Saturday, July 04, 2009

If Only We Could Mine And Export 'Having A Go'

PM Kevin Rudd gets a decent, fairly serious profile in the US Time Magazine.

It's often interesting to read how American, UK or European media portray Australia in its feature stories. The perspective, obviously, is greatly different from anyone living here, and what may seem common knowledge to us, or to Australian journalists, often seems fascinating to outsiders. It's also curious to read a feature story in corporate media that makes Australia sound so damned triumphant, so successful, with the potential of being a major player on the world stage through the rest of the 21st century.

This Australia? Here? Really?

If Time Magazine is right, Kevin Rudd cuts a much more impressive figure on the world stage than the local media has led us to believe.

Grabs from the Time Story :

As Rudd reveals his foreign exploits, the crowd shifts; attentions wander. The Aboriginal elder who kicked off the event with a traditional welcome ceremony lets his eyelids droop....Rudd, 51, doesn't fit the typical mold of an Australian man of action....Rudd is the consummate globalized citizen....,"(Rudd will) put in a full day in the Parliament and then, because of the time difference, call world leaders way into the night".... Its geographic remoteness notwithstanding, Australia deserves watching.... (Australia) has a chance to show the rest of the world the importance of maintaining good relations with both the new century's superpowers....If Rudd can navigate warm and friendly relations with both the U.S. and China, he will turn out to be a politician of more than local significance.... "I'm in the business of making a difference"....After more than 17 years of sustained growth, Australia is flirting with recession....Rudd comes across as more buttoned-up than many of his predecessors.... In moments of crisis, his emotions resonate.....the global financial crisis underlines how individual countries, even supremely powerful ones, cannot rely on go-it-alone approaches...."I am acutely conscious of what happens when you simply allow things to drift to unrestrained nationalism".... "friends of all, enemy of none" a child avoiding work in the cowshed, he would retire to the farthest reaches of the farm with a book on Asian archaeology.....For the better part of two centuries, Australia's self-perception was that of a chunk of the West that unaccountably found itself floating in the South Pacific....Until the 1970s, an exclusionist White Australia Policy kept out most Asian immigrants. But today, around 8% of Australians are of Asian descent...."At last," says the Prime Minister, "we have some decent food to eat"....Some Asian, Middle Eastern and African Australians complain that they are somehow considered less truly Australian than those who came from, say, Italy, Greece or Croatia....the specter of a communist country of 1.3 billion people can spook even close economic partners.....In Taipei, where Rudd studied Mandarin, his home was the wonderfully named Republic of China Anti-Communist Recover the Mainland International Youth Activity a speech in Mandarin to students at Peking University last year, he infuriated his Chinese government minders by highlighting human-rights abuses in Tibet....can a nation really welcome being economically yoked to China if it also sees Beijing's ambitions as a threat?.... "America has a great history of reinventing itself".... at the dawn of this new century, as a country and a continent unto itself, Australia has to define its security on its own terms...."You can sit around quietly on the global diplomatic circuit and get nowhere," he says, "or you can ball up a few ideas, some of which have some prospects".... Makes you wonder whether Australia couldn't export that having-a-go spirit along with its iron ore, coal and gas. The world might be better for it.

Read The Time Magazine Profile Of Kevin Rudd Here