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Obama-Rudd: G20 “Meeting of Minds”

  • March 25th, 2009
  • Posted by 7thmin

obama-rudd-2-march-09.jpgBig spender, President Barack Obama, spent a little time with Australia’s Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, in Washington (24.3.09), interrupting a campaign to sell his relief budget to the American public.

The two leaders also discussed climate change, and problems in Afghanistan.

HANDLING THE CRISIS

President Obama said there’d been a “meeting of minds” on dealing with the world recession.

He was preparing for a televised media conference later that day to explain a stimulus budget being put to Congress; high-spending recession remedies where he has some differences with Europe.

Kevin Rudd, on his way the G20 world economic summit in London, has backed stimulus, but like the EU side also favours a regulatory approach – more resources to the International Monetary Fund to begin  with, (see EUAustralia, “Getting Ready for G20”, 24.3.09).

Leaders of the European Union last week allocated more funds to the IMF, but made plain they opposed any bloating of markets with paper money — at least until those markets are brought more firmly, and uniformly around the world, under reasoned public control.

Mr Rudd’s talks with Barack Obama also included the NATO-led military campaign in Afghanistan, and climate change, where the new United States administration has been moving America back into the field of joint international consultations and decision-making.

AFGHANISTAN – PUBLIC DOUBTS

Afghanistan is presenting some of the traditional problems for democratic governments trying to maintain public support for overseas military expeditions.

European parties in the venture, under pressure from the United States to send more troops, have had to point to, at best, widespread disinterest in the war effort among their citizens.

The picture is now looking similar in Australia, where an opinion poll this week showed that former strong support for the Afghan mission, in 2001, has been reversed.

The ANOP poll published in The Australian newspaper, 24.3.09, had 28% in favour and 65% against, (66+, 27-, in 2001).

The question was whether people would back an increase in troop levels.

Government leaders arguing to keep up the demanding and inconclusive struggle say that Afghanistan under Taliban rule provided a crucial sanctuary and base for Islamic fundamentalist terror, (see EUAustralia, “Australian Deaths in Afghanistan”, 22.3.09).
Reference:

The Australian, Sydney, “Shrinking support for Afghan war at odds with troops”, 24.3.09, p1.

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