Analysis 1 July 2021 - Celebrating 50 Years, to the Day, of China-Watching from Close Quarters … with nary a goalless one in all that time.

Remove this Banner Ad

TeeKray

Moderator
Mar 1, 2014
15,482
83,887
Perth
AFL Club
Port Adelaide
HERE WE GO AGAIN?

This current AFR opinion piece (edited down per BF posting rules) contains shades of my four-part OP to this thread (which I have edited up and fleshed-out since it was first posted in July).

Morrison turns China ‘threat’ into an election wedge.

Borrowing from the Coalition playbook of Menzies and Holt during the Vietnam War, the Prime Minister is putting domestic politics ahead of long-term policy for dealing with Beijing.


James Curran Columnist, Australian Financial Review, Nov 21, 2021

https://www.afr.com/policy/foreign-...threat-into-an-election-wedge-20211120-p59alf

Scott Morrison has taken a provocative approach to China that first appeared under Malcolm Turnbull, sharpened its edge and has now grabbed the loudspeaker.
His government makes foreign policy a critical wedge against Labor as the election approaches: tactics drawn from the Coalition playbook of Robert Menzies and Harold Holt during the Vietnam War. Opinion polls appear to confirm support for this recycling of the China “threat”, despite the Prime Minister’s adverse polling on a two-party preferred basis.
Disapprove as one may of this approach, it is unarguably consequential, and Australia may pay the cost for some time.

… The consequences belie Morrison’s rhetoric. A long-term policy for dealing with China does not exist. This as President Biden avoids the stampede towards a “new Cold War”, looks to limited co-operation with Beijing and tries to avoid military conflict.
Reflect, then, on the unforeseen consequences that can occur when a ruthless politician opts for headlines exploiting hostility to an Asian power.

… Yet the Morrison government now has an investment in continuing bad relations between the US and China, and with it the risk of an inadvertent or deliberate outbreak of war. It willingly dials itself into Washington’s martial calculations against the Chinese state. Canberra tumbles once more into an overexposed, lonely prominence.
A day after US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan stressed that competition with China need not lead to conflict, Defence Minister Peter Dutton basically committed Australia if there is a war over Taiwan. Whatever restraint there was in the government’s language on China is abandoned. No consideration is given to the catastrophic effects of any conflict on the region.

… Everything is now seen through a “China threat” prism. Relations with the Pacific, south-east Asian countries and Japan cannot be viewed on their own terms. All are submerged beneath the politicking on “pushing back’ against Beijing, on the apparent gratification of Australia being the model for “standing up’ to China.

… Morrison fails to understand that what appears tough on the home front can look in regional capitals to be a lack of sophisticated diplomacy. Look no further than when, before heading for Cornwall, Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong reminded his Australian visitor that China is always “going to be there”, that countries will have to deal with Beijing.

… Indeed, the China debate here, for all its claims to novelty, echoes more and more the rhetoric of the late 19th century and the 1960s, especially its obsession with “invasion”, “threat”, “subversion” and “containment”. Much of this flows from the continued emphasis that Australia now straddles the front line of a “new Cold War”. Well may we rightly express unease at how China uses its power, but Australia must find the courage to look into the mirror too.
Our whole approach to China is cringeworthy and very thinly veiled racism and frankly white supremacy. We're nowhere near as advanced a country as we think we are.
 

Lockhart Road

Cultural Attache
Mar 26, 2013
5,070
23,890
Happy Valley Bar & Grill, Hong Kong
AFL Club
Port Adelaide
Other Teams
Port Adelaide Magpies
Our whole approach to China is cringeworthy and very thinly veiled racism and frankly white supremacy. We're nowhere near as advanced a country as we think we are.
We are certainly not ‘advanced’ with regard to political thinking. In fact, while everything changed for the better post Whitlam in China in 1971, it now has reverted in Canberra to pre-Whitlam China-bashing. There is nobody else to be bashed that is worth the votes an anti-China platform will produce.

Politicians in power prey on the ignorance of the average voter. They use whatever blunt instrument comes to hand. Today said blunt instrument is - again - China. ScoMo is trying to wield it, but not well. Dutton is trying to sharpen the blunt instrument, but not well … and exposing his historical ignorance in the process.

The dreaded 1930s

In part 3 of my OP I quoted Morrison’s speech to the Defence Academy in October 2020, in which he made pointed reference to the 1930s. Dutton’s speech today to the National Press Club in Canberra makes even more pointed reference to the 1930s. Dutton says he and ScoMo talk about the 1930s often. Lo, we may have discovered a main plank of their anti-Labor offensive leading up to the federal election early-ish next year.

To reinvent the 1930s and put that era out there as any plank in a Liberal & National / Country coalition policy is as rotten as it is warped, and I hope it serves to bring them down in punishment for their attempt to corrupt the intelligence, what there is of it, of the average voter. Trouble is, who to replace them? Australia, politically, is neck-deep in sheep dip.

Anyone reading the relevant sections of my OP will note that, in 1938, the founder of the Liberal coalition spent quite some time, while serving as Australia’s attorney-general, in Nazi Germany being corrupted by Goebbels’ dogma. Bob Menzies also got physically involved on his return in the raucously unpopular shipment of BHP pig iron (hence his moniker) to imperial Japan - who used it for exactly the same purposes that Defence Minister Dutton accuses Beijing of planning to put into action today.

