MB has won the China debate

MB has won the China debate. Readers will remember a time in the not too distant past when legends of Australian journalism, business and politics were still intent upon selling Australian feedom to China for a few yuan more.

Thankfully that time has passed. Normatives have diametrically flipped and the accepted wisdom of today is that China is dangerous, courting it is at best stupid and probably treasonsous, and preparing for a deterioration in its behaviour is the priority.

This was made clear last night by that bastion of bourgeois dross, Q&A, which took Paul Keating’s recent kowtowing to the woodshed:

Paul Keating’s views on China have been labelled “entirely wrong” on Q+A, with the former prime minister accused of basing his beliefs on 1970s politics.

Mr Keating addressed the National Press Club on Wednesday in a wide-ranging discussion on China.

He said Australia should not get involved in tensions over Taiwan and “China does not represent a contiguous threat to Australia”.

His remarks came amid renewed tensions between Canberra and Beijing over trade and human rights, as well as Australia’s recent AUKUS defence pact.

Mr Keating’s comments were championed by China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson but on Q+A, they were described as everything from “wrong” to “delusional”.

Nine’s political editor Chris Uhlmann was most strident in his criticism of Mr Keating.

“He said China was not a threat.

“I have a list in front of me that was handed to my colleague last year of 14 demands of Australia that was handed to him by a Chinese official and it was backed in by the foreign ministry and by the Chinese media.

“It complains about the fact Chinese companies have been stopped from foreign investment, that we banned Huawei from the rolling out of 5G, called for an inquiry into the origins of COVID-19 and things our MPs and papers say.

“If you don’t believe there’s a clear and present danger, there is a threat from China, you’re either delusional or wilfully blind.”

International relations expert Lavina Lee said Mr Keating’s views on China were out of touch with the current political climate.

“I think that’s a kind of wrong basis from which to act.”

Dr Lee said Australia was not the only nation in the Asia Pacific region to have issues with China.

“Australia is not an outlier here,” she said.

“China is the only dissatisfied power in Asia, in the region.

“It is revisionist and it has expanded its ideas of what its territorial borders are. It used to be satisfied with consolidating control over its land borders in Xinjiang and Tibet.

“Now it sees the South China Sea and the East China Sea as part of its natural territory and seeks a permanent presence there.”

China has been vocal in its criticism of the AUKUS pact with the United States and United Kingdom that will see Australia acquire nuclear submarines, and has accused Australia of threatening regional stability.

Dr Lee said despite China’s disdain for Australia’s AUKUS pact, it was one which many nations in the region could look upon favourably.

She said China needed to give “due deference to the interests of other countries in the region”.

“What Australia is doing through things like AUKUS is going back to the Anglosphere, but the fact remains we have a strong alliance with the US and the UK,” she said.

“We should use those alliances to build our capabilities.

“Other countries in Asia are actually looking to us to play a part in deterring and balancing China, to send it a signal that there are costs associated with [their type of expansionist behaviour.”

Some Asian nations view both US and China as bullies

Yun Jiang, managing editor of the China Story blog at ANU, said Australia’s move to immediately look to those allies reflected a racist in the nation’s foreign policy.

“When we talk about history and talk about kinship, we only talk about the US and the UK,” she said.

“I think that really reflects the fact the foreign policy establishment in Australia is very much dominated by white people.

“People only think of Australia in terms of a white history.”

Ms Jiang said even though Australia enjoyed close ties with the United States, many in Asia saw the US in a different way and as far from a benign or friendly power.

“From the perspective of a lot of countries in Asia, the US is not as benign power, as we see the US,” she said.

It was a statement that Uhlmann sought to shoot down as he suggested China was the bigger of two evils.

Dr Lee also said other Asian nations were right to be wary of Chinese interests, especially as President Xi Jinping continued to consolidate his power.

“I think we always have to be careful with the Chinese Communist Party’s rhetoric,” Dr Lee said.

“Their own narrative is all about being bullied by outside powers, yet, its current behaviour is about bullying other smaller countries in its neighbourhood, including Australia.

“Since 2012, China has been building islands, militarising them, bullying the other claimant states in the South China Sea, using coastguard, militia, stopping countries like Malaysia that have been extracting oil in its close territorial waters from actually continuing to do what they’ve done for decades.

“So countries in Asia are very wary of China.”

Should Australia defend Taiwan?

One of those is Taiwan.

Over the past year, tensions between mainland China and Taiwan have escalated through trade embargoes and rising military tensions.

