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56

Rundle: the coming East-West conflict a truth we dare not mention

Think Clive Palmer’s anti-Chinese government tirade was a bit off colour? Well, global war and imperialism are worse, and Australians would be wise to remember such turmoil could rise again.

Culture works like a camera obscura. The image is predicted upside down, and there’s a blank and blind spot right at the centre, by the very nature of the mechanism. Take our commemoration of World War I, for example. For the next four years we are condemned to a moment-by-moment recreation of this appalling conflict, which plunged Europe and its resistant colonies into three decades of blood and turmoil.

Yet the one thing we will not see discussed is the central point of the war — that it hid in plain sight, that the European powers were edging towards it for years and hiding from themselves the ample evidence (from the US Civil War, for example) that the conflict would be total and consuming. Such apocalyptic imaginings were contained in a slew of novels and cheap serials, while the official discourse was one of enlightened self-interest between powers.

So, to 2014, and Australia and China. It is obvious to anyone that not this decade, not the next, but in this century, there will be a reckoning between East and West, between the former imperial powers and the former colonies — including once-subject nations such as China. Such a conflict has nothing to do with race or cultural difference — though that may become attached on both sides, as motivating propaganda — but simply to do with the still uncorrected imbalance created when the European powers began colonising Asia in the early 19th century.

At its “best”, this encounter will be resolved with the crucial withdrawal of the United States from the Asian sphere of influence — the final acknowledgement of the end of its sole superpower status. The world will then be a multipolar place once again. As China and India become dominant global powers, other powers rise to second-tier status. The “worst” outcome would be a war, or series of wars, as the US and its NATO partners refuse to give up a dominance inherited from colonial-era imperialism.

Everyone knows this, every nation plans for it, and it governs a series of alliances and decisions. Yet it cannot be spoken of. In Australia this split mindset is total. The political-media elite who have been disturbed by the arrival of the unruly crossbenchers, enforce an absurd double act, in which we talk of China as our great trading friend, etc, etc, while at the same time strengthening a US alliance –- with the placement of 2000 combat troops in Darwin –- whose principal object of attention is the expansion of Chinese influence in south-east Asia.

Now Palmer and Jacqui Lambie have said what many people say between themselves outside the hushed halls of Parliament and News Corp — that it is obvious that this is the major question we will have to deal with over the next half-century and beyond (if Australia continues as an entity beyond). Palmer’s Chinese menu of contradictory assertions is simply designed to misdirect away from embarrassment around his alleged fast and loose use of funds from a holding company for his election campaign. The treatment of Lambie’s comments, though, is a grimly hilarious thing to watch — the worst thing to say, apparently, is that large states have interests, that geopolitical war is not a thing of the past, and that the West might not always be the most powerful agent in the exercise of such.

So the argument is that what will really sour Australia-Chinese relations is the remarks of one Senator once — and not the escalation of the Australia-US alliance to a whole new stage by the hosting of a troop base in our north. Apparently, this is something the Chinese won’t notice — just as presumably they won’t notice the West’s attempt to curtail their economic and diplomatic extension into Africa and Latin America, the attempts to enforce global currency settings of advantage to the West, copyright and IP regimes that raise Chinese business costs, a renewal of imperial encirclement by strengthening our alliance with Japan, and pushing for an end to the constitutionally guaranteed neutrality of the Japanese military — no, shhhhh, they never noticed any of that.

You don’t have to agree with Lambie’s solution to this — rearmament and our own missile systems, presumably nuclear — to see that once again, because of the new Senate arrangements, a conversation is being had that the political-media elite don’t want the country to have. This is an example of the strange somersault that has occurred in Australian life since the 2013 election. For years, the right-wing media elite — the wired-in “power intellectuals” who saw their role as doing the bidding of the Coalition, the US-Australia alliance, NATO and the West — bemoaned the rule of the elites, by which they meant, ordinary professional middle-class people of a left-liberalish tinge.

The “power intellectuals” — the Paul Kellys, Greg Sheridans, Nick Caters, etc — purported to speak for ordinary Australians against that. Well, the ordinary Australians are here now, in the Senate, albeit by a complex and contradictory process, and what do you know, they’re going off the script. In response, the right-wing media elite has slowly dispensed with its pseudo-populism. Suddenly, government is not something everyone can do, since what is required for government is the rigorous not-having of conversations about the most obvious global processes and array of powers.

