Special relationship? Why Gillard needs to talk tough with Obama about US military base
Was it Julia Gillard, Kevin Rudd, Tony Abbott, or Malcolm Turnbull he told The Australian Mr Obama had a "very difficult" relationship with Mr. JULIA Gillard was among just 12 world leaders whose calls Barack Obama returned following his re-election as President. Over a number of years, we intend to build on this relationship in a staged way to a full force of around 2, personnel -- that is a four Marine.
Obviously, this has not been an easy mission for either of our countries, and our hearts go out to the families that were affected on October 29th. But we both understand what's at stake -- what happens when al Qaeda has safe havens. So I thanked the Prime Minister for Australia's strong commitment to this mission. I salute the extraordinary sacrifices of our forces who serve together, including your Australian troops who've shown that no job is too tough for your "Diggers.
The transition has begun. Afghans are stepping into the lead. As they do, our troops -- American and Australian -- will draw down responsibly together so that we preserve the progress that we've made, and byAfghans will take full responsibility for security in their country.
But our focus today, as the Prime Minister said, was on preparing our alliance for the future. And so I am very pleased that we are able to make these announcements here together on Australian soil. Because of these initiatives that are the result of our countries working very closely together as partners, we're going to be in a position to more effectively strengthen the security of both of our nations and this region.
As Julia described, we are increasing our cooperation -- and I'd add, America's commitment to this region. Marines will begin rotating through Darwin for joint training and exercises. Our Air Force will rotate additional aircraft through more airfields in Northern Australia. And these rotations, which are going to be taking place on Australian bases, will bring our militaries even closer and make them even more effective.
We'll enhance our ability to train, exercise, and operate with allies and partners across the region, and that, in turn, will allow us to work with these nations to respond even faster to a wide range of challenges, including humanitarian crises and disaster relief, as well as promoting security cooperation across the region.
And this commitment builds upon the best traditions of our alliance. For decades, Australians have welcomed our service members as they've come here to work, train, and exercise together. And I'm looking forward to joining the Prime Minister in Darwin tomorrow to thank our troops -- Australians and Americans -- for the incredible work that they are doing.
Finally, as I'll discuss more in my speech to Parliament tomorrow, this deepening of our alliance sends a clear message of our commitment to this region, a commitment that is enduring and unwavering. And I want to thank our Australian friends who supported our membership so strongly and have worked to make sure that the EAS addresses regional challenges that affect all of us like proliferation and maritime security.
So, again, I'm very pleased that we're able to make these important announcements during my visit. Madam Prime Minister, I thank you for being such a strong partner and a champion of our alliance. And once again, I want to thank the Australian people for the kindness they showed me about 40 years ago, and the kindness that they're showing me during my visit today. It's that friendship and that solidarity that makes and keeps our alliance one of the strongest in the world.
Gillard finds a friend in Obama
We'll turn to taking some questions. I think we'll probably take one from the Australian media first. President, welcome back to Australia. Thank you very much. How much of this is because you're inaudible of China? And as of today's deal, U. Marines will be for the first time conducting exercises by themselves on Australian soil. Why is that, and what will they be doing? President, you also mentioned in your remarks that Afghanistan is not an easy mission. In the past few months there have been three cases for Australia where our troops have been shot at by the Afghan soldiers who have been training and, sadly, four of our soldiers have died and many others have been injured.
Australian public opinion is strongly against our involvement continuing. You've outlined the -- just then, the drawdown. What can you say to the Australian people who don't want to wait, who want to leave immediately?
Well, first, with respect to these new initiatives, this rotational deployment is significant because what it allows us to do is to not only build capacity and cooperation between our two countries, but it also allows us to meet the demands of a lot of partners in the region that want to feel that they're getting the training, they're getting the exercises, and that we have the presence that's necessary to maintain the security architecture in the region.
Of the four Aussie PMs he met, Barack Obama didn't like one of them - NZ Herald
The economy in this area is going to be the engine for world economic growth for some time to come. The lines of commerce and trade are constantly expanding. It also allows us to respond to a whole host of challenges, like humanitarian or disaster relief, that, frankly, given how large the Asia Pacific region is, it can sometimes be difficult to do, and this will allow us to be able to respond in a more timely fashion and also equip a lot of countries, smaller countries who may not have the same capacity, it allows us to equip them so that they can respond more quickly as well.
So where China is playing by those rules, recognizing its new role, I think this is a win-win situation. With respect to Afghanistan, the impact of any loss of life among our troops is heartbreaking.
What we have established is a transition process that allows Afghans to build up their capacity and take on a greater security role over the next two years. As some of you are aware, I just announced that all remaining troops in Iraq will be removed. If I could just add to that and say, every time I have met President Obama and we've talked about our alliance, we've talked about our work in Afghanistan, and in our meetings, both formal and informal, the President has shown the greatest possible concern for our troops in the field.
The meetings we've had over the last few weeks at various international events have coincided with some of the most bitter and difficult news that we've had from Afghanistan, and every step of the way the President has gone out of his way to convey to me his condolences for the Australian people and particularly for the families that have suffered such a grievous loss.
