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Foreign Affairs Minister Bob Carr has praised the White House’s pause to consult Congress on military action against Syria, calling it a welcome contrast to the former Bush administration’s ”adventurous” war in Iraq.

En route to St Petersburg for the G20 forum of world leaders, Senator Carr said US President Barack Obama was showing admirable caution – though he insisted military action could still happen because of enduring outrage over Syria’s suspected chemical attack on civilians.

”Restraint becomes a great power,” Senator Carr said. ”As allies of America, we’re more comfortable with an ally that shows due judgment than one that attempts to define its greatness by lunging into adventurous wars.”

Senator Carr said the US and her allies had been ”seared by the experience of Iraq” in which the administration of George  W. Bush – with the backing of Congress – overthrew dictator Saddam Hussein on false evidence he possessed weapons of mass destruction.

It was proper that Mr Obama seek congressional approval for a limited strike on Syria as a response to the alleged chemical attack by the forces of President Bashar al-Assad a fortnight ago, he said.

”It enhances America’s status and enhances our trust in the President’s judgment. And again, it’s a contrast with the decision on Iraq in 2002-03 that explains entirely the vote by the British Parliament,” Senator Carr said, referring to the British House of Commons’ rejection of military action late last week.

The pause came as Labor attacked Opposition Leader Tony Abbott for calling the Syrian civil war, which has claimed an estimated 100,000 lives, a tale of ”baddies versus baddies”.

”We have a civil war going on in that benighted country between two pretty unsavoury sides. It is not goodies versus baddies, it is baddies versus baddies and that is why it is very important that we don’t make a very difficult situation worse,” Mr Abbott told ABC’s Insiders program.

The Syrian rebellion is riven with Islamic extremist elements, with the most powerful faction being the al-Nusra Front, which is an associate of al-Qaeda.

Finance Minister Penny Wong said Mr Abbott ”sounds like he’s talking about cops and robbers games when he’s talking about foreign policy”.

Senator Carr is due to meet Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov this week in Moscow before the G20 meeting in St Petersburg.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.