Yes, there is little chance of a major geopolitical earthquake in the coming years. But you would have to be wilfully ignorant to not believe that the course of the century is not merely a strategic question for Australia, but an existential one.

This has nothing to do with “yellow peril”, or some sort of deep cultural drive for dominance, but simply with the same imperative that drove the First World War — if you jump first, you get an advantage. Competition for resources, economic crises, a rightward shift in the US, an upsurge of chauvinist nationalism in China, and elsewhere — all of these could create a situation in which China, or a wider alliance of powers, decide that it is no longer wise to tolerate a white-originated settler-capitalist nation-continent as a US outpost in their neighbourhood.

For years, we have been fed a degree of bullshit about how oriented to Asia we are, how integrated we are, how much they accept us. This fiction can only be sustained by our moronic refusal to understand the impact of European imperialism on Asia — the century of racist subjugation, free-market holocausts (which gave Chairman Mao’s worst mistakes a run for their money) and needless late imperial military slaughter we foisted on them. Yes, no one’s going to let that get in the way of business — the Chinese are as adept as Clive Palmer at switching from global capitalist smoothness to neo-Maoist rhetoric in a heartbeat — but no one’s under any illusions about what sort of power we represent.

We remain the last European colony in Asia — we simply colonised a people who didn’t have a unified state and society capable of throwing us off, and restoring their own autonomy. The only way we will ever have a real relationship with Asia is to repudiate the US alliance, remove both the new military bases, and the listening posts at Pine Gap and elsewhere, hand in the deputy’s badge. Compared to that, stray remarks by senators are of no import. But most likely we’ll stay in the shadows of the camera obscura, convinced that the US would come to our aid should there be a major re-alignment.

They wouldn’t of course, and really, if China and other Asian powers want us, they will take us — at some point 25 million people sitting on the world’s greatest mineral trove through sheer low density of population, need to get a bit real. There’s a point at which it is cheaper to just come and take it, rather than buy it — the minerals, the mines, and the temperate eastern lands which could host a lot more than five million rural Australians. Indeed, at some point, we may simply have to give up the continent to entirely new political arrangements.

That was how we were created in 1788 — there’s no reason to suppose it won’t happen to us in 2088, or 2056, or 2035. And there sure as hell is no reason not to talk about it, in full view, without the tricks of the light of a power elite, who would, unquestionably, welcome our new overlords, whoever they might be.

56

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  • 1
    Tamas Calderwood
    Posted Wednesday, 20 August 2014 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

    Once again, Guy treats everyone with a different opinion as an idiot:

    you would have to be wilfully ignorant…”
    “our moronic refusal to understand the impact of European imperialism on Asia…”

    uh huh. Thanks.

    And perhaps you could explain the century of “free-market holocausts”? What were they? Where are the bodies?

    Finally: “There’s a point at which it is cheaper to just come and take it, rather than buy it”.

    Is there Guy? What is that point? Can you provide some more colour?

    Thomas Babington Macaulay said ““On what principle is it that, when we see nothing but improvement behind us, we are to expect nothing but deterioration before us?”.

    I think we can apply that quote to this rather funny article, Guy.

  • 2
    Peter_PPVH
    Posted Wednesday, 20 August 2014 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

    An important and thought provoking article. One question though, why did I have to flick past five stories about News Ltd to get here?

  • 3
    tonysee
    Posted Wednesday, 20 August 2014 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

    Not one of your better efforts, IMO. It seems to me that mad Clive’s self interest is a poor starting point for any decent analysis of geo-political trends.

    Surely our focus would be better spent on the Middle East as a potential flash point of international conflict?

  • 4
    Draco Houston
    Posted Wednesday, 20 August 2014 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

    Lambie is right. In a real fight we’re screwed. Soon we won’t even make our own ships and subs. She’s bad with details but when Lambie makes a sweeping statement she damn well means it and they shouldn’t be just dismissed out of hand. I’m sure someone who got above corporal could come up with a better plan for how to make the ADF capable of defending Australia.

    Frankly, I’d rather the next world war we don’t come up with plans like The Brisbane Line so I have to become a guerrilla like Tomorrow When The War Began. The plan right now seems to be get the UK and USA to defend us but relying on them is risky.

    And perhaps you could explain the century of “free-market holocausts”? What were they? Where are the bodies?”

