A Different Perspective On Foreign Affairs

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Tony Abbott, John Howard and Kevin Rudd each have a different perspective on foreign affairs, but there is also a common thread to their approach. In the following paper I compare and contrast a speech made by each of them concerning foreign affairs and note the large similarity of ideology between each of them. All speeches support a strong relationship with the United States of America and active engagement in international affairs. I argue that they differ only in the nuance of emphasis although there is some evidence of traditional 'realist ' and 'liberal ' approaches to international politics. Howard concentrates on pragmatic state to state engagement for the benefit of Australians. Abbott focuses more on building up the military and physical security. Rudd is the only one of the three to emphasise that Australia 's foreign engagement should be for the benefit of others, as well as Australia. Overall, however, the speeches demonstrate a greater commonality of purpose and direction than they do divergent opinions. I argue the resulting stability of foreign policy engagement benefits not only Australia, but the rest of the world.

The first speech of the three was given by John Howard. Howard begins his speech by describing the wide ranging help Australia is providing to foreign countries through defence force medical aid, the electoral commission advice and treasury counselling (Howard 2004: 2-3). Howard describes the help Australia gives abroad as practical, broad and
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