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Tuesday, February 20, 2007


In May of last year John Howard was asked: “Prime Minister, is Australia’s involvement in any planned military action in Iran an option?” To which he replied: “There’s been absolutely no thought given to that. I’m not in favour of other than trying to achieve a diplomatic solution. It’s quite hard. This is a test for the United Nations. At the time of the Coalition operation in Iraq, Australia, the United States and the United Kingdom were all attacked for not leaving it to the United Nations. Now Iran is in the hands of the United Nations and it will be a very big test of the processes of the United Nations to see if that matter can be resolved. I think we should continue to try diplomatic processes.” [1]

Vice-President Dick Cheney is due to arrive in Australia this week for talks with Howard. It will be interesting to see after Cheney leaves whether or not Howard’s rhetoric about Iran changes.

There are a lot of high-level administration officials flying all over the place at the moment talking with Middle East and Western allies. One wonders, in the light of the heightened rhetoric with regard to Iran, if these visits from high-level officials aren’t the prelude to the next stage of whatever it is the US and Israel is planning.

It’s interesting to note that in a follow-up question in the same interview which asked: “But given that you didn’t trust the UN in the case of Iraq, what’s changed with Iran?” Howard replied: “It’s not a question of not trusting the UN, it’s a question of the UN having failed in Iraq. Now it has another opportunity on this occasion. I mean what we did in Iraq was based on a Security Council Resolution. But the alternative was that we should leave it endlessly to further United Nations processes and that did not work. The United Nations failed in relation to Iraq. I hope it now has an opportunity to succeed in relation to Iran, and it should be given the opportunity to do so.”

Apart from the arrogance and contempt Howard displays toward the UN because it failed to bow to US demands, the remark also demonstrates Howard’s ignorance of the facts. The UN is a body representing the nations of the world. Failure to get sanction from the UN to invade Iraq not only demonstrates the extreme contempt that Howard and cohorts have for the other nations of the world but also fails to accept that it is not the UN that has failed in Iraq since the invasion but the US and, by association, Australia. One has to seriously wonder, in the event that the UN once again refuses to yield to US demands with regard to Iran, if the US will take matters into their own hands once again and attack Iran anyway. One would further need to wonder where Howard stands given his unstinting support of Bush’s delusional ideas about the so-called ‘War on Terrorism’ so far.

So far we’ve heard very little from Howard about Iran as the next election approaches but will there be change in Howard’s tone after Cheney has been and gone?

[1] ‘Transcript of the Prime Minister the Hon. John Howard MP, Doorstop Interview, Kirribilli House, Sydney’, 12 May 2006. Available online: Accessed 20 February 2007.

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