After Andrew Hastie called out the weak-kneed yesterday for failing to resist the rise of Chinese tyranny, a furious debate has erupted. The AFR leads us off with the good news:
…public utterances such as Hastie’s are unhelpful. They aggravate an already volatile situation.
China has Australia over a barrel economically. “They could put us in recession tomorrow,” said one senior Coalition source.
…As much as Morrison and his ministers insist Australia is not taking sides in the tensions between the US and China, its actions suggest that at a minimum, it is certainly hedging its bets.
At a micro level, Morrison is surrounding himself with China hawks, as evidenced by the appointments of Mike Burgess as the next ASIO director-general and Andrew Shearer as the next Cabinet secretary.
Hastie was thoroughly helpful and bravo ScoMo on the appointments. Kow towing to China by pretending it isn’t there is the response of a three year old child with his hands over his eyes. If conducting such discussions costs you a recession then you might as well find out as soon as possible because there is absolutely no stopping it in the future.
Ironically for the AFR, the key takeaway from Hastie’s Nazi analogy is not that Communist Party China is evil, it is that we are weak. He is highlighting how the co-opting of greedy elites aided and abetted Nazi power via such kow towing notions as the Maginot Line.
Thankfully, the wider MSM is more circumspect. The Australian:
New ASIO director-general Mike Burgess will transform the domestic spy agency, increasing its use of sophisticated technology and cyber spycraft to counter growing foreign interference by state actors, including China and Russia.
…Mr Burgess takes on the role amid growing concerns over foreign interference in Australian politics and universities, a surge in hacking and intellectual property theft, and the identification of China by Western nations as a clear strategic threat.
…At ASD, he advised Malcolm Turnbull not to allow Chinese companies Huawei and ZTE to be involved in Australia’s 5G rollout.
That’s a terrific choice. It will not only make things tougher for CPC spooks, it will draw us closer to the US. Shearer is an equally good choice: a former national security adviser to John Howard and Tony Abbott and head of ONA.
Equally good is the dumping of Martin Parkinson as PM&C head, who had populated the department with DFAT drones and dislocated economic from strategic policy. Phil Gaetjens has a much better understanding of the issues.
Speaking of DFAT, recent appointments will also help contain its China apologists. Marise Payne was a good choice for the ministry and her new chief of staff, Justin Bassi, is Malcolm Turnbull’s former national security advisor who shepherded through both the foreign interference laws and the Huwaei decision.
Defense is also in good hands with Linda Reynolds with former head of geospacial intelligence Scott Dewar her chief of staff.
Steven Kennedy as the new Treasury Secretary is also open minded.
This is about as close to a dream team of China hawks and realists as Australia could muster. I doubt we would have seen the same from a very confused Labor Government so, if on nothing else, the Australian people have been rewarded for their choice of government in a bolstered team to redress the burgeoning CPC tyranny.
And they are already hard at it already, via Domain:
An intense diplomatic effort is under way to overturn “seriously disturbing” plans for a new Chinese military base after repeated public denials of the deal by Beijing and Cambodia failed to convince the Australian government.
…The reports, which Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen dubbed “the worst distorted news”, prompted Australia to urgently seek more information, but officials are deeply unsatisfied with the response and believe the base could go ahead.
…Senator Payne discussed the Cambodian base with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Sydney on the weekend and agreed to stay in close contact on developments.
…One senior national security official said the base plan was “seriously disturbing” and had triggered alarm. The Indonesian government was so concerned by last month’s reports that it dispatched an official from Phnom Penh to seek first-hand information.
A number of countries in the region are quietly working behind the scenes to prevent any Chinese military installation on Cambodian territory.
Domain also printed an op-ed from Professor Anne-Marie Brady, China specialist at the University of Canterbury, New Zealand, and author of Small States and the Changing Global Order: New Zealand Faces the Future:
Australia has led the world in facing up to the China component of the new security environment, passing legislation against foreign interference, addressing the risk of Huawei and the 5G network, and working to undo the damage of former Australian government policy that allowed three BeiDou global navigation ground stations to be set up on Australian territory and permitted foreign control of critical infrastructure such as the Port of Darwin.
The Australian government has also launched a new Pacific policy, stepping up its level of engagement with its neighbours. As was the case in WWII, the small island states of the South Pacific are shields for Australia. If a hostile nation controlled one of the island states on Australia’s maritime periphery, they could cut off shipping and communications.
Australia has made adjustments in its China policy and developed a well-thought-out resilience strategy, because a realistic assessment of Xi Jinping’s foreign policy has given it no other choice. Since coming to power in 2012, Xi Jinping has returned the Chinese Communist Party’s foreign policy to a level of antagonism not seen since the Cultural Revolution, while China’s domestic foreign policy has also returned to extremes of oppression familiar from the Mao years.
Professor Brady is well acquainted with CPC bullying. Her’s is high praise. If we are the tip of the spear in Cold War 2.0 then it was just sharpened.
He is also a former gold trader and economic commentator at The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, the ABC and Business Spectator. He is the co-author of The Great Crash of 2008 with Ross Garnaut and was the editor of the second Garnaut Climate Change Review.
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