On the eve of his big speech on Afghanistan, President Obama will huddle with the leader of a coalition partner in that war-torn country.
The White House announced today that Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd will be at the White House on Monday, the day before Obama addresses the nation from West Point.
"Australia is an important ally of and partner with the United States in addressing the many common regional and global challenges we face. During their meeting the two leaders will confer on a range of issues including Afghanistan and climate change in the run-up to Copenhagen," the White House said.
Australia increased its troop presence in Afghanistan by about one-third to 1,550 this year (compared to about 68,000 US troops).
Obama is seeking more troops from the international coalition, but in September, Rudd said his country's contingent was "about right." His foreign minister said then that Australia would be willing to send more civilian assistance.
Rudd is less hawkish than his predecessor, John Howard, the conservative he ousted two years ago, who was one of President George W. Bush's most steadfast allies on Iraq.
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Glen Johnson is Politics Editor at boston.com and lead blogger for "Political Intelligence." He moved to Massachusetts in the fourth grade, and has covered local, state, and national politics for over 25 years. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @globeglen.