Labor Party head Kevin Rudd's pledges on global warming and Iraq move Australia sharply away from policies that had made Howard one of President Bush's staunchest allies.
Rudd has named global warming as his top priority, and his signing of the Kyoto Protocol will leave the U.S. as the only industrialized country not to have joined it.
Rudd said he would withdraw Australia's 550 combat troops from Iraq, leaving twice that number in mostly security roles. Howard had said all the troops will stay as long as needed. ...
"Today Australia has looked to the future," Rudd said in a nationally televised victory speech, to wild cheers from supporters. "Today the Australian people have decided that we as a nation will move forward ... to embrace the future, together to write a new page in our nation's history." ... (Full story here.)
LSB: Another poodle bites the dust - John Howard (Australia) joins Jose Maria Aznar (Spain), Silvio Berlusconi (Italy), and Tony Blair (UK) in the dog pound. Just the big dog (Bush) is yet to go, and his time is coming!
UPDATE: Poland to End Iraq Mission in 2008. Poland's new prime minister outlined ambitious plans for the next four years in his inaugural address Friday, saying he plans to withdraw troops from Iraq next year but also push for stronger relations with NATO.
In a three-hour speech to parliament, Donald Tusk laid out a vision for the country that includes more capitalism - privatization, tax cuts and simplifying business laws - to bolster the economy of this ex-communist country.
While Tusk and his Civic Platform party want to continue the strong friendship with the U.S., he gave a taste of plans that, taken together, would suggest that the country plans to assert more independence in its relations with Washington.
Tusk said that, by the end of next year, Poland would withdraw its 900 troops from Iraq, where it leads an international contingent of about 2,000 soldiers from 10 nations in the south-central part of the country. ...
Tusk's call for a pullout came as no surprise. He campaigned on promises to end the unpopular mission, clashing on the issue with his opponent, then-incumbent Jaroslaw Kaczynski, who argued that withdrawing would amount to desertion.