    If you want an easy example, watch Act of Killing. National Stab A Communist Day

    Is there Guy? What is that point? Can you provide some more colour?”

    It is literally how we got this continent, idiot.

    An important and thought provoking article. One question though, why did I have to flick past five stories about News Ltd to get here?”

    hahaha, at least I wasn’t the only one.

  • 5
    klewso
    Posted Wednesday, 20 August 2014 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

    Abbott’s fingers on The Button” …….?

  • 6
    matthew.davies
    Posted Wednesday, 20 August 2014 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

    Very interesting article - have you seen “The Rover” set in a near future Australia after “the collapse” where China has taken over the mines.

    Reminds me as a kid growing up in 1970’s England and staring at the map of Australia and saying to my dad “surely Soviets would only need to blow up 5 cities in Australia to take it” and my dad saying “yeh but the stubborn bastards would all retreat to Alice Springs and fight till the last man”

  • 7
    klewso
    Posted Wednesday, 20 August 2014 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

    Remember how much fun it was slagging-off Putin in the same hate media?

  • 8
    zut alors
    Posted Wednesday, 20 August 2014 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

    Yes, it’s laughable that our government permits thousands of US troops to be based near Darwin while ignoring the wider-reaching consequences. And now they’re in situ it won’t be possible to prise them out without damaging the Aus-US alliance. Gillard can claim full responsibility for that rash decision.

    The photo of the PM & his very best new Japanese friend is priceless. Abbott looks like a snake at feeding time.

  • 9
    Scott
    Posted Wednesday, 20 August 2014 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

    They wouldn’t of course, and really, if China and other Asian powers want us, they will take us — at some point 25 million people sitting on the world’s greatest mineral trove through sheer low density of population, need to get a bit real.”

    The lack of understanding of military matters in the left wing sphere is beyong belief.
    It’s almost impossible for an attacker to take a well supplied, island nation, that is defended by a professional, experienced defence force; especially one with submarines and long range aircraft. Germany couldn’t cross the English Channel in WW2, Japan got stuck in New Guinea. What makes you think China could do it?

    And the US would not sit by…you forget that the US is our biggest investment partner. Middle East/African conflicts are one thing. Attacks on the land of historical allies with loads of US investment dollars/intelligence assets at stake is a totally different story. The investors would demand the US get involve.

  • 10
    paddy
    Posted Wednesday, 20 August 2014 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

    Always a good read. Today’s no exception. Thanks Guy.

  • 11
    mikeb
    Posted Wednesday, 20 August 2014 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

    Normally I value GR articles but this effort is just a rambling nonsense. Not saying that some of the projected outcomes won’t happen, but tying it with European colonialism is too much of a stretch. Australian aborigines predate Asian populations & culture, so to say that Australia is an Asian continent is just wrong. Geographically we are closer to SE Asia than Europe or the Americas - but so what? China or anyone else has no stronger claim to this land than the current inhabitants, so anyone apart from the indigenous population here is an invader - whether European or Asian in origin.

  • 12
    Guy Rundle
    Posted Wednesday, 20 August 2014 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

    Tamas

    I’d suggest this for your illumination

    http://www.theguardian.com/books/2001/jan/20/historybooks.famine

    In Late Victorian Holocausts, Mike Davis charts the unprecedented human suffering caused by a series of extreme climactic conditions in the final quarter of the 19th century. Drought and monsoons afflicted much of China, southern Africa, Brazil, Egypt and India. The death tolls were staggering: around 12m Chinese and over 6m Indians in 1876-1878 alone. The chief culprit, according to Davis, was not the weather, but European empires, with Japan and the US. Their imposition of free-market economics on the colonial world was tantamount to a “cultural genocide”. “

    Yes, improvement everywhere.

  • 13
    Guy Rundle
    Posted Wednesday, 20 August 2014 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

    mikeb

    australia is in asia purely as a geographical element. I’m arguing that there may come a crisis point at which the Chinese decide they can no longer afford to tolerate a US base at the bottom of SE Asia.
    Just as, in WW2, both germany and the allies tried to outflank each other in n africa. not an outlandish suggestion surely?

