Sigh. A CCP brainwashed Stan Grant again on the weekend:
Why do we hear so much about the liberal global order, when the truth is, it never existed? It was never a global order and it was not liberal.
The phrase itself is a modern invention coming into vogue really only in recent decades, yet it is presented as holy writ.
In the past few weeks, this mythical order has been invoked as a means of dealing with a disruptive, authoritarian China.
Australia’s top diplomat, Frances Adamson, has said we need to reinforce a resilient, flexible and open system that can sustain peace in a more complex and competitive geopolitical era.
Adamson, the head of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, told the Australian National University’s National Security College that we have entered an uncomfortable period for liberal democratic nations like Australia, but that the solutions are still found in global order.
The promotion of this order accelerated after the end of the Cold War in the 1990s, a period of Western triumphalism when then US President George HW Bush talked about a new world order and, later, President Bill Clinton could lecture the Chinese Communist Party that it was on the wrong side of history.
This was hubris that assumed the supremacy and universality of liberal democratic values. Simply, it meant: get with the system or get left behind.
Singaporean former diplomat and political commentator Kishore Mahbubani said this thinking may have done some “serious brain damage to Western minds”.
Mahbubani says the 1990s marked the end of Western domination and a turn to the rise of Asia, particularly China.
Harvard University professor Joseph Nye has reminded us that “American dominance was never as great as some myths make it out to be”.
The world is not the West, and liberal values are not universally embraced.
…Eric Hobsbawm concluded his study of the 20th century, The Age of Extremes, with a warning: we may not know where we are going, but history has brought us to this point.
He said we cannot prolong the past: if we do we will fail. We must change, he said, or “the alternative to a changed society is darkness”.
It takes some serious delusion for this argument to stick:
- there never was a liberal order;
- so there is nothing to enforce or fall back on to fight Chinese bullying;
- the liberal order was an “end of history” western fantasy;
- so we should all embrace Chinese tyranny because it is inevitable and the alternative is darkness.
To reach these conclusions Stan has left a few bits of history out.
To deny that the post-WWII was anything other than liberal is preposterous. Most of it was governed by, and for the benefit of, the US, with the USSR fighting a rearguard action for communism in proxy wars across the globe. Overwhelming US force projection superiority was a form of empire and god help you if you didn’t agree.
Does that make it illiberal? In some ways. Especially as it fought the USSR in many “dirty” wars. But that’s how all international power works. Somebody is always forcing their worldview on somebody else. We’ve just been lucky enough to live through a period when he who carried the biggest stick was happy for us to run our own affairs so long as we did so with freedom at the centerpiece of our system.
And that order also penetrated China, eventually. Does Stan Grant not remember the crushed Maoist economy and the Cultural Revolution? After Mao, China liberalised immensely under Deng Xiaoping, so much so that Chinese youth dreamt of a democratic China, before being squashed by tanks in 1989.
Yet, even after the massacre, China did turn away from liberalism. It channeled it economically rather than politically. Which is why its wealth grew because it liberated the economic endeavors of a billion Chinese. Arguably, had Emperor Qianlong been so wise as to engage with an industrialising Britain in his court in 1793, liberalism might have brought China out of the dark ages 200 years earlier.
After 1989, China more or less followed the script of other economically liberalising but authoritarian Asian states, the Singapore model if you like, which fused Western liberalism with Asian paternalism and familial corruption (arguably Confucianism).
Even in 2008, many in China were still looking to liberal capitalism as their model. The GFC changed that as Wall St greed and treason gutted the US brand. That helped give rise to counter-reformation in the Chinese Communist Party and loyalist Xi Jinping, who in 2012 effectively ended any flirtation with political freedom that China might have had.
It was at that point that China also ended its blended liberalism/socialism political model. What rose in its place with Xi Jinping was fascism. An emperor and ruler for life, an unimpeachable Fuhrer, whose right it was to penetrate anywhere and everywhere into people’s lives. This was accompanied by pogroms and the cult of personality typical of fascistic leaders, crimes and punishments systematically deployed to control social order, as well as a distinct reversal towards central planning for the economy plus, today, martial and nationalist fervour and the propaganda mastery of “Xi Jinping thought”.
These are all characteristic of a form of communism where it becomes indistinguishable from fascism.
Perhaps the greatest historian of the twentieth century, Eric Hobsbawm, introduced definitions of political ideology that are helpful in what this means. The Age of Extremes argues that the twentieth century was defined by two wars of ideas. On the one hand, there was a struggle to define the post-enlightenment system in greater Europa between the reason-based organising principles of liberalism and socialism. On the other hand, these two were forced into contest against a more serious enemy, the pre-enlightenment system of fascism presented in Germany, Italy and Spain.
To cut a long story short, liberalism and socialism are humanist, with man at the centre of the universe. On the other hand, fascism is from the dark ages when voodoo ruled the world, leaders are chosen by a deity and they exercised its will, to rule with absolute power and ritual, usually with some poor ethnicity demonised as the ultimate enemy and other.
