Keating is right about Taiwan

Paul Keating is completely out of step on China. But he does have one good point to make and it is this:

Contrast this with Peter Dutton:

“(China’s) been very clear about their intent to go into Taiwan and we need to make sure that there is a high level of preparedness, a greater sense of ­deterrence by our capability, and that is how I think we put our country in a position of strength,” Mr Dutton said.

“China is an economic and military superpower. They spend 10 times a year more than what we spend on our defence budget and every 18 months they produce, on a tonnage rate, more by way of military assets than the whole Royal Navy has in her fleet, so the thought that we could compete with China is of course a nonsense. That’s not the question before us; the question is: would we join with the US?

“It would be inconceivable that we wouldn’t support the US in an action if the US chose to take that action. And, again, I think we should be very frank and honest about that, look at all of the facts and circumstances without pre-committing, and maybe there are circumstances where we wouldn’t take up that option, (but) I can’t conceive of those ­circumstances.”

Poppycock. Not only is it conceivable, but it may also be necessary. Admittedly, in the event of war, we’d likely play our usual role of guarding the supply dumps in Indonesia in return for diplomatic support. We might still pay a price for that:

That said, we should do everything in our power to prevent the conflict, especially telling the US that it should NOT protect Taiwan, either. It has no obligation to do so and any resulting war is likely to be very difficult to win tactically or strategically.

For now and in the future, we should also be doing everything in our power to help the Taiwanese protect themselves. And if push comes to shove, we should help Taiwan discretely in a proxy war role.

Keating is right that a Chinese occupation of Taiwan is a negligible advance of its power projection. Especially if Bejing is comprehensively and permanently isolated from global trading and capital markets in punishment.

That would make Taiwan the end not the beginning of a CCP empire.

Houses and Holes
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  1. Let’s run the scenario : China invades Taiwan, and the rest of the world gang up on China : all Chinese owned overseas assets, including US bonds, are confiscated, all sea trade with China is halted, and the country suffers a massive famine and collapses due to lack of imported food. Why would any sane Chinese leader do that? Nationalism is a tool, not an end in itself.

    • China invades Taiwan and instantly the 2 supertankers a day going to China find themselves guided elsewhere, along with all the LNG, coal, iron ore and food etc they import from the West.
      Game over.
      No energy, no food = starvation and the break up of China.

      Unless of course the Chinese feel like pushing the big red button.

      Then it’s game over for a couple of billion folk.

    • SnappedUpSavvyMEMBER

      i was surprised at how many taiwanese are pro china, the country is quite divided already, i reckon chyna will only ever use their relentless sleeze power to eventually do something like in HK

      • Got any data on how many Taiwanese who aren’t nearly-dead are pro PRC? I’m not having a go, serious question asking for information. The United Front are very active in Taiwan, as they are in all democracies, trying to stir up sh!t.

        My personal view is that democracies with populations around 23-25 million who live on islands should be concerned about other democracies with populations around 23-25 million who live on islands.

        Paul Keating hasn’t yet realised it’s not still the 1990s.

        • I don’t think Keating is viewing this from a democracy point, but simple power and money politics.

          I agree with you point on pop, if the west can just ditch Taiwan they would also ditch us if it suited.

          • Agree, with Taiwan China will then build a blue water navy. After which they can begin to challenge the US in Asia, and parts of the Pacific which will eventually fall their way. At which point, we are in then in play.

            Taiwan is the key. But it won’t happen for decades yet.

          • Should clarify – they will get Taiwan in a couple of years, their play on us won’t be for decades yet.

        • ErmingtonPlumbingMEMBER

          The “always part of China” narrative along with the historical machinations of what is a, still incomplete, Chinese civil war, within Chinese territory, would more likely lead the CCP into considering/risking a full Gloves off, Nuclear war over Taiwan than over Australia
          No such comparison or similarity exists with starting a war against Australia simply for a Resource/Land grab.
          Id like to see Taiwan independent with greater recognition too but for the CCP Taiwan is personal and Unless the West is prepared to completely shut CCP/China out of accessing our markets and resources then Taiwan’s fate is sealed.
          They’ll have a larger Nuclear arsenal than the rest of the world combined in another decade or 2.
          What percentage of Global manufacturing do they already supply?

        • SnappedUpSavvyMEMBER

          None, i was told this when visiting a molding factory 4-5 years back, i had raised the status quo subject earlier with the people taking me there, they told me the owner was pro china so don’t bring up anything after a few taiwan beers. And they told me many are pro china in taiwan, not the majority but i was surprised

          • It was reasonably high but since Xi crushed HK support for China has cratered. No doubt businessmen will still support though

  2. The idea that the world will cease to trade with China is in my opinion a joke. That may happen initially, but as always money speaks and the west will always follow the money. They’ll come up with an excuse, but trade won’t stop for long.

