A Real Aussie Welcome for President Obama

After trying hard to make a difference in the Middle East and in Europe, President Obama appears to be changing course. He is focusing on the Pacific region instead. This is where future growth will be greatest, according to him. It is also where the US is welcome.

Unfortunately for Europe/US relations, Europe has a chip on its shoulder. A very weak shoulder as it turns out. The Europeans have their own problems now and it is no use trying to form closer alliances with them while they are struggling with financial difficulties. Europe is unfortunately shackled by traditions, and it suffers delusions of past grandeur. Yes, they were powerful once but now they are in deep trouble.

As far as the Middle East is concerned, what can one say? A basket case of disaffected people who are busy with their own political turmoil. And when that is solved, in the fullness of time, there will be economic turmoil as well. So no wonder that President Obama has decided to retreat from closer involvement with that part of the world.

Anyway, the US cannot solve the entire world’s problems. It has tried and been rebuffed too many times by envious nations. Nor should it be expected to do so when it has obligations at home.

Which leaves the developing nations of Asia, S.E. Asia as well as the developed Western nations of Australia and New Zealand. And that is sensible.

It was a pleasure to hear President Obama speak to the Australian parliament today. He is a skilled and diplomatic orator. No wonder the Australian parliament gave him a lengthy ovation. Everyone kept on clapping and clapping as he personally made certain that he shook hands with all the politicians there. Even Senator Bob Browne of the Greens was unusually courteous even though he is no fan of the US and its policies.

Prime Minister Gillard spoke very well and was impressive, but the standout speech was by Opposition Leader, Tony Abbott, who appeared more erudite than Gillard.

I wish that the public could hear him talk that way more often. Less passion, less vitriol and more reflective speeches from Abbott would do him a lot of good. He shouldn’t suppress his natural inclination to be a deep thinker. And he should reveal that side of his character to the Australian population.

It’s what is appealing about President Obama. The President is intelligent and is not ashamed to show it. Abbott is also intelligent and educated. So why not demonstrate it to us more often?

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