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:
If Australian troops come to fight in the Taiwan Straits, it is unimaginable that China won’t carry out a heavy attack on them and the Australian military facilities that support them. So Australia better be prepared to sacrifice for Taiwan island and the US👍 https://t.co/98XUaRlvwL
— Hu Xijin 胡锡进 (@HuXijin_GT) November 13, 2021
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.