  • 14
    Stephanie
    Posted Wednesday, 20 August 2014 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

    Some interesting thoughts there.
    I find it striking how much more coverage the PUPs have received compared to Abbott’s comments about Scotland, and how much more critical that coverage has been. There is at the very least a grain of truth in what Palmer and Lambie have said, as opposed to Abbott’s bewildering rant.
    “I think that the people who would like to see the break-up of the United Kingdom are not the friends of justice, not the friends of freedom.”
    Really? On what planet does that make any sense whatsoever? This is a Scotland that we are talking about, not Al-Quaeda. And this man is our PM. Surely that deserves a bit stronger criticism than a few murmurs that he should keep his opinions to himself.

  • 15
    j.oneill
    Posted Wednesday, 20 August 2014 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

    I think that this is an important topic and one too often muddied by the inability of most Australians to think in other than an Anglo-sphere mindset.

    Before speculating about what China may or may not do it is useful to look at their history. If they had wanted to expand in the imperialist manner of the French, Dutch, Portugese, British etc they could have done so in the past. At the time of the great fleets when they visited Australia, with nary a European in sight, they chose not to colonise, but returned home.

    Neither have they invaded and colonised any of their neighbours. They are now attacked in the media and elsewhere for exercising some of the prerogatives of a great power in protecting their own backyard. I don’t recall any similar attacks upon the US for its Monroe Doctrine which caused immeasurably more harm (and still does) in the Western Hemisphere than China has ever done in its region. And that is true of western colonialism generally.

    A major realignment of world forces is taking place, and the Australian media typically fails to report accurately upon it if at all, much less understand the forces at work. As Malcolm Fraser has pointed out, that has long been the pattern here. Instead of careful analysis we have a barrage of misinformation (or suppression of truth as with MH17). That is not a substitute for the debate we need to have.

  • 16
    GF50
    Posted Wednesday, 20 August 2014 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

    Thanks Guy!
    I’m with you Stephanie, more attention to the PUP,s commedy routine than the LNP’s Clustef**k idiocy on the international stage and at home. LNP, Look over there!!

  • 17
    Andybob
    Posted Wednesday, 20 August 2014 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

    In the same way that the greatest enemy of communism was socialism, the regional war that Guy paints as historically inevitable will be defused by more gradual adjustment. Immigration and acquisition of assets in Australia by Chinese and Indian citizens. Intermarriage between people of different backgrounds and mutual tolerance and respect. This is, in part, why the current refusal to deal decently with asylum seekers is so damaging. It interrupts the gradual processes that defuse regional tension and enables us to be painted as “the other”.

  • 18
    Andybob
    Posted Wednesday, 20 August 2014 at 5:48 pm | Permalink

    @ j.oneill
    You might find it hard to persuade the Vitnamese, Koreans and Tibetans that China hasn’t invaded it’s neighbors.

  • 19
    Gerryod
    Posted Wednesday, 20 August 2014 at 5:49 pm | Permalink

    Great article, if totally depressing! But really, why would China bother with a messy invasion when they can just buy up Australia in bits and pieces and at some point all the pieces will join up.

    I love your comparison with the European invasion of 1788 - what a twist of fate a Chinese invasion would be!

  • 20
    fractious
    Posted Wednesday, 20 August 2014 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

    We remain the last European colony in Asia”

    (cough) UnZud (cough)

  • 21
    Duncan Gilbey
    Posted Wednesday, 20 August 2014 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

    On Q&A Clive also came up with half a dozen suggestions for returning the budget to surplus which were at least worthy of discussion.

    It’s a very poor reflection on the media’s news ‘values’ that the China story has taken precedence. My bet is that these comments will be forgotten by this time next week. The Budget Crisis(TM) on the other hand will still be with us.

    Just the MSM ‘setting the agenda’ as usual. We are indeed poorly served…

    On a lighter note I’m eagerly waiting for the Attorney General to voice his support of Clive’s inalienable Right to Bigotry(TM).

  • 22
    fractious
    Posted Wednesday, 20 August 2014 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

    Andybob:
    “the regional war that Guy paints as historically inevitable will be defused by more gradual adjustment. Immigration and acquisition of assets in Australia by Chinese and Indian citizens”

    I’m inclined to agree. I may be hopelessly naive in this, but it strikes me the Chinese aren’t anywhere near the sort of imperialist nation that the US is (and in previous times the British, French, Dutch, Spanish &c). Yes, I know, Tibet, Mongolia, but that’s more like annexing than the outright “bomb the barsterds into oblivion” or the common US approach of supplanting an existing leader with their preferred regime. And it’s not as if they haven’t had enough time either. I’m not saying the Chinese can’t wage war - far from it - more that they’re much smarter than that. Why waste all that money on bombs and planes and tanks and armies when you can just buy controlling shares in whichever two-bob country it is that’s causing the irritation and then legally loot the place into the bargain?

