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Posts Tagged ‘Greg Sheridan’

Bliss

It must be nice to be such an ignorant neoconservative hack who regurgitates American talking points that one can attack people for being left-liberal hacks who regurgitate American talking points without betraying the slightest awareness of irony.

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Greg hearts Sarah

But, in what may be a first for a Greg Sheridan column, he doesn’t have a story of how he was lucky enough to meet Sarah Palin, or someone equally important who knew her.

Nonetheless, he is certain she is the Best VP Choice Ever and that the liberals are just bitter and jealous:

The US political contest is thus poised at a delicate and fascinating moment. It’s like the key seconds in a judo bout, to see who gets the better hold and executes the throw. The liberal establishment will try to blitzkrieg Palin into oblivion by charging that she is an extremist, a nut and corrupt. If the liberal elites fail in this, they risk mainstream America seeing their attacks on Palin as attacking the American heartland. Democrats should know from bitter experience that that kind of polarisation leads directly to Democratic defeat.

And yet, despite his incessant bashing of left-liberals, Greg assures us that:

It’s wrong to see her choice as McCain going for a right-winger over a centrist such as his good friend Joe Lieberman. Although she is certainly a conservative, the left/right analysis doesn’t capture Palin.

She is very special indeed, in Greg’s eyes. She transcends political ideology, is a corruption-fighting maverick, and what’s more:

Palin is a happy conservative warrior who exudes vitality and a natural gratitude for all the wonders of life and all the wonders of America. She is a pro-life Christian. The liberal media wants politically active Christians to present like Elmer Gantry: dreadful, corrupt hypocrites. They should look like Jerry Falwell if they’re men or Tammy Faye Bakker if they’re women. They should not be so radiantly normal and happy as Palin.

Palin is 44. She has five children. She is married to a Joe Six-Pack kind of guy, a sportsman, oil rig worker and unionist, who mostly leaves the politics to his wife. Palin’s oldest son is about to go to Iraq with the US military.

She is a huntin’ and fishin’ kinda gal. She loves Alaska’s great outdoors. Famously, she won one beauty pageant and came second in Miss Alaska 1984. This kind of thing drives the left-liberal mind absolutely nuts. With all the good, and the many challenges, in her life, Palin exudes the optimistic, sunny, distinctive personality of the great American west.

But there are storm clouds on the horizon. The liberal media will try to tear her down:

Now it transpires that her 17-year-old daughter is pregnant. She will have the child. In the way of these things, this irrelevant controversy could yet destroy Palin’s position, as could the slew of truly micro-scandals the media is obsessing about: her husband got a drink-driving ticket in the mid-’80s, for heaven’s sake. If the media can frame the Palin story that way, it could destroy her.

Greg, I don’t know that the teen pregnancy itself or her husband’s drink-driving will be as problematic as other issues, such as:

  • the fact that she was for the Bridge to Nowhere before she was against it
  • her (and her husband’s) connections to the secessionist Alaska Independence Party
  • her decidedly non-mavericky approach to earmarks
  • the “Troopergate” controversy
  • UPDATE: Guido at The Accidental Australian points to a Time article that suggests an interest in book-banning while she was a mayor.

Greg Sheridan has found someone new to gush about after so many of his local darlings have departed for greener pastures (i.e., lost and/or quit). I suspect this is going to be a brief love affair, but let’s enjoy it while it lasts.

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Greg Sheridan, today:

All of this is not to argue for inaction. It seems to me there are four obvious things we can do. First, we can go along with, as well as trying to influence through persuasion rather than example, what becomes the consensus position of the developed world. Carbon still has no price in Japan or the US and not an effective price in Canada or Europe. We don’t want to be laggards but we would be mad to be far out in front. Travelling with the herd here is truly the only sensible option.

Greg Sheridan, today:

IF the world cannot do the Doha Round, how can it possibly do a climate change deal?

Being Greg Sheridan means never having to say anything principled or coherent.

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Greg hearts carbon

And he gets to meet important people, who he also hearts:

I recently had the pleasure of meeting Indonesian Environment Minister Rachmat Witoelar. I speak as someone who loves Indonesia and admires its transition to democracy and recent solid economic growth. I don’t want this anecdote construed as an attack on Witoelar, who was hospitable to me and a perfectly fine chap.

Greg obviously saw Chris Uhlmann’s recent appearance on Insiders and the “atta-boys” it got him from the denialist crowd, as he uses the same attention-getting ploy:

THERE is so much theology in climate change it makes your head spin.

