March 3, 2008


Howard was Thatcher, Reagan rolled into one (John Stone, March 04, 2008 , The Australian)

If someone should survey the history of the Anglosphere, his place will rank alongside Margaret Thatcher in Britain and Ronald Reagan in the US. While each of those outstanding leaders had qualities different from Howard, each came to office at what we now see to have been turning points in their nations' histories. [...]

[T]he fact is that Australia under Howard enjoyed 12 years of unparallelled prosperity. In part that resulted from the emergence of Chinese demand for our commodity exports but the government must receive its share of the credit.

However, the achievement for which Howard most deserves to be remembered by grateful Australians derives from his attitude towards, and his actions in immeasurably strengthening, the Australia-US alliance.

Despite exaggerated talk these days about the future importance of our relationship with China, the nation most important to Australia's future for many decades to come (at least) will remain the US.

John Curtin will always be remembered for his wartime initiative to enhance the significance of that then still nascent relationship. Howard will be remembered similarly for having taken the relationship, 65 years later, to a new level of intimacy and mutual trust. (For our vocal America haters, this is one of his gravest sins.)

Howard's crowning achievement is the negotiation in 2004 of the Australia-US free trade agreement. [...]

Towards the close of the recent biography of Howard, there is a passage that may well serve as his prime ministerial epitaph: "Like Menzies, Howard found his forgotten people. They shared his belief in the family, national security, law and order, social unity, individual responsibility and a strong economy." These were not merely "the Howard battlers" - important though they were to his prime ministerial longevity - but also that essentially conservative, essentially decent, middle-class backbone of Australia.

...but it's no coincidence that Clinton, Blair, Bush, Howard, Singh, Harper, etc., overlap.

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 3, 2008 1:36 PM
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