  • 23
    Malcolm Street
    Posted Wednesday, 20 August 2014 at 6:56 pm | Permalink

    Relying on a fading superpower to come to our aid against a rising Asian power makes as much sense as it did with Britain in 1942…

  • 24
    Damien McBain
    Posted Wednesday, 20 August 2014 at 6:57 pm | Permalink

    Wow, where did that come from? What a breath of electrically charged fresh air in a barrel of stale farts.

    And irrespective of the subject matter I really enjoy it when the author contributes to the subsequent discussion. Thanks.

  • 25
    JohnB
    Posted Wednesday, 20 August 2014 at 7:15 pm | Permalink

    What Damien McBain said.

    I was going to comment, but his is first class.

    Thanks, Guy, for starting a discussion that we have to have, even if it did bring a certain commenter out first; the fellow who, with absolute certainty, asserts that if he doesn’t agree with you, then your facts are wrong. Tamas, that’s you, you somnolent dill.

  • 26
    seriously?
    Posted Wednesday, 20 August 2014 at 8:01 pm | Permalink

    Thanks Guy. Well written and argued.

    Short term focused interests amongst politicians and business don’t want to admit publicly the realities, and are well versed in double-think.

    There is much public naively around about what China will or won’t do. The one-party state there seems alive and well, and 50 - 70 years from now (if their system remains intact) - maybe earlier - will posses far more power than the US ever did at its peak, with daylight between it and the US. It will dominate the region, if not beyond. The US will be there for Australia like the UK was in WW2.

    Scott - all fine in theory but you aren’t describing Australia today nor the Australia of the future. Sounds like your strategy is keep your fingers crossed the yanks save us. Maybe they will, maybe they won’t. Maybe they will be unable to.

  • 27
    Kevin Herbert
    Posted Wednesday, 20 August 2014 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

    NOTE TO ALL:

    In 2013, the US is the biggest direct investor in Oz with $620 billion, followed by the UK with $510, Japan with $120 billion…and China with $20 billion (figures courtesy of Ross Gittins).

    Those figuresd will change as the Asian century unfolds..but exactly how no-one can predict..especially with regard to Indonesia’s impact on the Oz economy.

    Guy’s hypothesis is entertaining reading..however, it’s fantasy when you consider that the national budget costs to the Chinese to militarily acquire our various minerals, is approx 3 times the cost of acquiring those minerals by normal commercial means.

    The Chinese, unlike the current USA’s elites (aspirational descendants of European 19th century peasants), are not inherently stupid..and I say that because I am a direct descendant of a Chinese great great grandfather….and I know they might be listening to posters on Crikey!!!!

    Too early to call Guy.

  • 28
    Nemo Omar
    Posted Wednesday, 20 August 2014 at 8:26 pm | Permalink

    Last time we had a global depression we had a world war. People start to repudiate foreigners in a depression - as is occurring now in Australia.

    So if GFC stage 2 arrives then it is likely that the intensity of hostilities will increase.

    What is plan B if the interests of the US result in the equivalent of a Brisbane Line?

  • 29
    pinkocommierat
    Posted Wednesday, 20 August 2014 at 8:48 pm | Permalink

    This scenario is so bleak it makes me want to eat lard on toast five times a day and go through a carton of Benson and Hedges a week. Might stop wearing my seatbelt while I’m at it.

  • 30
    Lubo Gregor
    Posted Wednesday, 20 August 2014 at 9:11 pm | Permalink

    I hate to say it, but this is what I’ve been thinking for a while now, privately. So, your best yet Guy, yet for some reason I wish it wasn’t so.

  • 31
    William Godman
    Posted Wednesday, 20 August 2014 at 9:30 pm | Permalink

    Is it possible the west is sidelined in the next world war by a Muslim/Chinese war?

  • 32
    michael r james
    Posted Wednesday, 20 August 2014 at 10:10 pm | Permalink

    The only way we will ever have a real relationship with Asia is to repudiate the US alliance, remove both the new military bases, and the listening posts at Pine Gap and elsewhere, hand in the deputy’s badge.

