Wednesday 18 Jul 2018 | 07:25 | SYDNEY
Wednesday 18 Jul 2018 | 07:25 | SYDNEY

Educating Barack


Sam Roggeveen


1 April 2008 15:33

One of Barack Obama's weakest foreign policy moments on the campaign trail came in an April 2007 debate (yes, they've been at it that long), when he was asked to nominate America's top three allies. Obama listed the European Union and Japan, then ran out of steam, mentioning China as 'neither our enemy nor our friend.' It was an embarrassingly uninformed answer both in terms of who he put in and who he left out. He was right about Japan, but the European Union as a whole surely cannot be counted as an ally. And then there's his exclusion of NATO, the UK, Canada, Australia and Israel (choose your own order).

All of which is to say that Kevin Rudd's simple act of calling* Obama during Rudd's trip to the US may turn out to be one of the more significant things Rudd accomplishes over 17 days. Should Obama become the next president, it is important that he knows who his friends are.

Photo by Flickr user craynol, used under a Creative Commons licence.

* CORRECTION: A reader points out that the article I link to says it was Obama who called Rudd. That's right, though it is my strong impression that it was Rudd's initiative to seek contact with all three presidential candidates. I should have made myself clearer.