An obscene stretch

Morrison and Dutton, when nebulously referring to 1930s ‘mistakes’, in fact mean ‘appeasement’ towards significant militarily ambitious enemies. Dutton, in some very ordinary oratory, purposely confuses Paul Keating with Neville Chamberlain. This means that he, and ScoMo, look upon themselves as the next Winston Churchill. Stretching it, obscenely, these two.

You will notice that both, when trying to use history as their blunt anti-China instrument, steer well clear of the Domino Theory / Vietnam saga.

Today’s story in ‘The Australian’ on Defence Minister Dutton’s speech appropriately (considering Dutton’s less than spectacular past as a policeman in Queensland) carried this byline:

ASHLEIGH GLEESON
CRIME REPORTER

If indeed …

If indeed our Club remains open-minded on China, with a view to resuming the annual match in Shanghai and all its commercial spin-off, we need to take particular note of, and closely watch, the shallow anti-China mentality at work in Canberra among people who know not what they are doing, who have never researched nor put their own hands on the subject they profess to know all about, and whose existence as political ‘leaders’ will be as short-lived as all of their predecessors … Menzies excepted.

Richo! Let’s get that Liberal coalition pledge in the bank and, with it, rebuild Alberton Oval Precinct quick smart. My guess is we have until 2025 to get it all done and dusted - coincidental with Chasing Greatness attaining its objectives.
 
Last edited:

Festerz

Club Legend
May 20, 2019
1,745
6,347
AFL Club
Port Adelaide
Other Teams
PAFC Maggies SANFL
Morrison and Dutton, when nebulously referring to 1930s ‘mistakes’, in fact mean ‘appeasement’ towards significant militarily ambitious enemies. Dutton, in some very ordinary oratory, purposely confuses Paul Keating with Neville Chamberlain. This means that he, and ScoMo, look upon themselves as the next Winston Churchill. Stretching it, obscenely, these two.
Yep. And his fairy tale understanding of Chamberlain's pre-war political negotiations and the alternative options that realistically existed is extraordinarily superficial. That he makes comparisons to 1930s Europe without even a modicum of acknowledgement of the combination of complex political and economic events immediately preceding that decade displays his shallow intellect for all to see.

He is playing the khaki election card just months from the next Federal election for the most selfish and short sighted political reasons.

Sadly the damage done by this buffoon and his leader to our nation's standing in the Asia Pacific region will take years to rebuild. Our club's China relationship is all but dead.

Of course the fact that China remains Australia's largest export market seems to have been all but forgotten in the political point scoring.
 

Log in to remove this ad.

Lockhart Road

Cultural Attache
Mar 26, 2013
5,070
23,890
Happy Valley Bar & Grill, Hong Kong
AFL Club
Port Adelaide
Other Teams
Port Adelaide Magpies
Yep. And his fairy tale understanding of Chamberlain's pre-war political negotiations and the alternative options that realistically existed is extraordinarily superficial. That he makes comparisons to 1930s Europe without even a modicum of acknowledgement of the combination of complex political and economic events immediately preceding that decade displays his shallow intellect for all to see.

He is playing the khaki election card just months from the next Federal election for the most selfish and short sighted political reasons.

Sadly the damage done by this buffoon and his leader to our nation's standing in the Asia Pacific region will take years to rebuild. Our club's China relationship is all but dead.

Of course the fact that China remains Australia's largest export market seems to have been all but forgotten in the political point scoring.
When Keating labelled Dutton as a ‘dangerous personality’ he nailed it.
 

Festerz

Club Legend
May 20, 2019
1,745
6,347
AFL Club
Port Adelaide
Other Teams
PAFC Maggies SANFL
When Keating labelled Dutton as a ‘dangerous personality’ he nailed it.
Yep. Although, it is stating the obvious to say that this has not just happened over night.

"For more than two decades Australia has needlessly made enemies and carelessly lost friends. Now, the more bipartisan our foreign and defence policies become, the more this is happening"

 

Andre

Brownlow Medallist
Sep 3, 2002
26,774
33,113
Adelaide
AFL Club
Port Adelaide
Do the libs really think they can win Hindmarsh?
Its not exactly marginal.
It's not about Hindmarsh. It's about how many times they can mention helping Women/Girls. Whether you want to argue it as a Libs have a women problem, or ALP has a men problem in regards gender / vote split, $15 million to push they are all about empowering and inspiring women and girls all over the national news is money they'd consider well spent. Whether they think that or not is irrelevant. Like all politicians perceptions trump reality, for good or bad and they want to shift perception of them not supporting women.
 

RussellEbertHandball

Flick pass expert
Nov 16, 2004
70,030
108,407
SE Oz
AFL Club
Port Adelaide
Other Teams
The Mighty Blacks
It's not about Hindmarsh. It's about how many times they can mention helping Women/Girls. Whether you want to argue it as a Libs have a women problem, or ALP has a men problem in regards gender / vote split, $15 million to push they are all about empowering and inspiring women and girls all over the national news is money they'd consider well spent. Whether they think that or not is irrelevant. Like all politicians perceptions trump reality, for good or bad and they want to shift perception of them not supporting women.
Its better PR than spending money on bloody car parks, especially only in marginal coalition seats.

I wonder if the carpark angle worked for the crows in the run up to the last election?
 

Remove this Banner Ad

Remove this Banner Ad