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Why Rudd should not be Foreign Minister

Peter Van Onselen has an excellent article which reminds us of the reasons why Kevin Rudd will probably not be a very good Foreign Minister at all:

In a globalised world, international affairs is more than the preserve of theoreticians and ideologues who dream of a world government. It is an anarchical environment where countries push self-interest with the veneer of rules governing the game. It requires government representatives to massage those rules to national advantage, and to ensure Australia has not just a seat at the table when agreements are being drawn up, but the capacity to use such positioning.

Rudd just isn’t up to that task. He isn’t a people person, never has been. He doesn’t understand economics, never really has.

He doesn’t respect business, all the more so after his ill-fated mining tax contributed to his downfall.

That all adds up to Rudd being the wrong person in the wrong job at the wrong time for the nation.

When you consider the job Rudd did on foreign affairs when he was prime minister, it belies his strong interest and training in the field. On his first Asian trip he didn’t even visit Japan, one of Australia’s major trading partners.

He violated the confidence of former US President George W. Bush by passing on the contents of their private conversation about the G20 simply to big-note himself.

China, the new saviour of Australia’s trading economy, was insulted by Rudd’s handling of its stance at the Copenhagen Conference, purely because Rudd had domestic political interests in mind. And India, a major growth economy, has been denied access to Australian uranium under his watch, damaging the relationship.

The only thing right about Rudd’s appointment as foreign minister is that it avoids his having a dummy spit and forcing a by-election in his Queensland electorate, which could bring down the minority Gillard government. (Perhaps an added benefit is that he will be overseas a lot — plenty of his colleagues worry he will be a constant source of cabinet leaks) Can anyone for a moment imagine Rudd putting his best foot forward on behalf of Australian businesses when traversing the globe?

This is the man who thought the global financial crisis was a turning point in history which would lead to a new epoch, one that would end the Hayekian approach to economic liberalism businesses rely on. He won’t be championing Australia in his new role — he’ll be championing his misguided interpretation of the world. But don’t think Gillard isn’t aware of all of the above.


  1. Indi Warrior says:

    Peter Van Onselen writes in The Australian, what a surprise!

    Do yourself a favor and read something outside of the Murdoch stable.

  2. Iain Hall says:

    I W
    This post is Leon’s and I am sure that like myself he reads very widely and in fact if you look to the sidebar of the blog you will see that I link to and cite many news sources other than those in the Murdoch stable. In fact I would suggest that you yourself should actually read more than just Fairfax, Pravada and the Guardian in the UK 😉

  3. Ray Dixon says:

    Another great copy & paste post from Leon with no review, no commentary and no opinion expressed. Well, why think for yourself when The Australian can just do it for you?

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