Of course Australia has chosen the US over China

ScoMo continues his sensible path on Chinese aggression, at the AFR he writes:

…economic interdependence and openness has created unprecedented wealth and prosperity, and lifted billions out of poverty.

Importantly, it facilitated the economic rise of China.

No country has pulled more people out of poverty than China, and we in Australia are pleased to have played our role.

That is a good thing for the global economy. It is good for Australia. And, of course, good for the Chinese people.

We are not and have never been in the economic containment camp on China.

…Like other sovereign nations in the Indo-Pacific, our preference is not to be forced into binary choices.

…Australia desires an open, transparent and mutually beneficial relationship with China as our largest trading partner, where there are strong people-to-people ties, complementary economies and a shared interest in regional development and wellbeing, especially in the emerging economies of south-east Asia.

Hugh White is cock-a-whoop, at AFR:

Hugh White, an Emeritus Professor of Strategic Studies at the Australian National University, said US objectives towards China were not the same as Australia’s.

“The [Morrison] government has made it very easy for the US to present what we are doing in their terms,” he said. “Australia’s policy objectives towards China are fundamentally different to those of America.”

Professor White said Mr Morrison’s speech should be seen as an explicit effort by the Prime Minister to distance Australia from America’s strategic rivalry with China.

Meh. We’ll go on pretending that for as long as we can. But in reality there are few choices here. The open trading system we love relies on US hegemony. It is its hard power guarantor; purely a figment of the US liberal empire.

You can’t replace the US with the CCP without catastrophic disruption. It is fundamentally illiberal, corrupt and repressive. It stands in complete contadiction to the underpinnings that make the system work outside of China. The moment that you remove the independent umpire from East Asia then all hell breaks loose. Historical and ideological enmities drive policy. Nuclear and arms races take off. Ideologies clash. Wars begin. Trade collapses.

Likewise, US choices are limited. If it withdraws from its guarantor role then it invites a giant rival and threat to its Pacific doorstep. Why would it trade Chinese missiles parked off Seattle and LA for its own motoring around off China instead?

In the raw calculus of power, the US has zero incentive to withdraw from Asia.

That does not mean it will fight an open war. That would also be stupid. It is not committed to supporting Taiwan and never has been. The Taiwan clash is a civil war, if not in national terms then historical and ethnic. The US should do what it is already doing. Support Taiwan with material and protect the sea lanes.

Indeed, I expect the US to adopt this doctrine of proxy defense across Asia. Democracies must defend themselves not just rely upon a big brother. An anti-CCP, not anti-China, build-up of alliances and arms across Asia is more than enough to keep it busy for many decades.

In this environment, Australia will always choose the US. At least while the Coalition is in power, and probably Labor as well:

The difference is that Labor would sell us out quietly in the meantime and make it eventually impossible to resist China which is why it will very likely keep opposition benches warm for the foreseeable future.

In short, we’ll go on pretending that there is a choice until the crunch comes and then we’ll cut off the flow of iron ore when it does.

Why? Because in the end, there is no other choice.

David Llewellyn-Smith
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Comments

  1. Agree on picking US over China. I would do it on any given day too.
    You are very wrong on saying Scott chose sensible path. The path Scott took leads to lot of pain for us.
    We should have continue to decouple from China without triggering trade war or at least delay it for as long as we can. It would have allowed us to shift fair bit of our exports elsewhere and even diversify our economy. We are totally exposed now.
    Scott played the nationalistic card to gain support and trigger this war to do Trump’s bidding at expense of Australia. Most of the agri business we lost went to US farmers.
    There was no reason to go to the UN to ask for investigation into covid. That is big boys table and should have been left to US to play it. Why do you think Germany or any other EU country did not lead the charge on that?
    Btw – more than 10 years ago I was of the view that we are too exposed to China and saw the risks. I could not believe that no Gov ever thought to reduce that risk and never bothered to diversify.

      • We may not, there are 1.1 million people in Australia born in CCP controlled mainland China. Many are under the control of Beijing.

