratic leader the world has seen”.
“In more recent times, Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan would rank up there with the best of them.”
But then he adds a perhaps surprising choice: “At least as a foreign policy prime minister, I also think Tony Blair made a very important and influential contribution.”
What Abbott likes about these leaders is that they didn’t apologise for Western civilisation and Western values. Apology is unlikely to be the dominant motif of Abbott’s foreign policy either.