Australia’s new foreign minister, Bob Carr, has said that he was wrong to have condemned NATO’s intervention in support of the . . .[restrict]Libyan revolution.
In his personal blog on April 14 last year, Carr claimed that NATO’s involvement was making life worse for people in Libya, half a million of whom, among them over 100,000 Libyans, had fled the civil war. He asked if these people would not have been better off if the international community had declined to act against Qaddafi.
He wrote: “For this is the test that the humanitarian intervention will have to pass: did it simply make matters worse?”
He now accepts that NATO’s interdiction of Qaddafi’s assault on his own people was the right move and that at the time, he called it wrong.
Carr’s retraction follows his surprise appointment by Australian Premier Julia Gillard to succeed her long-time political rival Kevin Rudd, heavily defeated in a party vote when he challenged Gillard for the leadership.
An experienced Labor party politician, in 1995 Carr became premier of New South Wales, where his three term, ten year occupancy was widely considered a success. He retired from politics to take up part-time consultancy with a law firm and a mining company.
While the Libyan government will doubtless welcome his change of heart, his new foreign affairs role may be more challenging when it comes to dealing with France and the UK.
In his condemnation of Anglo-French leadership of NATO’s Libyan intervention, after accepting it was a “fine-line” judgement, Carr wrote: “But trust the judgment of Nicolas Sarkozy, who to push votes away from the National Front is expelling gypsies and criminalising the burqa? And the judgment of William Hague and David Cameron, leading a wobbly coalition of neophytes ?”
He went on to finish by writing that Barack Obama had been right in what Carr saw as his reluctance over the intervention: “which now looks like it’s only extended the period of distress and widened the circle of suffering.”