Australia exposes China’s Davos drivel

From Albo last week:

ALBANESE: I wrote to the Prime Minister last week suggesting that he engage with former Prime Ministers Rudd and Howard, both of whom have significant relationships with China and as well, of course, Kevin Rudd has significant relationships with the incoming Biden Administration as well. It’s very clear that when Australian jobs in industries as diverse as wine, education, the timber industry, coal and other exports are under threat because of what has occurred with the breakdown in the relationship and China’s actions. To be clear, it is China that is to blame for breaking down that relationship. But you need to find a way through. And I think that it is very sensible to engage former Prime Ministers Kevin Rudd and John Howard. That is suggestions that have come to me from senior people in the business community as well as people in the union movement who have been worried about jobs.

JOURNALIST: Just on China again, can you point to any substantive difference in how you would approach the relationship? Or is it more rhetorical and a matter of tactics rather than the big picture?

ALBANESE: Well, look, I wouldn’t compromise any Australian values. That’s very clear. And we have a bipartisan position about that. But under Prime Minister Howard and under Prime Minister Rudd, we were able to manage those issues, I think, appropriately. Under this Government, we’ve seen more linkage with China in terms of the percentage of our exports that go to that one nation have meant that we’ve been more dependent than ever before. But we have a circumstance whereby we need to look towards some form of a circuit breaker. Not one that compromises our values, that’s important. I’ve spoken in a range of contexts about our democratic values, about human rights and how we should be consistent about that. And I think that this would be a practical suggestion. Because at the moment, we know that there’s no dialogue occurring at all.

Weasel words. What is the point of sending the Kowtow Embassy to China when it is comprised of leaders that not only failed to prepare Australia for today’s China attacks but actually set up the conditions that made us vulnerable to economic coercion?

The governments of Howard and Rudd took the easy path of deeper economic engagement because they misjudged China. They thought that a liberalised economy would free Chinese politics. Instead, it has turned out that China is seeking to illberalise ours. Hoocoodanode?

These are conditions that Albo himself admits were not faced by previous Australian governments. So what is the point of sending past failures back now?

The CCP has made it entirely clear what the point is:

No Australian can support this. It is the end of our democracy and takes Australia down a path that culminates in the disagreeable, your children included, being sent to local gulags. Thankfully, no Australian does agree:

What is Labor’s plan for the Kowtow Embassy? Which of the 14 conditions is it happy with? None of them is acceptable because all will reopen conduits to CCP influence. Or does Labor agree with all 14 conditions, because China has made plain all will be required for re-engagement?

In short, flying off half-cocked with the Kowtow Embassy is implicitly undermining Australian foreign policy by suggesting compromise is possible where there is none.

Or, is there something else going on? Has Albo gotten instructions from Bejing that it wants to settle things down? After all, the CCP looks like a goose as Australia laughs all the way to the bank while China has horribly exposed its strategic vulnerability to commodity supply chains:

Moreover, in Davos, Xi Jinping looks more than ever like the bullying dictator, via The Australian:

Chinese President Xi Jinping has declared the “strong should not bully the weak” as he delivered a veiled warning to the new Biden administration days after sending warplanes into Taiwanese airspace and engaging in skirmishes with India.

“To build small circles or start a new Cold War, to reject, threaten or intimidate others, to wilfully impose decoupling, supply disruption or sanctions, and to create isolation or estrangement will only push the world into division and even confrontation,” he said.

…Positioning himself as the defender of the multilateral system, Mr Xi called for reforms of the World Trade Organisation and said China would continue to promote a “new type of international relations”. “China is working hard to bridge differences through dialogue and resolve disputes through negotiation, and to pursue friendly and co-operative ­relations with other countries on the basis of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit,” he said.

…Bilhari Kausikan, a former Singaporean Foreign Affairs Ministry secretary, told The Australian that Mr Xi’s speech was “overflowing with irony”, pointing not only to the trade restrictions but incursions in the South China Sea and East China Sea.