Western nations such as the US have repeatedly stated they are watching the situation there closely, which has prompted warnings from China about the need for foreign agents to stay out of its policies.

Mr Xi has not ruled out China taking Taiwan by force in the future and the possibility of conflict in Asia has been talked about more in recent days and weeks.

Mr Keating said acting on Taiwan was not in Australia’s interests.

The panel mostly felt that military involvement would not be the right option but that Australia, in Labor MP Ed Husic’s words, “should have an interest”.

“We should be working towards stopping any military conflict there,” Mr Husic said.

“We should have an interest in what happens to Taiwan.

“They’re also one of the largest producers of semiconductors, one of the most essential items in electronic and tech all over the world.

“There is an interest in us maintaining their ability to produce because of that economic benefit that is derived from that and the importance it has. We do need to take an interest in what happens there.”

Ms Jiang said she thought Australia needed to “think about our interests” in regards to Taiwan and support democracy but Dr Lee suggested action if it was needed.

“Australia has agency in this issue,” Ms Lee said.

“So it’s in our interests to actually show support for Taiwan.”

With China the subject of such impassioned debate, the panel also spoke about the treatment of Chinese Australians.

Audience member Steve Khouw said he felt anti-Chinese sentiment was rising.

He asked Ms Jiang about the marginalisation she felt when asked by Liberal senator Eric Abetz about her attitude towards the Chinese Communist Party, during a parliamentary inquiry into diaspora issues.

Ms Jiang said she “underscored the point that we should not put a higher bar for Chinese Australians to express our loyalty than other Australians” before she went to the inquiry.

“They were actually not interested in hearing what I wanted to say about the increased suspicion on Chinese Australians,” she said.

“What they wanted to know is whether I would denounce the Chinese Communist Party.”

Ms Jiang said she felt as if her loyalty to Australia had been questioned and that she felt targeted.

“I should have the right to criticise my government and so should everyone here,” she said.

I guess we can allow ABC its racial obsession even though this was only ever about freedom.

The battle is not over. There are plenty of bought interests still at large. The ALP is still not fully cleaned out though its political radar has corrected. The universities are a giant China fellatio machine. The CCP useful idiots in the press will scream blue murder over every hot button issue.

There are big debates to come. Chinese immigration must be stopped to protect the political economy from Beijing’s baleful manipulations. The likely new Labor Government must be kept on the straight and narrow. Taiwan is bleeding sore and there is the entire recalibrating Indo-Pacific alignment oto manage.

But MB won the first battle which was to shift public opinion by poking, prodding, exposing and humiliating those on the take. With the obvious aid of the CCP itself, which could not hide its true nature once its plague arrived.

Now we can sit back and watch as the subaltern Australian press does our work for us.

Houses and Holes
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  1. While I don’t agree with a decent slab of what Keating had to say (eg not supporting Taiwan), that man has forgotten more about international politics than their combined knowledge. Dr Who? Never heard of her until yesterday, while Paterson is a light weight who still has his bumfluff; a young “man” who hasn’t done anything but suck on the public teat in one form or another.

    Unfortunately the only debate is of the George W Bush style; you’re either with us or against us.

      • lolol had to look that up! Craven, like it.

        Never worked a real job in his life, an Angus Taylor clone.

        Qualifications and occupation before entering Federal Parliament
        BCom (University of Melbourne).
        BA (University of Melbourne).
        Employed in the office of Senator M Fifield from 2006 to 2010.
        Employed in the Employer’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Vic.) from 2010 to 2011.
        Employed at the Institute of Public Affairs from 2011 to 2016.

  2. Had anyone even heard of “Lavina Lee” before this?
    Seems that she has mostly specialized on India foreign relations and has only morphed into a Sinophile during the Covid lockdown. Interesting.
    Makes me wonder why any respectable news outlet would print a single word she had to say about China.
    I’m also left to ponder exactly who is pulling the strings when “experts” like her are trotted out.
    Wouldn’t you love to see Dr Lee debate PK in person on this issue….hahaha I’ll bring the suture kit she’s guaranteed to need it by the time PK is finished ripping her a new one.

  3. How China sees Taiwan looks similar to the US saw Cuba back in the day. In fact, China has more nearby potentially unfriendly countries (S korea, Jap, Vietnam) compared to the US situation with Sth Am even though China has attempted to influence the latter (following good ol Game theory tatics).

