It’s not easy being the anti-China “tip of the spear”

Back in 2018 when MB readers understood clearly where the Australia/China relationship was heading even as the rest of the nation did not, Donald Trump confidante Steve Bannon summarised the US view succinctly:

Donald Trump’s former chief strategist Steve Bannon has criticised Australia’s approach to an aggressive China, labelling it weak and saving his most blunt assessment for former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull.

“People are going to be held accountable in the next 10 or 20 years about ‘what did you know about China?’, ‘how did you accommodate it?’” he said.

…“It doesn’t really deal with political ideology. You have many progressives down there saying, ‘hey, we’re quite upset about this’. So I think … it’s going to play out very interestingly, and I think Australia is at the tip of the spear of this.”

“Tip of the spear” is how Bannon repeatedly described Australia in the China context. Both in terms of its domestic pushback and in terms of the strategic outlook.

Since then, what it means to be the “tip of the spear” has become more clear. It means spearheading the change in global psychology towards China, as well as protecting the “rules-based order” against it. And, in consequence, losing large slices of business with China as we push back against its domestic interference. It means eventually losing all exports to China as it can no longer trust Australia as a supplier of strategic commodities.

And, funnily enough, it means the following as a more specific kind of punishment:

In May, the US exported more LNG than Australia did for the first time ever.

This bumped Australia into third spot behind Qatar as well.

Now, get a load of this:

The US currently has only seven operational LNG terminals totaling 12bcfd capacity. It has two-thirds of that again under construction. And it has secured approvals for another 30bcfd.

In short, if it builds the whole lot (which it won’t), it will be providing 4x the volume of LNG to the world that Australia currently is.

And an awful lot of it will be going to China, even as our exports there fall. It has already happened to coal, where the US has been gobbling up our lost market share, and a lot of our LNG is already being discussed as the next target. Sure, our volumes will go elsewhere but it all crushes the price.

At least we still have iron ore for a little longer:

Australia has a long history of manipulating, cajoling, begging, borrowing and stealing from its great and powerful friends.

It’s going to need all of those dark arts and more in the decades ahead if it does want to be washed away by the ANZUS dependence.

David Llewellyn-Smith
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Comments

  1. Some of my North American acquaintances have started calling China ‘West Taiwan’ – that’s positively Aussie-level stirring, that is…

  2. So many levels of ironies…

    I’m sure the Yanks are going to reward us handsomely economically for our glorious sacrifice, and their consequent economic benefits… 😉

    • Anders Andersen

      Yep.

      And this from Bannon (following the MB links).
      “”Australia can show you when good and decent people kind of play by the rules and the next thing they look around and many of the economic resources and economic assets of a country are owned by another country,” he said.”

      I thought we were already there!

        • Yes – About US$1.8 Trillions worth. The Chinese few billions is only nickels and dimes.

  3. pfh007.comMEMBER

    It doesn’t matter.

    By selling the rest of our capital assets as quickly as possible we can rely on the new foreign owners of those assets to look after market access for us!

    Sure most of the profits of the trade will end up in the pockets of the offshore owners (or their international marketing divisions) but as long as our second rate management class still get to lease luxury cars and have the government sponsor their punts on residential land who cares!.

    • Ghost of Stewie Griffin

      By selling the rest of our capital assets as quickly as possible we can rely on the new foreign owners of those assets to look after market access for us!

      Which really leads us to China’s greatest sin – instead of withdrawing culturally and socially from solving the ‘economic problem’ in respect of its economy, and instead allowing all solutions to be provided by ‘market forces’ i.e. super wealthy Oligarchs and their families, notionally referred to as the ‘private sector’ which is reliant on debt based globalism.

      Essentially China is refusing to submit to the ideology of atomised ‘individual freedom’ and dissolution of the cultural nation state, that inevitably results in it being ruled over by a hostile elite, who are most capable of taking advantage of those ‘market forces’, and China continues to use its economy and its resources to project its Imperial Chinese values forward into the future.

      This is intolerable for the culture hegemon that is miss-leadingly referred to as the Western global liberal order, which wants to see its own values pushed forward into the future, and is why, imho conflict with China is inevitable.

      • ”Essentially China is refusing to submit to the ideology of atomised ‘individual freedom’ and dissolution of the cultural nation state, that inevitably results in it being ruled over by a hostile elite, who are most capable of taking advantage of those ‘market forces’, and China continues to use its economy and its resources to project its Imperial Chinese values forward into the future.
        This is intolerable for the culture hegemon that is miss-leadingly referred to as the Western global liberal order, which wants to see its own values pushed forward into the future, and is why, imho conflict with China is inevitable.”

        A lot to like in this GOSG. The US looks to me like a state that has been co-opted by big capital interests and being the tip of the spear for them has a lot of risks for us. As much as I think we need to protect our liberties, there is no question the dynamics of this situation are worrying and can easily end with many average folk fighting and dying because of a contest between two elites. It is for that reason (among others) I think it is healthy that we have some public figures willing to speak to the problems about both sides of this contest.