I like to keep my meagre store of faith for religion. How can I assess the evidence, not being a world-renowned scientist? One way is to look at what people actually do to see what they genuinely believe. For example, if global warming is real, sea levels will rise. So you’d expect to see a sell-off of low-lying coastal properties. Yet from Vaucluse to Sorrento I notice no erosion of prices.

He doesn’t use faith, and he obviously doesn’t use sound logical reasoning, so the rest of what he says is just plain jibber jabber.

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Greg hearts Dolly

Sheridan is happy to remain a fawning sycophant, even after the subject of his admiration is leaving in defeat:

With Downer’s resignation from parliament announced this week, Australia loses an authentic parliamentary and political giant.

I rate Downer as the equal second most important and effective foreign minister in Australian history.

This may seem a qualified sort of praise, but in the history of the Australian nation, to be the second most important foreign minister is a giant achievement.

Among the list of Dolly’s significant achievements, Greg devotes an entire glowing paragraph to the brilliant and entirely uncontroversial approach taken to working with the US, for which Sheridan himself was a cheerleader:

He was the key minister, with Howard, in invoking the US alliance in response to the 9/11 terror attacks in New York and Washington. One thing that flowed from that, in a great service to Australia’s national interest, was a historically new level of military and intelligence intimacy with the US. Downer was a key player in Australia sending troops to Afghanistan, where they performed magnificently, and later in backing the US war in Iraq. I believe this was the right decision and it took a hell of a lot of guts.

And, naturally, Greg needs to remind us of his own importance:

He is a good friend of British historian Andrew Roberts. I once had a long conversation with Downer about how Tony Blair’s Christian convictions compared with those of William Gladstone.

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Greg Sheridan, Serious Foreign Policy Expert:

I ran into Beazley at this year’s Australian American Leadership Dialogue in Washington, DC. The dialogue, founded by Melbourne businessman, Phil Scanlan, is the most important initiative in private diplomacy in Australian history.

As well as reminding us of the important circles in which he moves, Greg pulls out some of his greatest hits:

The Bush administration, for all its sins, real and imagined, has given life to the doctrine that the US should spend a lot of time cultivating allies. Certainly this has been particularly the case with Australia, Japan and South Korea.

So long as those allies are entirely dependent on and in agreement with the United States. Anyone who isn’t can fuck off. Foreign policy under Bush has resulted in the United States having an increasingly small circle of obedient friends.

Obama is likely to be less instinctively committed to these alliances but, to look at it from the opposite point of view, will be less shackled by Cold War-style thinking, which can have its limitations.

Two obvious alternatives beckon. Either Obama’s foreign policy is a Jimmy Carter-style disaster because he never comprehends the essential workings of global power.

Or alternatively Obama could produce a brilliant foreign policy, which comprehends the essentials from the past, but is unhesitatingly in touch with all the contemporary issues, from climate change to energy costs to global pandemics and all the rest of the new agenda issues.

Sheridan demonstrates his ability to intuit precisely what Barack Obama is thinking and yet make diametrically opposed predictions about the possible outcomes.

McCain of course is profoundly steeped in all the verities of the Cold War.

Either man will represent a break from the Bush years.

QED. Seriously, Sheridan barely mentions McCain in this entire article, but he has proven that he won’t be Bush Mk III. How? Because Greg Sheridan said so.

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I read Greg Sheridan’s latest drivel yesterday and had it earmarked for blogging, but it was so baffling that I didn’t know where to begin.

Thankfully, Sean at the Road to Surfdom and the commenters on his article have taken care of the job.

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Greg Sheridan hates America

Well, it’s as close as he’s likely to get to it.

According to Sheridan Bush Administration II is a pale imitation of Bush Administration I. You remember the first term of the Bush administration, right? The one where, instead of skipping meetings, the Secretary of State turned up at the United Nations and fed them a bunch of bogus information to justify the invasion of Iraq? Of course, reports suggest that Colin Powell isn’t too happy about the snow-job he was an accomplice in anyway. And he may well have been a lot more sensible and a lot less Bushie than Rice. But it just goes to show that when you have incompetence at the top, the effects flow downward.

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Hug a Bushie

Greg Sheridan thinks Paul Wolfowitz is lovely. And it looks like he thinks that because Wolfowitz told him that he is. Unfortunately, he probably should have asked around a bit:

PAUL Wolfowitz is a lightning rod for much of the hostility from those legions of people who hate the Bush administration. The arch neo-conservative, one of the architects of the invasion of Iraq, the man most associated with the decisive use of US power, he talks most passionately of development in Africa. This reflects his last big job, president of the World Bank.

