2007-07-13 10:10

Australia doesn’t ‘pack enough punch’ in diplomacy

Key point: Australia’s first mention in the Wikileaks US cables came in the form of an update about the political conditions in Zimbabwe. This cable revealed what has long been understood — that the United States considers Australia, at best, a middle power in foreign diplomacy.

Dispatch: “The EU is divided between the hard north and its soft southern underbelly. The Africans are only now beginning to find their voice. Rock solid partners like Australia don’t pack enough punch to step out front and the UN is a non-player. Thus it falls to the U.S., once again, to take the lead, to say and do the hard things and to set the agenda.”

What they said: “When I speak to my American counterparts, to Secretary of Defense, Gates, or to Secretary of State, Clinton, not only do they very genuinely appreciate the effort that we make in Afghanistan, which Australia regards as being in our national interest, helping to stare down international terrorism, but they also very much welcome the general role that we play in the international community.” — Defence Minister Stephen Smith