In “Diary of a Foreign Minister” published by Australia’s former top diplomat, Bob Carr, many US politicians are given effusive praise. From Republican Senators John McCain and Roy Blunt, to President Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and John Kerry —Carr finds America breeds “public polity athletes”who are “first class”.
He has no such love for the Bush Administration.
Carr described former President George W. Bush, ex-Secretary of Defence Donald Rumsfeld, and Vice President Dick Cheney as “swivel eyed neo-cons and ultra-nationalists. He also accused the Bush Administration of having “bankrupted the country and drained its military strength.”
“America, with all its capacity to make calibrated decisions and tease out diplomatic nuance and take a strategic view, allowed itself to be taken over by its pure blood-in-the-eye instincts,” Carr wrote of America after the 9/11 attacks.
“A coalition of ultra-nationalists”
The sixty-six year old veteran politician lamented that, within the Bush administration, “a coalition of ultra-nationalists and neo-cons clawed their way into the ascendancy and quickly set off two wars.”
Carr spared former Secretary of State Colin Powell and his deputy, Richard Armitage from criticism. According to Carr they both opposed the administration’s direction.
“The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have been bankrupting disasters for America, both unnecessary,” Carr continued.
Describing America as Australia’s “closest friend, our ally, our partnership of interests and values,” Carr said no one was penalised for the “damage” done by the Bush administration.
“One’s got to ponder how America got it so wrong and wonder about accountability for this damage. No one is being held accountable. Yet I can’t think of more horrendous errors of judgment since Washington decided to dig in rather than exit Vietnam,” he writes.
Days before the 2001 September 11 attacks, Carr said former President Bill Clinton told him, “some people in my country believe America must always have enemies.”
“Even before September 11, influential Americans were working themselves up into a frenzy about China,” Carr wrote, “all nations suffer pathologies, the great republic being no exception.”
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