CITY OF LONDON, United Kingdom – Former Australian Prime Minister John Howard has today referred to U.S. President Barack Obama’s approach to Islamic extremism as ‘disappointingly complacent’ in a speech to the Margaret Thatcher Liberty Conference in London.
The high-profile event was attended by hundreds of political journalists, activists, writers, legislators and other global stakeholders. Howard’s comments were met by nods of approval across the room as he took aim at Barack Obama’s West Point commencement speech of last month.
Howard said: “Islamic fundamentalism is a far greater threat than many people in their culturally equivocal way believe.
“Obama’s West Point commencement speech… with the greatest respect to him and the office… I found it a disappointingly complacent speech when he spoke of Islamic extremism.
“In a world where Pakistan is a failed state and with Iraq… [the West Point speech] was altogether too complacent an analysis”.
Howard was speaking on a panel alongside former CIA director General David Petraeus, and commended the former ISAF commander with the ‘surge’ tactic that pushed back Islamist terrorists. But Howard was clear, in another barb directed at the U.S. President:
“It is a matter of regret to me that the fruits of [the surge] was squandered by some very indifferent political leadership.”
The conference in London was organised by the Centre for Policy Studies in honour of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Former First Lady Nancy Reagan sent a message of congratulations to the event organisers, who also attracted keynote speakers such as Niall Ferguson, Roger Scruton, Jonah Goldberg, Daniel Hannan MEP, Dr. Art Laffer, and John O’Sullivan.