Searching for the truth among the lying/ And answered when you’ve learned the art of dying

You can almost hear an audi­ble cry of relief in this part of the world at the expul­sion from Can­ber­ra of John Howard and Alexan­der Down­er. Behind the required diplo­mat­ic smiles they were lit­tle liked any­where in South East Asia, and here in Indone­sia, Howard’s long cham­pi­oning and sup­port for Suhar­to, who he once hailed for his “great con­tri­bu­tion” is not for­got­ten, nor Downer’s arro­gant, quite racist, pater­nal­ism (and if you real­ly want vile­ness, wit­ness the reli­ably loath­some Greg Sheri­dan in The Aus­tralian, hail­ing the great­ness of the man who was named by the UN as the most cor­rupt dic­ta­tor of the 20th Cen­tu­ry, with the blood of at least a mil­lion Indone­sians and Tim­o­rese on his hands).

So, with Howard gone, Kyoto will get signed, one of the region’s wealth­i­est nations will back into the region instead of being –  and being per­ceived as – lit­tle more than a shal­low apol­o­gist for lit­tle liked US for­eign pol­i­cy in recent years. Even Sin­ga­pore, the most US aligned coun­try in ASEAN, was quite obvi­ous­ly increas­ing uncom­fort­able with Howard’s Aus­tralia.

And Howard’s lega­cy will be as the first sit­ting Aus­tralian PM in 80 years to lose his own seat. Good rid­dance.…

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