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Wednesday 23 Aug 2017 | 16:27 | SYDNEY
Wednesday 23 Aug 2017 | 16:27 | SYDNEY

Tony Abbott's strange Obama speech

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23 November 2011 16:15

It's odd that the UK Telegraph should be interested in this story, but their Sydney correspondent, Jonathan Pearlman, has picked up on the Graham Greene reference that Tony Abbott rather incongruously dropped into his speech of welcome to President Obama last Thursday. On Tuesday I pointed to the fact that Laurie Oakes had made mention of it in an article for The Punch, though my colleague Rory Medcalf actually got there first, in his ForeignPolicy.com piece.

Looking over the speech again, I notice one other jarring note, coming just before the Graham Greene reference:

In the last century, it was the United States that saw off the totalitarian threat. In the present century, it is the United States that will see off the terrorist threat. Others will shoulder some of the burden but it’s America, inevitably, that will do the heaviest lifting.

In that first sentence, Abbott seems to be referring to fascism and communism. But insofar as the former goes, the Russians and other members of what was the Soviet Union, who suffered in excess of 20 million deaths fighting the Nazis, might contest Abbott's claim that the US 'saw off' the threat.

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