Both were hideously bloody struggles but it was much worse between pre- and post-enlightenment systems.
Today we face a similar contest, not between liberalism and Chinese socialism deploying the Singapore model. Such a pragmatic model of government would have no need for external enemies, wolf warriors and worldwide hostilities. If that were the case then I very much doubt we would be having this conversation at all.
No, this contest is between a liberal order created first by the British and inherited by the US, versus an illiberal turned fascist order emanating from China under Xi Jinping’s CCP which seeks to replace it.
This brings us back to Stan Grant who has entirely the wrong end of an ironic stick as he argues that anything other than compromise with an inevitable China is a fascistic and colonialist impulse. That the US enforced liberalism through the twentieth century doesn’t render it historically non-existent even if it complicates it. That’s the paradox and power of liberalism. It is large, it contains multitudes, even its own enemies and seeds of its demise, even Stan Grant. It is only fascistic ideologies that see history in absolutes.
So, if we are to rise above the ironic fascists at the ABC and their CCP alliance how should we do it? Ross Babbage chimes in:
Current tensions between Australia and the Chinese regime are often described as a trade war. It is much more than that. What we are actually seeing is a far-reaching sovereignty war.
The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is using a vast arsenal to coerce Australian governments to cede key parts of our political independence. Trade pressure is just part of a larger offensive.
This type of coercion has been a feature of the CCP’s campaigns to defeat domestic and international opponents for over a century.
First, we need to do our homework on China. We need to greatly strengthen national understanding of the CCP, its ideology, its practices, its track record and its future plans. We need to encourage deep expertise not only in our politicians and officials but also in the media, industry, trade unions and all important parts of our society.
Second, we must energetically strengthen our international competitiveness and our national resilience. Many industries and enterprises need to rapidly diversify their markets and their product mixes.
Third, we need to rapidly strengthen our military and para-military deterrence and defence capabilities. We need to move quickly to strengthen those capabilities that will provide high leverage in the types of crises we may face in the coming decade. Highly trained special forces are one capability that will have very important roles to perform.
Fourth, we need to do more to assist all of our Indo-Pacific neighbours and friends that are also confronted by the CCP’s coercive pressures. Australia should work closely with Japan, India and others to initiate a New Security Partnership. This flexible network would provide both political and practical support to Indo- Pacific countries of all sizes as they strive to maintain their sovereignty and independence. Above all, we need to ensure that no country is left standing alone.
More good work at Herald Sun:
Exclusive: The Five Eyes allies are quietly discussing a plan to fight back against China’s aggressive new trade tariffs by introducing joint retaliatory sanctions on Chinese goods and produce.
News Corp understands officials from some of the Five Eyes nations have been discussing how best to respond to China’s attempts to pressure Australia by harming some of our export markets, notably beef, wine and coal.
One option is that all five nations – Australia, the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada and New Zealand – respond with their own sanctions on Chinese goods and services.
A second option would be for Australia to respond with retaliatory tariffs on inbound products from China, and the four allied nations support the move by refusing to buy extra product from China if Beijing looked to make up its losses elsewhere.
Talks are at a preliminary stage, but the idea is gaining traction in Canberra, and is being seriously considered in Washington.
News Corp has been told the problem had been discussed at high levels within the Morrison Government, but that talks so far remained at the level of officials.
The discussions come as the Five Eyes alliance, formed decades ago as an intelligence-sharing agreement, continues to expand into diplomatic and economic policymaking, largely in response to concerns about Chinese aggression.
“Five Eyes co-operation is off the charts at the moment,’’ a source said, pointing out even the Social Services Minister Anne Ruston had a recent Five Eyes link-up with her fellow ministers.
It’s important to note that, again, we are not alone.
Not a bad start but not great either:
- Give up understanding China. It is so good at capturing insiders with its giant bribe that it does more harm than good.
- Strengthen international competitiveness is good. But that is where Morrison is at his weakest. All his policies do the opposite.
- Strengthen the military is good.
- Assist neighbors is good with much multilateral pushback.
- Apply an export tariff to iron ore automatically proportional to China’s import tariffs on everything else.
- Scrap the FTA and BRI.
- Ban Chinese immigration and force Chinese media to be locally owned plus ban WeChat. The local diaspora needs protection.
- Woo the US into turning Australia into a gigantic and bristling naval base.
- Develop the Quad into an Asian NATO.
There is one more mighty task that is beyond Australia but some US president is going to have to take on it in due course. A treasonous Wall St, which already ruined the liberal democratic brand, will now invest into China and build liberal democracy’s arch competitor if it’s allowed. It must be reined.
These are the things that will contain the CCP to the South China Sea in the long term to protect our children’s freedoms from those that would take it from them now at the ABC.