He was forced out of this job for allegedly organising an over-generous promotion out of the bank for his partner. It was an absurd charge and the bank ultimately decided he had behaved ethically. Nonetheless there was a kind of frenzy of hostility to Wolfowitz, really from the day he started at the bank.

Greg, you might have started by reading your own newspaper:

The 4 things Wolfowitz did wrong

 

He violated the code of conduct

He broke the staff rules

He broke his contract

He damaged the bank

Sheridan’s claim that Wolfowitz is, and was found by the World Bank to be, squeaky clean, is absurd. Even if you give Wolfowitz credit for his work toward stability and economic development in Africa and his anti-corruption initiatives while at the World Bank, there is plenty that he deserves criticism for – including the fact that he himself contributed to corruption in the organization by involving himself in setting up a rapid career progression for his girlfriend, as well as setting up some loyal Bushies with cushy, tax-free jobs, and diverting the World Bank’s resources away from climate change issues. Let’s not even start on his involvement in developing the doctrine that led America from the tragedy of September 11 to the doomed invasion of Iraq, which had nothing to do with the terrorist threat.

Sheridan’s crush on all things American appears to have coloured his perceptions of everyone and everything from the US of A. It’s the flipside of the mentality Shaun Cronin has written about, in which any criticism of American leadership or policy is anti-American. In Sheridan’s case, America is wonderful; therefore, all people from the USA are wonderful, even someone with as dubious a track record as Wolfowitz. Consequently, he must have been misunderstood and persecuted, the poor man:

He looks well and he seems to have absorbed all the strife that befell him. He agrees what happened to him was an injustice, but says: “I don’t feel particularly bitter or resentful, I manage to get on with other things. I’ve developed some of the feeling for Africa that I’ve long had for Indonesia. It would be exciting to be able to help.”

Andrew Bolt has been getting in on the scandal denial lately as well. In a blog entry pointing out the atrocious inaccuracies in a piece by Patricia Maunder about Jon Stewart’s satirical targets, Bolt threw in a howler of his own:

– Gonzales had to testify to Congress about allegedly sacking eight US attorneys from the Justice Department. No scandal involved.

There are a couple of issues here that make Bolt’s claim an outrageous distortion of reality. First, Gonzales has had to testify before Judiciary Committees several times lately, in relation to two separate issues – the US Attorney firings and the authorization of the warrantless domestic surveillance program, which happened while Gonzales was White House Counsel. So it’s not just a single scandal. And second, it’s a bit of a scandal when the Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman asks for the nation’s top justice official to be investigated for “inappropriate conduct” when giving sworn testimony (and lest anyone try to spin this as a Democrat witch-hunt, note that Republican Senator Arlen Specter has been as derisive of Gonzales’s credibility as anyone). Here is a top-six list of the biggest lies in Gonzales’s testimony.

I think we have reached a point where the flaws and limitations of many who have worked in the Bush administration, including both Wolfowitz and Gonzales, have been laid bare. Some might argue that they have brought some positives that offset their problems – a view I would strongly disagree with, but could at least understand. What I don’t quite get is this willful ignorance, accompanied by complete misrepresentation of the facts, demonstrated by two Australian commentators to the obvious failings of these flawed gentlemen.

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Are we supposed to swallow this?

Greg Sheridan, writing in the same paper that just received a top-secret letter from John Howard to Iraqi prime minister Nouri al-Maliki, now assures us that Honest John really is frustrated and wants al-Maliki to take action as soon as the Iraqi government gets back from their holiday:

And although Howard’s tone is polite, his message is blunt: unless Maliki can achieve real political progress it will be increasingly difficult for governments such as Howard’s to maintain community support for the military and other commitments they have made to Iraq.

First of all, community support is long gone. Iraq has not seen the same widespread passionate opposition in Australia as in the United States because (fortunately) few of our own citizens have died, but to suggest that there is support for continued involvement in Iraq is blatantly false. The latest AC Nielsen survey on Iraq showed that 62% of people believe our troops should come home. Those types of numbers are the whole reason why Howard has sent this letter (and why it has made it to the media) – it’s a hint of what might be to come, except that a similar majority of people have come to realize that the old man is tricky and deceitful.

We saw a similar pattern in 2004 – an indication that troop commitments were about to wind down in the lead-up to the election, followed by new commitments soon after Howard was returned for another term. This time, we’re being told that troop withdrawals are not happening, but it seems that the letter is supposed to hint that the PM’s patience is wearing thin.

Actions speak far louder than words – and in the case of John Howard, his words in the months before an election ring of desperation and manipulation. I’ll maintain my own frustration with him until we see signs of actual troop withdrawals.

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