Markets are now showing some anxiety about the possibility of instability spreading to France as well. Are you worried that the steps European leaders are taking are too incremental so far? Do you think something bolder or a more difficult set of decisions need to be taken to fully inaudible that crisis? I have a question for Prime Minister Gillard as well. Are you concerned that the fiscal pressures the United States is under at the moment may compromise its ability to sustain its plans for the region, including the initiatives announced today?
Do you have to take those with something of a grain of salt until the super committee process is concluded? With respect to Europe, I'm deeply concerned, have been deeply concerned, I suspect we'll be deeply concerned tomorrow and next week and the week after that.
Barack Obama and Julia Gillard: a new special relationship | US news | The Guardian
Until we put in place a concrete plan and structure that sends a clear signal to the markets that Europe is standing behind the euro and will do what it takes, we're going to continue to see the kinds of turmoil that we saw in the markets today -- or was it yesterday? I'm trying to figure out what -- laughter -- what time zone I'm in here. It's all of the time. All of the -- right. We have consulted very closely with our European friends.
I think that there is a genuine desire, on the part of leaders like President Sarkozy and Chancellor Merkel, to solve this crisis. But they've got a complicated political structure. The problem right now is a problem of political will; it's not a technical problem.
We saw some progress with Italy and Greece both putting forward essentially unity governments that can implement some significant reforms that need to take place in those countries.
But at this point, the larger European community has to stand behind the European project. And for those American readers or listeners, and those Australian readers or listeners, I think we all understand at this point we've got an integrated world economy and what happens in Europe will have an impact on us. So we are going to continue to advise European leaders on what options we think would meet the threshold where markets would settle down.
It is going to require some tough decisions on their part. They have made some progress on some fronts -- like their efforts to recapitalize the banks. But ultimately what they're going to need is a firewall that sends a clear signal: So there's more work to do on that front.
And just -- I don't want to steal your question, but I do want to just say, with respect to our budget, there's a reason why I'm spending this time out here in Asia and out here in the Pacific region. First and foremost, because this is the fastest-growing economic region in the world, and I want to create jobs in the United States, which means we've got to sell products here and invest here and have a robust trading relationship here, and Australia happens to be one of our strongest trading partners.
But the second message I'm trying to send is that we are here to stay. This is a region of huge strategic importance to us. And I've made very clear, and I'll amplify in my speech to Parliament tomorrow, that even as we make a whole host of important fiscal decisions back home, this is right up there at the top of my priority list. And we're going to make sure that we are able to fulfill our leadership role in the Asia Pacific region. And I was just going to make what I think is the common-sense point -- I'm not going to issue words of advice about the fiscal position in the United States -- but the common-sense point from the point of view of the leader is, ultimately, budgets are about choices and there are hard choices about the things you value.
And I think, by President Obama being here, he is saying he values the role of the United States in this region and our alliance, and that's what the announcement we've made today is all about. We've got a question from Mark Riley from the Australian media. Mark Riley from 7News, Australia. President, I wanted to ask you about the other rising giant of our region -- India -- and the Prime Minister might like to add some comments.
How significant is it for the U. And could you clear up for us what influence or encouragement your administration gave Australia as it made that decision? His presence in Washington on September 11,and his intense reaction to the tragedy, invoking the ANZUS Treaty for the first time, made for a special bond. Most important, Howard delivered for the president on Iraq; Australian support might have been militarily insignificant but was symbolically important.
Howard's rapport with Bush followed his bad vibes with Bill Clinton. Initially, he got on with Bush better than expected; they had a very cheery news conference in Washington during Rudd's first visit there as PM. Later came the infamous report about the Rudd-Bush phone call in which Bush allegedly did not know what the G20 was. The story appeared in The Australian after editor-in-chief Chris Mitchell had been at Kirribilli House when the call came.
Bush was furious at the report, understandably. Whatever was said, the suggestion the president didn't know what the G20 was had to be preposterous. When Rudd was subsequently in Washington, the TV shots said it all - the relationship had gone into the deep freeze.
Obama's election turned the wheel again. He and Rudd connected at an intellectual level. In Obama's Washington, on Rudd's first visit, there was considerable interest in his China expertise. Rudd's dispatch in the ''coup'' genuinely shocked the US administration, which continued to rate the former PM.
During the Holt era, the US also needed Australian military support. As in Iraq, Australia's commitment in Vietnam was much more important for the symbolism than the firepower. Johnson visited Australia before the election - the trip was a political boost for Holt although also divisive - and returned for the memorial service after the PM drowned in It would be another quarter of a century before a US president came again.
Bush addressed Parliament; each subsequent president has visited and done the same. This is Obama's third attempt to get here. The earlier ones were scheduled in Rudd's time but fell foul of presidential distractions. The Obama visit is centred on the 60th anniversary of the Australia-US alliance, and there will be high rhetoric about the ties that bind us.
Gillard has been assiduous in affirming her pro-Americanism, with a distinctly sentimental speech to Congress this year. It has been noted that Gillard outdoes the Americans as she talks up the commitment to Afghanistan. For Australia, the US friendship, with its formal alliance, is its single most important foreign policy relationship.
But with the disappearance of the Cold War and as our region becomes more complex, the alliance obviously cannot be the only or even the main prism through which we view the world, let alone our neighbourhood, and especially China, to which our prosperity is so tightly linked.