Bob Carr's Thoughtlines blog was an occasional stop for journalists who wanted the former NSW Premier's take on the Labor leadership battle. But looking through the archives, what can the blog tell us about our next foreign minister's views on matters of international diplomacy? I'm only up to December 2011, but here are some highlights so far:
He endorsed Fareed Zakaria's recent article arguing against a military strike on Iran, and in an earlier posts said 'Australia has one role: to talk the Americans back from the brink.'
He says Australia should 'draw the line at signing up for the American campaign against China's currency policies' and that '(w)e should be cautioning America to plan for a peaceful accommodation of the inevitability of a greater Chinese strategic presence in the Pacific.'
This interview I did with Bob Carr last year on the results of the 2011 Lowy Poll is also worth a listen. He's clearly well disposed to Indonesia and thinks it gets a raw deal in the Australian media. At the end, you hear that he's not particularly spooked by China's military build-up; indeed, he's worried about American over-reaction, saying 'Australia's role ought to be encouraging Americans to find ways of dealing with the strategic rise of China that are not predicated on expectations of conflict.'
Then I asked him about the surprisingly positive response we got in our poll to the possibility of US bases in Australia:
...You would have thought Australians would be more nervous about having foreign military bases on their soil, and whether their readiness to contemplate such bases is due to unease of China's rise or concern about a Muslim presence to our north capable of being agitated by Islamist advocacy is something I'm not sure of.
(UPDATE: Below, some further snippets I've found since posting the above.)
I have for some time been relatively sanguine about the rise of China in the Pacific. I believed that, like most powers which engage with Pacific Island countries, China wanted a stable and prosperous Pacific region. Chinese trade, aid and investment in the Pacific were good if they created wealth and improved infrastructure.