Even before U.S. President Barack Obama’s Air Force One touched down in Australia this week the trip was causing quite the media frenzy. An article in the Herald Sun, one of the widest read newspapers in Australia, trumpeted the fact that Obama was to be welcomed with a jar of Marmite, a popular native breakfast spread. The Australian, the country’s leading newspaper, sported an entire section devoted to “Obama Coverage” throughout the president’s visit. Australian Prime Minister Julia Goddard was coined by the papers as the president’s “old friend.” Pictures of the platonic pair laughing intimately between themselves are splattered unanimously across the country’s news outlets. Headlines such as “The love that will not die” hang happily below such photographs. Even political criticism of Goddard has taken a vacation while Obama is in town, with her party gaining 3 percent in the primary vote last week – no doubt partially as a result of the rose-colored lens through which the media appears to be viewing US-Australian relations.
Despite all the journalistic infatuation, the seemingly sunny affiliation between the two nations comes as something of a surprise during a time of global power redistribution. After all, it could be argued that Australia has rather openly attempted to cozy up to China, with which the United States sometimes appears determined to contain. Australian journalists, however, have yet to offer a reason for the reinforced alliance, and seem satisfied to be merely smitten by it. Love can be so blind.
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