Incorrigible Optimist

Incorrigible Optimist

Book Review

Incorrigible Optimist: A Political Memoir
Gareth Evans
Melbourne University Press

Gareth Evans, foreign minister in the Hawke and Keating governments, talks a lot about the centrality of “good international citizenship” to his thinking on foreign policy. He defines this as a willingness to cooperate internationally to advance the public good. For Evans, prioritising “purposes beyond ourselves” – today, one might think of improving the international response to refugees, or nuclear weapons proliferation, or rising sea levels in the South Pacific – can be reconciled with hard-nosed arguments about the national interest. He not only regards the instinct for good international citizenship as a characteristic of the governments in which he served; he also understands it to be part of the Australian national psyche.

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