        • @ GD
          what about a few of those that don’t use the MSM to think and don’t bubble themselves with Guggle ?
          They will be hardest to convince to trust MSM

        • Most are not, yesterday some Chinese on WeChat blew up over Horrible Histories skit on a Chinese Empress who ate various wild animals saying it was insulting China, racist etc but plenty pushed back. I wouldn’t be surprised to find this sort of flare up is pushed by CCP to help support their “only the CCP can protect Chinese as everyone hates us” (forgetting to mention of course any change in attitude to Chinese is caused by the CCP actions)

          • Insects are still being eaten in China today, and in a lot of the world actually. Whatever outrage is concocted.

  2. I cannot agree with any part of this sentence: “The Taiwan clash is a civil war, if not in national terms then historical and ethnic.”

    The very few people still living in Taiwan that came from mainland China went there as refugees under the protection of the US. Historically China’s claim to Taiwan is no more sound as that of Japan’s or Holland’s, the Chinese could never fully control the island nor rid Taiwan of it’s ethnic peoples. The CCP has never had jurisdiction over Taiwan and does not deserve to.

    A claim with more substance would be North Korea’s claim to South Korea and not many of us would think that is valid.

    • Yes this. Thanks Surf.

      DLS you are wrong on Taiwan. To call it a civil war is to fall in to using the narrative the CCP are pushing. The next step is them saying “don’t interfere in China’s internal affairs” when they start lobbing IRBMs at Keelung and Kaohsiung.

        • ChristopherMEMBER

          Somewhat agree but I am sure there is a map in Beijing that lists over half of the world as China’s historical domain and therefore part of its internal affairs as the goal posts move along the chain.

        • I don’t think the US can not come to Taiwan’s aid if China decides to invade.
          US model of deterrence only works if the velvet glove has an iron fist within it.
          From Vietnam south, no single country has the heft to stop China on its own no matter how much it builds up.
          They need to combine together but the wolf pack works better when it has a large dog leading it that they can believe in and follow, i.e. US.
          I can understand the US demanding that countries build up their military to defend themselves as best as they can … but if US lets Taiwan go, then no country can put their faith in US leadership, and the Chinese win strong influence on a substantial part of the world all for the cost of invading a small island off their coast. … and Pax Americana is all but finished.

        • What about Natuna ? Arachnal Pradesh? Bhutan? Okinawa?
          Meant respectfully, Iam curious where you think the hard line should be drawn.

        • I hate war yet were are at the mercy of a merciless regime. As you have clearly pointed out in your series on the China/Australia trade dispute it is not about trade but about control.

          The CCP proclaims something belongs to China and years later because it has been said so many times they believe it and say it with such self righteous conviction. The way chats go with CCP fundamentalists is they fluctuate from what happened a decade ago to 3000 years ago to the power their military has at the moment. There is no logic or reason behind the arguments just a blatant territory grab.

          In the SCS they claim on one hand that a discovery of ancient chinese artifacts on an atoll is proof of chinese ownership but when the artifacts are Philippino of Vietnamese they argue they had an inferior navy and were not in control. Look at what they are doing to the water supply of their riparian neighbours, damming the rivers, reducing the flows, preventing crops, more control. While critising India building roads in Kasmir the PLA is working non stop building supply routes so that they can one day annex Kashmir and control access west and water.

          Salami slicing is not the new norm, the CCP has been doing it since inception. If Taiwan falls SE Asia will be even more afraid of an out of control regime and so will we.

          • I agree,
            Also if Taiwan is invaded , other asian countries will start tearing up the NPT lead by Japan, we would be wise to follow them.

    • , the Chinese could never fully control the island nor rid Taiwan of it’s ethnic peoples.

      And what that ethnicity is?

      There was never doubt if mainland China and Taiwan belong to one ethnicity, both sides have claimed authority over other side’s controlled territory.
      Taiwan and Mainland China are absolute equal to GDR/DDR scenario

        • Really?
          Less than 2.5% of people vs 97.5% whom live there for millennia?
          How does that classification the 3.1% of abos whom were killed en masse since the invasion of island and whom represented about 100% of population about 250yrs ago?

