Making the wrong kind of friends

Murdoch’s Australian desperately tries to spin the importance of John Howard’s recent trip to Washington:

John Howard’s trip to the US, Canada and Ireland, which has already achieved substantive benefits for Australia and the world, demonstrates this. But even more importantly, the trip has shown just how far Australia has come in the past 20 years. Two decades ago, it would have been inconceivable that an Australian prime minister would have been given the sort of pomp and ceremony-rich reception Mr Howard has just received in the US. Today, Australia, despite its relatively small population and economy, is widely respected as a significant player and independent voice on the world stage.

Is the paper not aware of Bush’s fading presidency, likely defeat in the November elections, devastation in Iraq and worsening situation in Afghanistan, state-sanctioned torture in secret prisons around the world and illegal wire-tapping of average Americans? The paper doesn’t care:

The trip has been a great success so far. And it proves Australia is not the “arse end” of anything.

What does it mean exactly to be respected by the Bush administration? Nothing matters more to the Murdoch empire than remaining close to US power (and “His-Master’s-Voice” is never far away.)

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