“But, you know, they don’t care what they say,” Mr Kausikan, one of the region’s leading foreign policy thinkers, said.

I’m not sure that they “don’t care what they say” is true. Why say anything at all if that’s the case. I have seen Xi pragmatically backtrack from mistakes before.

Let’s hope that there is no thaw. It is clearly in Australia’s national interest to diversify trade ASAP.

As such, there is no good spin that one can put on Albo’s new kowtow.

David Llewellyn-Smith
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  1. Hasn’t the rodent done enough damage to Australia? Albo leading with his double chin again.

    • We need a new word to describe what’s going on here.

      The Greeks gave us so much to work on, but things have evolved to a point where none of the following quite cut it any more;

      Kleptocracy – use of political power to appropriate the wealth of a nation……..tick
      Oligarchy – a small group of people having control of a country……..tick
      Plutocracy – government by the wealthy……..tick
      Technocracy – government by a powerful technical elite……..and tick

      What do we call a combination of all of the above?

      Democracy – a system of government by the whole population or all the eligible members of a state, typically through elected representatives…….hell no!!

      • a system of government by the whole population or all the eligible members of a state, OR through elected representatives…
        the 2 are not the same thing at all, although they share the same name. CCP are elected representatives…

      • While the others ring true, in no way, shape, or form, do we have a Technocracy, in any area of Government.

        • ErmingtonPlumbingMEMBER

          The entire discipline of Economics is now a Neoliberal “Unified powerful technical elite” that basically guides and runs the economic policy in every western nation across the world.
          Just like a technocracy.

      • UpperWestsideMEMBER

        You missed the current state

        Spindocracy – where it is the message not the reality that sustains the masses

  2. In the race to the bottom the political party that fails to discredit itself fully wins Australian elections. Once more the ALP is excelling in the speed at which it is sinking to the abyssal depths where electoral implosions occur. Albanese wants to send in the clowns from the opposing team as the ALP’s policy hull has passed its crush depth of credibility. Maybe he should have recommended a new search for Harold Holt, just in case he did swim to a Chinese submarine and can put in a good word?

    It’s an amusing take on rats in the engine room not leaving a sinking ship, but calling for help from other rats on the upper decks.

  3. This is spot on: “The governments of Howard and Rudd took the easy path of deeper economic engagement because they misjudged China.”
    Given that the CCP was always something to be weary of, the fact that the China relationship was GOOD under Howard and krudd points to the symptom of the kowtowing they did. The relationship was only good because they bent over for China and encouraged it…
    So Albatross here isn’t really offering a view on how to stop kowtowing to CCP/retain our sovereignty and still keep a relationship. with those 14 gripes with Aus, they’ve made it clear, it’s a either-or.

    • Our relationship is good because China was not ruled by an “Emperor for Life” back then. In Australia we separate the government regime into the Howard Era, the Rudd era, etc. For China we also need to separate it into the Deng era, Jiang era, and Hu era, etc.

      Albo is still stuck in the past. China is behaving very differently now compared to a decade ago.

      • Luca BiasonMEMBER

        Yes! yet rear-mirror politics seems to be the ALP way. The actual context of Xi’s China is lost or wilfully put to the side, letting other fringe arguments take the centre stage.

      • Yes, for a while China seemed to be doing a lot of the right things (as well as wrong things but progress in many ways) for both us & the Chinese. But Xi has demolished that narrative & gone in the opposite direction for not only the Chinese people but the whole world as he seeks to impose CCP norms upon all global organisations & foreign governments.

      • That is a great point. If anyone in our journalism profession had half a brain, they would pose that question to albo:

        “Just as you have mentioned the difference between Howard and Rudd leadership, can you not see the difference between the Deng era, Jiang era, Hu era and the current Xi era? If the goal posts have changed on the other side, how can you can you suggest to apply our approach in the past to the current hostile Xi leadership and declare that it would be the best way forward?”

        This is the issue with the general left, always inward looking with what we should do differently based on a naive notion of “everyone is peaceful” than looking at the problem at hand and the opponent at hand.

