Via the AFR comes former Ambassador to China Geoff Raby:
Among the many things China is accused of today is that it did not live up to its side of an implicit bargain with the West to become a liberal democracy and a fully paid up member of the US-led international order in return for the West’s welcoming China into the international system after decades of isolation, obscurity and stagnation.
…First was to encourage China to open its markets to foreign trade and investment, which would create economic opportunities for Australia. (At the time this was happening in the 1980s, no one had any sense of the scale this would eventually take and the huge contribution China would make to raising Australian living standards.)
…Second, it was understood that a more prosperous China would become a more stable and settled China politically.
…Third, an unstable, crisis-ridden China would have seen a huge outflow of refugees into the region. By the 1980s, large refugee movements in the region were still of major policy concern. Across the region, countries hosted camps of refugees from the Indo-China conflicts. Australia had been a major and generous destination. Mass refugee outflows from China could have destabilised the region and harmed security for many countries. Fortunately, this never happened but remains an ever-present risk were China to experience economic, political and social collapse.
Viewed from today, each of the objectives of Australian policymakers – free of ideological blinkers – when they decided to engage China, have been achieved and well beyond what might reasonably have been expected in the 1980s.
Sure, if measured from 1975 when nobody cared a jot. But what about 2005, when CCP power was on the rise? And I quote from The Diplomat, September 2005, Peter Hartcher interviewing then Treasurer Peter Costello:
Costello’s view of China is, like that of the rest of the Howard Government, highly optimistic and in some ways naive – seen through the prism of trade as one big economic opportunity for Australia which is to be maximised…from the views he has expressed privately to others, unperturbed by warnings that Beijing will in time seek to extract security advantages from Australia through economic means. He prefers to believe China, as an emerging, liberalising economy, is on an inevitable – if somewhat stop-start – path towards political democracy, and that Australia can facilitate this by engaging with China in multilateral forums…
Australian leadership had exactly the same blinkered view, thanks very much. They got it WRONG and so we need to change course.
No matter how much it harms Mr Raby’s clients.
- QLD election Liberal candidate demands China loyalty - October 29, 2020
- China’s agents of influence peddle decoupling drivel - October 28, 2020
- Morrison: Virus whipped. Unleash infected foreign horde! - October 28, 2020