If you haven’t heard, Australia’s Labor Party has unseated the ruling Liberal Party, and Kevin Rudd will take John Howard’s place as Australian prime minister (H/T: The Washington Note). What does this mean for us? It means that a former Bush ally has been replaced by a Bush skeptic, and that Australia’s commitment in Iraq has become tenuous. John Howard’s unrelenting support of the Bush administration’s policies probably won’t be matched by Kevin Rudd.
It may also mean that the much heralded conservative wildfire said to be sweeping the globe has just been extinguished by a nice bucket of ice water. After the victories of Angela Merkel in Germany and Nicolas Sarkozy in France, many conservatives boasted that global opinion was turning back toward conservatism in general and the Bush administration in particular.
But with Gordon Brown replacing Tony Blair in the United Kingdom, with Donald Tusk replacing Bush ally Jaroslaw Kaczynski in Poland and promising the withdrawal of Polish troops from Iraq by the end of 2008 (H/T: Think Progress), and now with Kevin Rudd’s victory in Australia – it seems that the right was wrong. In the two latter cases, nations that were once thoroughly conservative have lurched to the left. I’d imagine a lot of conservative columnists and bloggers are eating some serious crow right now, as it becomes clear that the world is never going to be either a conservative or a liberal “utopia” in which everyone thinks the same way.