    • A much better analogy is how North Korea sees South Korea, or East Germany sees West Germany. They were once the same people in one country.

    • Even StevenMEMBER

      +1 agree. I was really worried for a while with MB the only media outlet obviously (to me) calling out the dangers. I sleep much more comfortably. We have seen the danger that China presents.

      If no Xi Jinping could have been a completely different story. *sigh* cult of personality.

  4. Xi lost Taiwan when he went hardline on HK and broke the promise of ‘One Country, Two System’. Only a matter of time before the US will move their Japan military base to Taiwan, and Taiwan will declare independence.

    • Even StevenMEMBER

      Yeah that’s crap, ronin. Don’t let what you would LIKE to have happen interfere with your objective view of the world. Taiwan is 160km from China’s coast. I can throw a pebble that far.

  5. Now if you can just win the battle over the mass immigration ponzi scheme DLS and UE. Great to see you appearing in the MSM lately DLS. Stop the mass immigration BS. Affordable housing, social cohesion and pay rises! Keep up the great work. Apols my account has lapsed. Will sign up again soon.

    • Camden HavenMEMBER

      Its coming as is a lot of changes to the stat quo. Not really 1975 but something for the people for a change.

      • You really think so? Can’t help but feel the status quo is it for a long while, regardless of how anyone may view Keating’s comment he certainly hit it on the head re incrementalism.

        Elbow or Labor don’t have it in them in general to rock the boat and I think voters are too easily scared about any change with hip pocket scares.

        • Camden HavenMEMBER

          I expect a lot of unemployment, hungry kids change attitude really fast. But you are right it won’t be reform in the normal sense. But change nonetheless

  6. MB’s always right… because MB’s smart. I really dont know why people dont listen to MB more.

    • One of the things I thought was really funny about that episode ( link: https://www.abc.net.au/qanda/2021-11-11/13621630 ) was when they panned to the audience at the start of the show. What audience? There was nobody there ha ha.

      Yeah, Sydneys been utterly wrecked.

      Thats the thing about telling lies… sooner or later… you always get caught.

  7. Bruce Brucington

    The 3rd Sinocism podcast on Chinese economy/Evergrande/Common prosperity is good. I think there’s a tendency for those who have become focused on China over the last few years to overestimate its weakness in many areas so it’s a good perspective. https://sinocism.com/p/announcing-the-new-sinocism-podcast

    On Taiwan, the US can’t defend Taiwan but knows what it means when it finally falls – after China slurps up the last of it, it will look up from its empty noodle bowl and say ‘What’s next?’.

    China also has to know that such an action is going to split the world into blocs and their easy days of export are over. I don’t think it’s ready for that move yet. One more 5 year term for preparations and then it’s time to put the final crown jewell in the Xi’s legacy.

    Glad I’ll be retired, off grid and hiding under the bed.

  8. Keating was half right – he has stated that in regards the QUAD – India wont go to war with China over Taiwan, they will sit behind the himalayas , Japan would do a deal, leaving the USA and Australia. He should declare whether he still sits on the board of the Chinese development bank. It is interesting to note that the CHI- X is now owned by the US, so there must be some strategic thinking going on.

    • We need India for the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Not as a boots on the ground army. Japan will do a deal? China will control all shipping too and from Japan if Taiwan goes. What kind of deal will they cut? It’s called “surrender”. China has already indirectly threatened Japan with “continual and constant nuclear bombardment until complete surrender” if Japan assists Taiwan in their defense during the war.

      And how would anyone be allowed to trade with China after theyve attacked and destroyed one of Asias most advanced democracies? You know it will take at least a week of bombardment before the land assault can begin? Chinas pariah status will be historic. There is no good outcome.

      I just don’t think most people know much about this situation.

    • I can’t see Japan doing a deal, given the history between the two & that Japanese are still very stubborn on some things not to mention any deal would leave Japan’s fate to the whim of CCP.

  9. Thought I’d Iview it. I’ve had to stick post it notes over the lower part of the screen so I can’t see the tweets. Wow. Blood pressure problems.

  10. Mr Keating looked a bit aged in his Press Club appearance and sometimes a bit fuzzy on a few minor things. But overall his speech was excellent and pointed to some real and present dangers to Australian wellbeing.
    On the Q&A programme Jiang Yun said rather pointedly, among other things, that ” Taiwan was not always a democracy”. Shame that there was no elaboration as Taiwan is quite a story.

