Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Foreign Affairs

from the Telegraph
In Obama's company, Gillard looks like she's won a date with George Clooney. Their encounters, the respectful gazes as the other speaks, the touches of familiarity, stand to bestow her with a statesmanship she may have lacked until now.

Obama does charisma like an actor breezing through an audition for a role he's already got. Like Clinton, his various styles of handshake merit a collection. Two hands for ladies, for example, head jutted forward, smile engaged. Or he applies the Mark Latham vigour - without the menace.

Of course, he's a honey compared with 'what's his name.from w
Smiling now, so Foreign Affairs in now a nice cup of Earl Grey tea for Julia. She once said that Foreign Affairs just wasn't interesting. Not that every Aussie is happy about USA bases in Australia! What does this development imply for our relationship with our near-north neighbours eh?

From the BBC
Barack Obama in Australia: Military ties on agenda

The two countries have a decades-long security alliance

US President Barack Obama has arrived in Australia for a visit expected to focus on strengthening military ties. During an address to parliament on Thursday, he is expected to outline plans for the US to gain greater access to Australian military bases.

He will also become the first sitting leader to visit Darwin, which is likely to see a boosted US military presence.

Correspondents say the US sees Australia as a key regional ally, a counter to China's growing presence. The visit comes as the two countries mark a 60-year security alliance.

He was greeted in the capital Canberra by Prime Minister Julia Gillard.

After talks, he and Ms Gillard will give a joint news conference and then have dinner together.

Mr Obama's speech to parliament on Thursday is expected to be the key engagement of his visit. He is expected to set out plans for a greater US presence in the region.

Jonathan Marcus
BBC Diplomatic Correspondent
Long a close ally of Washington, Australia is set to take on a growing strategic importance for the US as Mr Obama seeks to pivot America's foreign policy away from the wider Middle East towards the Asia-Pacific region as a whole.

Australia approaches China with a degree of ambivalence. Beijing is Australia's biggest trading partner. But China's growing military reach is seen as at least a potential threat for the future.

In his speech to parliament Mr Obama will set out his vision of a new Pacific century. A subsequent trip to Darwin on Australia's north coast will symbolise the enhanced military relationship between the two countries.

It is an attempt to offset Chinese influence and to ensure that Beijing's "soft power" remains just that and does not spill over into military assertiveness.

Later in Darwin, he will visit a memorial to honour US and Australian soldiers killed during World War II.

It will be the first visit to Darwin by a US leader.

Reports say that while Mr Obama is there, the two sides will announce more joint training exercises in the Northern Territory and increased US access to Australian bases.

Australian Defence Minister Stephen Smith said expanding co-operation was an "important, practical" step.

"What we have in contemplation is greater utilisation of access to facilities, greater training, greater exercises. It will effectively be a continuation and expansion of what we currently do," he told Australia's ABC News.

Mr Obama has twice cancelled visits to Australia in the past - in March 2010 as he worked to pass healthcare reform legislation and then in June the same year amid the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

After his stop in Darwin, Mr Obama flies to Indonesia for a summit of Asian leaders.



Post a Comment

<< Home