        I’d say “grow a pair” but unfortunately all that will yield is that some lefty will focus on why male genitalia is being used as a metaphor for strength and how sexist that is.

  4. Simply breathtaking that our major broadcasters felt no need to point out the almost comical hypocrisy from the CCP Emperor’s speech?

    Wall to wall coverage of every Trumpism however trivial but when it comes to blatant lies from the leader of the foreign power that is waging direct, unilateral economic attacks on Australia…….?

      • Or maybe Trump just kept putting his foot in his mouth every day on twitter or where ever. It seems many in the free press love something dramatic, emotive and/or controversial and Trump was only too pleased to serve it up every day..

        • It’s not a question of the crap Trump served up, it’s a question on what our so called, balanced free press chooses to reheat for our consumption. The fact they chose to include the targeted attacks of Xi Jinping as but a foot note on the menu of outrage while something as stupid as “covfefe” is elevated to the chefs special speaks volumes to the quality of media coverage in this country.

          • “….. it’s a question on what our so called, balanced free press chooses to reheat for our consumption. …”
            Please note that is precisely the point I am making. The fact Trump was so ham fisted and inflammatory in everything he did just made him an easy target. He literally gave the press everything they wanted on a daily basis and he gleefully hoovered up the attention.

      • To be fair, putting aside those accused as being China apologists or what not, I’m surprised that even those with an anti China bent didn’t feel the need to latch onto such obviously ridiculous comments.

    • The difference between talking about the US and talking about China, is that nobody (well, “nobody”) is seriously looking to China as a model to emulate, whereas successive Governments have been trying to turn us into America 2.0 for a generation or two, with – more or less – the support of the people.

      That is why everyone in the media cares what US leadership is doing (because we will follow), and hardly anyone cares what the Chinese leadership is doing (because we won’t).

      It is the same reason people care more about Christian fundies (because they have massive political influence) and very little about Islamic fundies (because they have none).

      • Yes this is true. Though I’d have expected a serve be dished out to the worlds biggest or 2nd biggest power.

      • Yeah, that’s a fair angle, but as Zulu pointed out, this is China we are talking about, not some irrelevant nation we can afford to ignore. This nation is our largest trading partner, the unrivalled superpower of our region and has been paraded around as our ‘friendly pacific partner’ until they recently launched a clear warning shot across our bow in the form of bilateral, economic warfare, the same things they just publicly cautioned anyone else from undertaking. Surely that warrants at least a Peter Helliar jab via the project? An 8 second snippet in between Corona Watch updates from 7 , 9 or 10??

  5. ashentegraMEMBER

    Security trumps Prosperity (no pun intended).

    China’s trade restrictions on Australian exports seem to have little impact… so far. This is not yet complete.

    Their actions make them an unreliable trading partner, to be diversified away from and served last wherever possible.

  6. My concern is corporations are not pulling manufacturing out of China, they will always have a large export market and healthy trade balance, no?

    • Yes, China had it’s largest ever inflow of FDI (foreign direct investment) beating the US for the first time.

  7. Luca BiasonMEMBER

    The Davos speech was quite rich from someone whose ascent to power effectively started with the purge of Bo Xilai, i.e. the genesis of Stalinism with Chinese characteristics (to be henceforth known as Xi-ism).

    Also aligning with Stalin’s thought, Xi needs the “countless innocent although well-intentioned sentimentalists or idealists” to aid his agenda. They are also known with another name.

  8. Luca BiasonMEMBER

    Former Google CEO and others call for U.S.-China tech “bifurcation”

    “China plays by a different set of rules that allow it to benefit from corporate espionage, illiberal surveillance, and a blurry line between its public and private sector. (…) Some degree of disentangling is both inevitable and preferable,” the authors write. “In fact, trends in both countries — and many of the tools at our disposal — inherently and necessarily push toward some degree of bifurcation.” That’s because the alternative to bifurcation is a world in which China’s non-democratic norms have “won.”