This year will go down as the century’s worst if measured by the disruption, misery and strife that has marked the Year of the Rat. There seems no end in sight to the cascading series of crises afflicting millions of people around the world. Even those with no religious bent must wonder whether the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse have been let loose as drought, wildfires, hurricanes, floods and pestilence continue to wreak havoc. Read more
This week Defence Minister Linda Reynolds and Foreign Minister Marise Payne flew to Washington to attend the annual Ausmin talks. The backdrop to this year’s talks is a series of escalating events and rhetoric on Hong Kong’s new national security laws, ownership of the South China Sea, cyber-attacks and theft, and the closure of consulates in the US and China. But the deeper issue on the agenda was a choice. The US was hoping Australia would throw everything in with the US – and officially cast China as a strategic rival.
“The difference between this cold war and the last one is the alignment and bifurcation are a lot more fluid,” said Alan Dupont, a leading Australian security strategist. “It’s a far more interdependent world now, and a lot of countries will not be in a single bloc. They’ll want to straddle both.”
Australia may be chewing gum on China’s shoe, but Xi Jinping should consider the other 800-pound gorilla in the room.
Authoritarian countries have always been difficult for Western democracies to comprehend. Winston Churchill famously characterised Russia as “a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma”. But unravelling the mystery of China has proved even more difficult for the West despite centuries of trade and interaction.
The U.S.-China trade war is expanding into an undeclared Cold War over trade, technology, and geopolitical influence. From rising tensions over Huawei, Hong Kong, and the treatment of the Uighurs to Chinese fighter jets buzzing Taiwan, the risks of escalation are rising. How can this increasingly bitter conflict be managed? And how can journalists cover the deteriorating U.S.-China relationship objectively during an intensely partisan election campaign season? The program is sponsored by the Hinrich Foundation, an Asia-based philanthropic organization that works to advance mutually beneficial and sustainable global trade. NPF retains sole responsibility for programming and content of the briefings.
Full article at ZeroHedge (link)
…Dupont called on Australia to examine vulnerabilities in its supply chains, saying: “In my view, our dependence on China for a range of critical technologies and goods has become a major security liability and must be reversed.”
Since April, Australia has been locked into a Beijing-instigated trade dispute, which has seen the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) impose 80 percent tariffs on Australian barley imports, ban beef imports from four abattoirs, and advise local Chinese power plants not to buy Australian coal.
Australian politicians have also called for greater decoupling and less reliance on the China market.
The clashing geopolitical ambitions of the two states are fueling a rivalry that could be even more dangerous and consequential than the original Cold War.
The rift between the United States and China threatens to become a chasm. Barely a day passes without some tit-for-tat exchange of barbs, accusations, or actions designed to make life difficult for the other country or to trumpet the superiority of their respective political systems.
Full article in South China Moring Post (link)
“For Australia, a key takeaway is that although we may hope for reconciliation [with China], the odds favour a partial separation,” according to a submission by Alan Dupont, chief executive of geopolitical risk consultancy, The Cognoscenti Group.
Dupont said Australia’s decoupling from China “is not an attempt to isolate China … but rather to establish a sustainable relationship” between China and the United States as the world is dividing into two competing trading and geopolitical blocs.
Contrarian views are needed to assess the China risk. And we shouldn’t assume this century will be indisputably China’s. ~ Alan Dupont
Sam Roggeveen is absolutely right. Australia’s China debate has been dramatically transformed over the past few years. Like him, I welcome a robust discussion about our relationship with Asia’s emerging power and our major trading partner. It’s a pity China’s citizens can’t have one about us, too. Read more
Beijing’s vindictive punishment of our universities, tourist sector, farmers, coal exporters and Karm Gilespie has shattered two widely held assumptions about China’s rise: that it will continue inexorably and is overwhelmingly to our benefit.
Legions of operators in the Chinese Communist Party’s Central Propaganda Department have skilfully spun the narrative that the country’s return to greatness is preordained. Best to get on the train before it leaves the station. We did in our thousands, crowding on to gleaming new locomotives to discover the mysteries and beauty of China, while trade boomed and the education and tourist sectors profited from an influx of Chinese students and free-spending tourists. Read more