Australia's conservative prime minister John Howard, a staunch ally of the current US Republican President and his policy on Iraq war on Sunday said al-Qaeda would be praying for a Democratic win at the next US election in 2008 and in particular a win for wildly popular Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama.
Accusations are flying wild that the Australian prime minister has stooped so low to interfere with US politics and influence the outcome of US presidential elections.
US democrats are lashing back saying if Mr Howard is so strongly supportive of the war in Iraq then he should send another 20,000 Australian troops into battle.
John Howard is defending his statement saying it is in Australia's national interest to stay engaged in Iraq and fight terror.
It is important to fight and defeat the terrorists. There is no argument on this point.
But to take a Machiavellian approach on national interest and slant intelligent public discourse is a questionable tactic which leads to inflammatory reactions.
This sort of attitude does not serve to enhance mutual respect and co-operation which is also important for national interest, the very issue that John Howard wants to protect.
Supporters of John Howard say that he has free speech. But can such free speech be used to interfere with another country's presidential election?