Perhaps Julia Gillard would have been more circumspect if she had had time to read The Economist before chatting on the phone with US President Barack Obama. With a detailed review of the lack of progress in the nine year Afghan war, the weekly news and views magazine concludes "presidential decisiveness cannot conceal a deeper truth. America and its allies are losing in Afghanistan." Yet there was our new Prime Minister overnight assuring the president who decisively sacked the general in charge of the war effort that Australia's approach to the NATO-led coalition's campaign would be the same as it was under her predecessor, Kevin Rudd. A pity, really, that our leaders don't have some of that Dutch courage.