      • pfh007.comMEMBER

        Stewie

        Yes – the battle between China and the Western Private Banking complex will be a doozy!

        Not sure that it will necessarily result in a hot or even an open cold war.

        What we are likely to see is a lot of squirrel grips and wrist burns with all parties denying what they are up to.

        China understands that control of capital flows is essential as is ownership of capital assets.

        It has zero intention of allowing itself to be dependent on capital flows controlled by western banks nor of allowing foreigners any substantial ownership of the Chinese stock of capital assets.

        That this has now become clear is why the western banking interests are now so cranky with China.

        Whether China is smart enough to dodge the traps and not give the western bankers and their minions an excuse to attack is the only question.

        China woke up this week and realised that it needs to work on its PR and make sure it looks nice and cuddly….just like the western bankers do.

  4. When in doubt, you can always count on self interest.

    Because it’s not and has never been about shared values, it’s shared interests.

  5. MathiasMEMBER

    If its true that America has interfered in Australias Politics with Gough Whitlam and recently with Kevin Rudd, then it also seems fair to argue that America is responsible for Australias present indecisive and messed up Political situation we are going through currently. So all the crap thats going on in Australia can all get traced back to them.

    The first thing Australia needs to do is get its own Country back. The Australian People will never have a voice when Australia is nothing but a Proxy for Americanised Military Bases and Dirt Digging that whipes its a$$ all over the Australian People.

    I’d rather be as poor as sin, living in the bush with a Hobo-Stove then taking it up the a$$ by these foreign forces who think they can throw there weight around.

    If Labors practically been destroyed by American Foreign Interference into this Nation ( Im not saying I like Labor but sovereign interference is sovereign interference ), then that just makes Liberals an American Proxy enabling them whatever privileges they desire to gouge Australia to there hearts content. America just wants to instate American Friendly Politicians so they can just keep getting away with murder, walking all over us and doing whatever they hell they want.

    The more I think about this scenario, the more it becomes blatantly obvious why Australian Voices are being silenced into irrelevance… because we dont matter. We could all die for all America cares, as long as they still have access to our Resources and Pine Gap.

    The worlds not a fair place. Geo-Politics is Gangsta and Wars are not nice things. Yeah, I get it… but Australias got to put Australian Interests first, above all else.

    Australia is for Aussies. Its how it is and how its always going to be.

    Those who disagree need to be shoved on the first plane, send back to America and told to FK OFF. Our Country. Our Rules.

    The more I think about it, its blatantly obvious why Australian Citizens are being marginalized.

    Americans arent bad people but an American Government who ‘deposes 2 Australian Prime Ministers’, bloody hell… if that evidence is correct, why isnt Australia shutting the borders to these pr*cks?

    I dont care how big these American a$$holes are or how many warships they’ve got… they’ve got no rights interfering in another Sovereign Nations Parliament, especially one they call Ally.

    Mates do stuff to each other. Its part of life but its pretty damn hard to explain shoving your CIA into someones parliament to depose Prime Ministers. How else can Australia see those actions except as ‘An Attack on the Australian People for US personal gain’?

    Lets see what happens when Americas closest Ally turns its back on it due to ‘Deposing its Prime Ministers’. World response would be very interesting to watch, ” Newsflash: US closest ally puts up walls after US launches covert attacks on it “. Maybe its time to renegotiate our alliance.

    The US president in power at the time when Kevin Rudd was being deposed by the CIA in Australia, was George W. Bush ( Republican ). In 1975, it was Gerald Ford ( another damn Republican ). Tell me these a$$holes didnt know or approve these actions.

    America owes Australia an Apology at the very least… and compensation for all the damages its caused upon the Australian People. They’ve effectively changed the entire Australia Landscape and Marginalised the Australian People because now our Governments are too afraid to do there jobs ( The Australian People ).

    So futuristically, Australia can expect more attacks on our Country everytime a US Republican President ends up in office. Bloody Wonderful. Time to Renegotiate our Relationship. Maybe with a, ” Dont Run CIA Covert Operations and Depose Our Prime Ministers ” clause in the contract. Hows that for Fing Diplomacy.

    • Lord DudleyMEMBER

      Yeah, nah. Australia is the way it is because Australians voted for repeatedly. To paraphrase George Carlin, this is the best you can do, folks, this is what the system delivers. Garbage in, garbage out. Blaming Americans for Australia’s self imposed predicament is a furphy. The problem with Australia starts and ends with Australians.

        • Because they sought to protect their interests? The RGR period was probably the worst in Australia’s history.

  6. MB must have been reading the SCMP – a while back they had an article on what the Americans are selling more of to the Chinese and Australia less. And there is Californian wine.

    Would the real useful Idiots please stand up !