    You’ve got to think this is not impossible. The fact is increasingly clear that in Abbott et al. we have close to the last gasp of mindless sycophancy regarding such matters. (It makes one almost grateful because his idiot longing for an English class system with his dames and knights has pushed more people away from such things and towards a different vision.)

    Can’t be totally pessimist when the likes of Malcolm Fraser advocates as much. Not to mention that we are rapidly becoming Asian, ie. Eurasian. The paranoid may think that will just be growing our own fifth columnists but the opposite is the reality. Look at Hong Kong or any of the other Asian nations (eg. Vietnam which has the highest numbers of ethnic Chinese in both absolute and percentage terms). Being Eurasian will be our best defense/innoculation so let’s bring it on a.s.a.p. (surely a similar thought occurred to anyone with a brain watching a grossly overweight ranting Palmersaurus next to Penny Wong on Q&A on Monday night?)

    Anyway the real risk of global conflict hasn’t been mentioned: internal disorder. In either China or the USA, or quite possibly both simultaneously as they will tend to feed off each others paranoia, fomenting patriotic conflicts as national diversion. Though it might be foolish to underestimate its ability to adapt, one would have to say it isn’t looking good for the US. It is possible the Chinese may prove the more adaptable, especially since non-democratic systems like in HK and Singapore seem to work quite well in Chinese societies. (OK, that’s a stretch as the CP is unlikely to go quietly …).

  • 33
    Ken Lambert
    Posted Thursday, 21 August 2014 at 12:05 am | Permalink

    Guy has outdone his usual half sensible stuff with an extraordinary rant exposing his leftist phobias prompted by a Lambie utterance.

    Lambie is one accidental bogan too many in the Senate - an ignorant scrubber who makes Pauline Hansen look statesmanlike.

    To weave an an apocalyptic China grab of Oz because of our imperialist past and white western civilization is typical of Guy’s Pilgerist view of the world.

    (which gave Chairman Mao’s worst mistakes a run for their money)” What?? Mao’s mistakes - murder, starvation and mayhem, the terrorizing of millions of one’s own people by one of history’s great homicidal sociopaths are simply mistakes!!

    Always thought Guy was a Maoist.

  • 34
    Posted Thursday, 21 August 2014 at 12:45 am | Permalink

    I don’t understand how ‘We remain the last European colony in Asia …’. Isn’t Aotearoa New Zealand a European colony, or isn’t it in Asia by a few hundred ks.

  • 35
    Sailor
    Posted Thursday, 21 August 2014 at 1:55 am | Permalink

    Guy, I don’t always agree with what you write but I most certainly always respect the thought you put into your stories. In this instance, I worry about just how right you might be.

    Not least because I worry just how much more stupid our present leaders might prove themselves.

    Our glorious leader coming close to declaring war on Scotland is one thing, but where might that sort of adventurism end? WMD???

  • 36
    CML
    Posted Thursday, 21 August 2014 at 2:41 am | Permalink

    Great realism, Guy!
    I’m a senior citizen, but that doesn’t stop me being concerned for my children and grandchildren. As you suggest, it may be a generation or two away, but when China (or India?) runs out of space, food and and other necessities for their own population, your scenario sounds probable.
    Mind you, if the climate scientists are even half right, there won’t be a planet to fight over!!

  • 37
    mikeb
    Posted Thursday, 21 August 2014 at 8:01 am | Permalink

    The Chinese are a pragmatic people. They conquer by commerce and not by guns. I love GR articles but this is one jump too far. If there is a future Asian “threat” to Oz it won’t come from China.

  • 38
    klewso
    Posted Thursday, 21 August 2014 at 8:55 am | Permalink

    CML - Nature to the rescue - with any luck she (with our help) will probably wipe us all out before it comes to this?

  • 39
    Glen
    Posted Thursday, 21 August 2014 at 9:06 am | Permalink

    Gavin et al: I’m not quite getting how NZ is a Euro colony; seems rather more democratic and locally controlled than us in many of ways. The last European colony in our region is the 500 km long island of New Caledonia, still part of metropolitan France for practical purposes. Odd that we routinely fail to notice.