    • ErmingtonPlumbingMEMBER

      The West might have to reintroduce Tariffs so they can keep up with future Chinese military spending.
      2 birds with one stone and all that.

  3. When Taiwan was a rather nasty military dictatorship the US supported it. For years all the talk was about “the return” of the GMD to the mainland and there were artillery duels and commando raids that went on for years. Whenever China went to put an end to this situation and reunify the country they were subject to “nuclear blackmail” by the US – no democracy on Taiwan in those days. We hear nothing of the “228 massacre”.
    The Taiwan aboriginal population to this day face all sorts of discrimination from the chinese majority. The status of women is not as good as on the mainland.
    And there are the “old soldiers” – those parts of the GMD army that ignominiously fled to the province when they lost the civil war on the mainland – who don’t fit in well with the other ethnic factions and criminal gangs on the island.
    Everyone that you speak to wants to leave. The whole place could blow up in somebody’s face.

    • SnappedUpSavvyMEMBER

      status of women in Taiwan is worse then mainland china! LOLOLOLOL
      everyone wants to leave … LOL

    • GMD or KMT? The KMT is the rump of the Chinese Right wing army who spent as much time fighting the early communists as they did the Japanese before having to depart for Taiwan which they effectively took over.

      Read the history of the three Soong sisters who had a major impact on mid 1900’s Chinese history through who they married. One married into each camp. They thought USA educated Christians should rule China. They had the USA politicians conned]/vinced.

  4. pfh007.comMEMBER

    “..For now and in the future, we should also be doing everything in our power to help the Taiwanese protect themselves…”

    Why? Apart from the indigenous Taiwanese that everyone ignores – Taiwan is basically full of Chinese from China and most of them still have loads of family and business connections on the mainland.

    Perhaps NZ should do everything in their power to help the Tasmanians protect themselves from mainland Australia.

    All this Taiwan drama is nothing more than the LNP trying to cook up a national security scare for the next election.

    They don’t have any reffo boats on the horizon so this will have to do.

    Don’t play their tedious game.

    • Even StevenMEMBER

      Shouldn’t we support any country that is democratic, self governed, self sufficient and wanting to remain independent? I don’t think your Tasmanian analogy works too well in this situation.

      • Even Steven,

        Who says they want to become (let alone remain) independent?

        We don’t even recognise Taiwan as an independent country and neither do the USA.

        And there is a good reason for that. Taiwan is part of China just as Hong Kong is part of China.

        Just because we don’t like the CCP doesn’t change that.

        Perhaps we should help the Hawaiian’s resist the USA. That would be more legitimate than helping the Taiwanese.

    • “Don’t play their tedious game.”

      MB claimed it, and claims it claimed it first as their tedious game of choice. Big fail.

      Wanna know what’s going on re China? Look elsewhere than the Lying Nazti Party and MB.

        • Not down that narrow tunnel resounding with echoes and loopily bent round and round so much between here and Chynah there’s no light at the end to see, just pale white phantoms dimly beckoning and dull spooky apparitions, and no light to see you’re being led by the nose nor the other stumblebums close by who trip you up or pull you down though you stare as hard as you can into the gloom unblinking feeling lit up within by the light of truth and sold on its brilliance. It’s not a good look. Look further afield. Look widely. Look around you. Look elsewhere. Eyes wide open. Both eyes.

  5. Personally I find PK is right at least 90% of the time when the topic is International Politics / relations.
    I don’t think he is wrong wrt Taiwan, it’s simply that his timing is terrible.
    These days PK is like a standup comedian delivering a joke, which we all know, where neither the presentation nor the timing are there to make up for the shortcomings in the material.
    International relations is in the first instance Political Theater, being correct only gets you so far, the obvious shortcomings of your message must be made up for with an exceptional delivery, and delivery is precisely where PK is letting down team Australia.
    If you ask me about the long term, I’d say the Taiwan is a lost cause, but at the same time I’d say that it’s a battle that we can’t afford to loose for at least another decade.
    See what I mean, the message needs to be that Australia supports China’s reunification but not now.
    Lets plan for it, lets make a reunification committee, lets get the ball rolling (as in not). China is sick of these Taiwan delay tactics, but lets be honest China is sick of a lot of what passes for justice especially wrt accepted International laws / customs. In the end China will accept this if we enter into a guarantied Taiwan return pact before 2049.
    Personally I see this as an opportunity to show China that the International Courts can work in China’s favor, that these systems can be China’s best friend, because at the moment the whole charade of International Justice is fast becoming China’s cause célèbre. The Injustice delivered by the UN and the International courts only emboldens China to find its own solutions and address these issues on their own time line.