          FYI, Taiwan’s official name (chosen by themselves) is Zhōnghuá Mínguó, or Republic of, wait for it, -=China=-

          • This is typical CCP propaganda. The Chinese never had control of Taiwan, the Dutch saw an opportunity and tried colonising Taiwan and imported Chinese labour but skirmishes with the indigenous people dissuaded them from staying, the Portuguese tried, the British tried and the Chinese tried but the only ones who can claim to have had control of the island are the Japanese.

            There are descendants on the island from the original colonisation and there are descendants of escaped refugees that came to Taiwan about 70 years ago but obviously only a tiny percentage of the population are still alive that were born in China. Ask the people of Taiwan whether they think they are Chinese. Xi was only just born when the CCP took control of China and the CCP never had control over Taiwan.

          • This is typical anti China propaganda.
            The Chinese never had control of Taiwan Republic of China
            Eastern Germany never had control of Western Germany (and other way round).

            See Ronin’s comment below

          • In Australia we refer the original inhabitants of Australia as indigenous and no longer use terms once used in disparaging ways refer peoples of a different race.
            Also I neglected to mention that there are probably far less than 150,000 of the original refugees that fled China still alive today. Taiwan has an immigrant population of Chinese people equating to about 10% of the total population and comparatively 29.7% of Australia’s population was born overseas yet we do not call Australia, Britain or Italy or China just because people have immigrated here from those countries.
            Back to your original question, the Kuomintang that fled China account for less than .67% of the population and indigenous peoples around 2.38% about 4 times the size. If you think this gives China a right over Taiwan use the same logic and leave Tibet.

    • You do realize that both Taiwan and China have the word ‘China’ in their country’s official name? People Republic of China vs Republic of China. Similarly, North and South Korea is officially called People Republic of Korea and Republic of Korea.

    • I can’t understand what DLS is saying.

      A cold shiver will run down the spine of any free, democratic country with a the rule of law in Asia if the US and its allies don’t declare war on China if/when they invade Taiwan.

      We must declare war no ifs no buts. China will go ahead and annex south-east Asia if we don’t draw a line in the sand over Taiwan.

      Taiwan is a sovereign nation that the CCP has no legitimate claim over.

    • Isn’t it ironic that the projections of annexation and military aggression is done by a few that live in countries which have their military on foreign soil *without invitation* (AKA invaders) and yet China gets to be invading “Sudetenland” which was approved by our own masters in London!

      Remember Munich Betreyal Agreement of 30 September 1938?
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Munich_Agreement

      • Some of the recent military actions of western countries have been terrible decisions but the difference between western actions to China’s is that they were done after threats of action was taken against them, (Iraq/Kuwait, Iraq/threats against the west, Afghanistan/World Trade Towers), the west has not kept the land and moved out at the earliest opportunity, the CCP on the other hand invades a country then annexes it then claims the land was always China’s. Tibet, Kashmir. It tried to do the same with Vietnam, wants Myanmar’s ocean access, etc. The difference is incomparable.

        • LOL, now you’re chasing my comments.

          Wronger than wrong is a statement that equates two errors when one of the errors is clearly more wrong than the other. It was described by Michael Shermer as Asimov’s axiom.[1] The mistake was discussed in Isaac Asimov’s book of essays The Relativity of Wrong[2] as well as in a 1989 article[3] of the same name in the Fall 1989 issue of the Skeptical Inquirer:
          “When people thought the Earth was flat, they were wrong. When people thought the Earth was spherical, they were wrong. But if you think that thinking the Earth is spherical is just as wrong as thinking the Earth is flat, then your view is wronger than both of them put together.”

          • Totally irrelevant comment. The CCP uses any transgression it can find in anyone else no matter how far removed or trivial to justify it’s abhorrent behavior. It is time for the CCP to face up to it’s own wrongs, others can see them clearly.