    FWIW: A camera obscura has no blind spot at the centre. The ones in your head have a blind spot offset to the side, but that has naught to do with “the very nature of the mechanism”. It arises because the intelligent designer put the plumbing and wiring in front of the damn light sensors.

  • 40
    Chris Akkers
    Posted Thursday, 21 August 2014 at 11:18 am | Permalink

    The only way we will ever have a real relationship with Asia is to repudiate the US alliance, remove both the new military bases, and the listening posts at Pine Gap and elsewhere…”

    Pine Gap may well be the core issue. If, as various accounts have it, Pine Gap is much larger below ground than above, the relationship may be one from which it is not possible to resign - being part of a transnational arrangement no longer subject to individual governments.

    Gen Eisenhower is said to have been the last US President with full security clearance. Does the Australian PM have better clearance?

  • 41
    Posted Thursday, 21 August 2014 at 11:30 am | Permalink

    A very interesting read. So much so it has prompted me to wonder how much it would cost to uproot the population-we could all go and live in Tasmania. This way could turn the mainland into what it should be; a vast open-cut mine where mega mining companies could-after paying a royalty to the Tasweigans, (us) have free rein. When they have denuded Australia of every living thing, and left it, we can come back and rebuild the bloody place. This time without being a satrapy of the United States, nor a bit of residue of gay dangling ex-public servants with English Colonial pretensions.

    Of course we would actually have to work to reconstruct a nation from the bedrock upwards, but we would actually be doing it for ourselves. Now there’s a radical thought, ourselves.

  • 42
    Liamj
    Posted Thursday, 21 August 2014 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

    Why is it taboo to talk about regional conflict? Because the popular myth is peace by consumerist utopia (actually just repackaged white mans burden): ‘all those poor savages have to do is follow our rulers rules and they will get rich (like us?) & there will be no need for conflict’.

    This is the bargain that neoliberal hegemony & growth-is-goodism supposedly provide, if us mugs realised that poverty & conflict are coming (that little finite planet problem) support for this State religion would disappear and nobody with head in trough wants that.

    S’okay really, give it another five years and the US will be too poor to even pretend it could win a war (which is all it does these days) & our LibLab middle managers will adapt seamlessly to new overlords. Its not like we’ve ever put much effort into preserving the continent from devastating levels of immigration & resource exploitation.

  • 43
    Yclept
    Posted Thursday, 21 August 2014 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

    Lambie is one accidental bogan too many in the Senate - an ignorant scrubber who makes Pauline Hansen look statesmanlike.”
    And isn’t it a shame, Ken, that Abbott makes Lambie look statesmanlike.

  • 44
    mikeb
    Posted Thursday, 21 August 2014 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

    @Venice - Us “native” Tasmanians will decide who comes to this State and the circumstances in which they come ;) We have a nice processing station in Bass Straight in which to cool your heels whilst awaiting entry. Just don’t hold your breath.

  • 45
    rhwombat
    Posted Thursday, 21 August 2014 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

    mikeb: at least there’ll be cheese…

  • 46
    Itsarort
    Posted Thursday, 21 August 2014 at 10:38 pm | Permalink

    US alliance…? Well, there is no actual alliance, there never was one and their never will be one. Australia does not get to play at the big table; end of story. This is not actually new news Guy. However, doubling the size of our armed forces could keep the Chinese at bay for perhaps an extra,…, 24 minutes…

  • 47
    Posted Friday, 22 August 2014 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

    MIKEB: Hehehehe and it’s Venise. Cheers :)

  • 48
    Posted Friday, 22 August 2014 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

    CHRIS AKKERS: You have to be joking! Give Motor mouth Tony Abbott security clearance would be akin to giving carte blanche to a couple of Malarial mosquitos into an uncontaminated seven billion people.

  • 49
    AR
    Posted Saturday, 23 August 2014 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

    VA - given that the Merkin Isle is about the same size as Switzerland, Holland and Sri Lanka with pops. of 1m Green voters (more than twice its present inbred, semi human population)simply buy the place outright and leave the mainland to the bogans.

  • 50
    Graeme Gibson
    Posted Saturday, 23 August 2014 at 6:12 pm | Permalink

    Do we want an interesting prophecy? Google up WHAT WILL BECOME OF AUSTRALIA by Jack Burrell. Its from 1974. Its still considered by some in the Christian churches to be the most likely to happen revelation.

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