    • Even StevenMEMBER

      Wasn’t always a democracy? And neither was pretty much every democratic nation on the face of this earth. Are we holding countries to their HISTORY now? Well, I guess I’m never trusting a German…

  11. On another note I always thought out of the Labor people Husic has probably what it takes to be PM, moreso than Albo, Wong, Pilbersek, etc. He’s from the suburbs, yet straight away can comment about Taiwan Semiconductor manufacturing and its strategic importance. Away from the inner city Sydney politics and their vested interests.

  12. You seem stuck in 2016 when you first covered the grey zone war. Yes well done for writing about it early and consistently. But it is a big mistake by you (and the current Australian strategic majority) to take China’s grey zone warfare on Australia (bribes of officials, United Front propaganda etc) over the last 5yrs and project this into the necessity to fight a hot war over Taiwan which your total confrontation approach and criticism of Keating implies. All assets deployed into this will be left lying on the sea floor broken by Chinese area denial missiles. Along with any Australian vicarious delusions of grandeur.
    Other more stable minds, able to focus on reality, such as Keating and Hugh White would calculate that the grey zone war didn’t kill anyone, that China has 50X our manufacturing capacity, that even with an economic slowdown China can become more nationalist and given its size extremely dangerous, that Trump only a year ago showed no meaningful willingness to contest China, that we have recognised for 70yrs that Taiwan was part of China, that there is a way to deal with China that doesn’t involve total loss of trade (Japan is hosting a Xi visit next year) and conclude the sooner we accept that China (& the rest of Asia) operates differently but reasonably, the better ie: Your ‘freedom’ cry is about western notions of individualism – as defined through separation or freedom from others. But in China the autonomy and independence of the individual as a fully attained and integrated being exists within a larger web of relationships and authorities.
    Instead of any more world domination charades, lets just continue the grey zone campaign, increase the defence budget to 4% GDP and focus it on Hugh White’s worst case insurance strategy of assymetrically defending against any sea borne invasion of Australia.

    • And of course reopen talks and commerce with them. This will take some kowtowing. Some. Again, massively better than your alternative.

      • Even StevenMEMBER

        Basically agree with many of your comments. But I think you’ve misrepresented MB’s views… They were not suggesting we launch a military defence of Taiwan.

        I believe MB advocates making China a political pariah for invading Taiwan which seems like the right approach.

        Why the need to kowtow to reopen dialogue? The other four fifths of the world not big enough for Australia to trade with?

        • How much shipped Iron Ore do the other four fifths of the world put together consume?
          How much coal will they consume? ( especially if we’re meant to believe their 2030 / 2050 Glasgow commitments)?
          The Australian export economy looks like one very sick puppy sans China.

    • IMHO our decision to drop the French Subs in favour of the Nuclear US or UK option only makes sense if we accept that our military /.strategic planners have already conceded Taiwan.
      Once you accept that Taiwan is lost to China you also have to accept that in the event of a battle there’s little (or no) chance that the Chinese Navy can be contained to littoral waters. This is especially true if you’re talking about their submarines.
      Chinese short range ballistic missiles (along with newer Hypersonic Cruise missiles )deployed on Taiwan’s eastern coast give China effective control of the eastern Pacific at least half way to Guam. This completely changes the strategic calculus of war in the Pacific. It changes the type of assets you’ll deploy, it changes the makeup of any force responding to aggression in the eastern Pacific, it changes the support logistics…it’s a totally different war with likely a totally different outcome unless we respond correctly to these changes.
      I suspect that the reason that these featherweight experts have been rolled out to respond to PK’s comments is so that they can save the big guns for the real battle
      Taiwan might be a strategic lost cause but Taiwan can’t be just conceded because we (the west) needs to buy ourselves time. I guess it has always been the case that plausible deniability is the real political reason for using these disposable featherweight experts.

  13. Regrettably Stan Grant is obsessed with Yun Jiang whom he, clearly not knowing any better or because she fits into his own agenda, considers an expert. She plays the racial card at all times like the broken record she is, exploits her Chinese heritage as the basis of her being relevant to any debate about China, and constantly distinguishes herself for the (unsurprising) shallowness of her arguments – also noteworthy how she often misrepresents her titles and qualifications.
    On the other side of the ideological spectrum, you’d have Vicky Xu who is instead more focused on developing her own personage but at least produces more rigorous research than the drivel in the China Story or China Neican.
    The debate would achieve better depths if more experienced and qualified people were to be invited.