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Regarding Ralph Cossa’s Dec. 24 article, “U.S., Australia ‘still mates’“: Cossa warps his analysis to fit his preconceived hopes and political ideology, and does so with a superficiality, sophistry and flippancy that demands a response. As Cossa says, the United States needs to “get over 9/11,” and, I would add, many of the demands stemming from it that the U.S. has made on its allies.

Cossa focuses on differences between new Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and the U.S. over the Kyoto agreement, but this is superficial. The differences go far beyond the Kyoto agreement. Under Rudd, Australia will likely have a foreign policy much more independent of that of the U.S. than during the Howard years. Cossa blithely dismisses Rudd’s commitment to withdraw Australian combat troops from Iraq. But he fails to acknowledge that this is a severe blow to the U.S.-led, self-appointed “coalition of the willing.”

Cossa’s analysis appears to be based on the conference cocktail camaraderie he has with like-minded Australian officials. While they may well be “mates” during cocktail hour, it is quite a leap to translate that to the foreign policies of the U.S. and Australia with both under new leadership. Cossa would do well to reflect on the old realist maxim “There are no permanent friends, only permanent interests.”

mark valencia

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