Australia’s Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s entry in the visitors’ book at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum last month may not sound so astonishing or dramatic. His words — “Let the world resolve afresh, from the ashes of this city, to work together for the common mission of peace for this Asia-Pacific century, and for a world where nuclear weapons are no more” — sound like many other entries written in the visitors’ book after people learned the truth of the effect of the use of nuclear weapons against humanity.
Australia’s new prime minister is comfortable with firsts. Kevin Rudd is the only Western leader who is fluent in Mandarin. He has set off on a lengthy world tour just after assuming office, with the first stop in the United States. And he kicked off the tour by quietly honoring an election pledge and opting out of a security alliance in the controversial occupation of Iraq.
With less than 48 hours to go before the Bali climate conference comes to a close, it is now universally expected that the 13th session of the Conference of Parties (COP 13) will produce a watered-down “Bali Roadmap.” Once again, countries will be bending over backwards to seduce the United States into joining a post-Kyoto multilateral process to bring down greenhouse gas emissions.