Feature

Australia: Will buddying up to Obama pay off?

Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd made it a priority to form a close bond with President Obama, said Peter Hartcher in <em>The Sydney Morning Herald.</em>

Peter HartcherThe Sydney Morning Herald

As soon as Barack Obama was elected last year, said Peter Hartcher, Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd decided that his foreign policy priority would be to “form the closest possible bonds” with the new president. “He has, it seems, succeeded.”

Top officials close to Obama confirm that Obama counts Rudd as one of his favorite world leaders. Then again, it was always likely that the two would get along. Both men are young, progressive, and English-speaking. And both agree on “the big issues of our time”—exiting Iraq, pacifying Afghanistan, battling climate change, and balancing China. But Obama also seems to genuinely admire Rudd. When Rudd launched an energy initiative at the G-8 summit in Italy last month, Obama “shared the stage with him, introduced him, and led the applause for him.”

We can only hope that the “near-perfect alignment” between the two leaders will translate into more clout for Australia.

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