Bell Curve The Law Talking Guy Raised by Republicans U.S. West
Well, he's kind of had it in for me ever since I accidentally ran over his dog. Actually, replace "accidentally" with "repeatedly," and replace "dog" with "son."

Friday, September 07, 2007

News Item: Hu Meets Rudd

New elections have not even been scheduled yet, but the oddsmakers are predicting Australian PM John Howard won't survive the next round, and apparently the Chinese have been taking note.

In Sydney for the upcoming APEC summit, Chinese President Hu Jintao met with opposition leader Kevin Rudd (Labour Party) for half an hour today. During the warm and friendly exchange, Mr. Rudd presented President Hu with a pair of opal cufflinks, and Hu invited Rudd and his family to the 2008 Beijing Olympics. An article in Melbourne's The Age offered this intriguing detail:

During a 30-minute conversation conducted entirely in Mandarin, Mr Hu complimented Mr Rudd on his fluency and thanked him for his commitment to developing the Australia-China relationship.[My Italics]
Rudd, a former diplomat to China who spent several years there with his family, also addressed Hu in Chinese during the official welcoming luncheon. The Sydney Morning Herald observed appreciatively of Rudd's speech,
To anyone versed in Chinese culture, as is Rudd, these sentiments of family, children, cultural links and even the homework were right on the money for such an occasion. John Howard and [Foreign Minister] Alexander Downer could only look on and grimace.
It also appears that the U.S. is reading from the same playbook as China. Despite his vocal support for John Howard, President George W. Bush's own 10-minute meeting with Rudd (in English) ran more than half an hour overtime, and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice pointedly refused to criticize Rudd's plan to withdraw troops from Iraq (as she had condemned those of the previous Labour leader) saying instead only that, "I would just hope that any Australian prime minister would make the decision on Australia's defense commitment based on what it would take to get the job done."

As for Hu's rather extraordinary personal invitation to attend the Beijing Olympics. The Age noted, "Prime Minister John Howard met Mr Hu yesterday, but it was not immediately clear if he had received a similar offer."


The Law Talking Guy said...

I am reminded that George W. Bush's father, George H. W. Bush, who was ambassador to China but never learned a word of the language.

Our leaders' boorishness is an embarrassment. Given the sheer number of Asian immigrants to the USA, there was no higher-level Bush official who could speak in Mandarin?

At least W restrained himself from making a "flied lice" joke.

Anonymous said...

Howard's days are numbered. People don't believe his spin anymore. He recently tried making the health of aboriginal people -- a deplorable situation -- into a political football following the publication of a report stating how bad the situation is. The author of the report came out within days and slammed Howard for a knee-jerk reaction that ignored half the reports recommendations.

Rudd has been polling at around 60% popularity, and hasn't had to lift a finger. The only slight "hiccup" was when it was leaked that he visited a strip club in the USA whilst drunk. He explained and apologised. Unlike the USA, the speculation was that his own party leaked the information to make him more appealing the average Australian.

Rudd, when starting university, spoke to the former Prime Minister and icon of the Australian Labor Party (left) Gough Whitlam on what he should do to make a difference. Gough's advice -- coming from the man who made university education in the country free -- learn a language. And he did...

Personally I'll be voting for Rudd. Mind you I've never voted for Howard. Howard has been trying to drag Australia back into the 50s for the last decade, and only surviving because he has ridden the back of former government reforms to the economy which have lead to the longest period of growth the country has seen since WWII. The only thing he has achieved is a partial implementation of a sales tax, and removed government debt. In the meantime household debt has reached the highest levels ever and the society more defensive than ever. I can't wait for the change.

Spotted Handfish

Dr. Strangelove said...

The APEC summit did produce the "Sydney Declaration" yesterday, in which the leaders--notably the recalcitrant Americans, Chinese, and Australians--committed themselves to (non-binding) "aspirational" goals to reverse the rise in greenhouse gases. Howard sought the declaration as a political boost, I understand.

It is not binding, but it nevertheless represents the first time I know of that those three nations have agreed that there's a problem that needs solving. Maybe with new leaders (and new parties) in 2009, the Americans and Australians can lead the world to a more workable--and more comprehensive--Kyoto II carbon-cap trading scheme.