Northumbrian kiap get tick from uni
More dialogue needed on Porgera

Which bully to choose?


TUMBY BAY - When the governor general of Australia, Sir John Kerr, dismissed the Whitlam government in 1975 the conspiracy theorists had a field day.

Chief among the theories was that the USA’s Central Intelligence Agency, alarmed at Whitlam’s bold new social programs and loosening of its treaty ties, was the real culprit rather than opposition leader Malcolm Fraser

Following fast behind this theory was the idea that it had been a coup organised by Rupert Murdoch’s right wing press on behalf of some multinational corporations.

Both the CIA and Murdoch have had a history of interfering in the affairs of other nations.

These theories linger, and CIA involvement, with or without Murdoch’s assistance, still seems plausible.

Conspiracy theorists are always on the lookout for devious plots. The Covid-19 crisis is shaping up as prime grist for their mill.

There is, however, a new kid on the block. It’s called China and, in terms of international influence, it is elbowing out of the way an ailing and increasingly impotent USA.

There is no reason to believe China will not resort to dirty tricks, just as the USA did in the past, to get its way and smooth the road to its ultimate goal of world economic and political dominance.

Anyone seeking to upset China by causing it to lose face really needs to think through the ramifications carefully. Face is a big deal in China.

In our own region both the Australian and Papua New Guinean governments seem to be engaged in some indiscriminate anti-Chinese farting in the bathtub.

Australia, for no conceivable reason other than impressing the USA while sewing up a bit of local domestic support among its ‘quiet’ majority, is pushing for an enquiry into the genesis of the coronavirus in China.

Papua New Guinea, in an exquisite piece of bad timing, seems intent upon creating problems by engineering a takeover of a large goldmine in which China has substantial ownership of a lucrative lease.

Neither country seems to have thought through the consequences. How might an emboldened China respond?

As a burgeoning superstate with enormous economic power and a fragile sense of its own greatness, China is capable of taking down both governments. Its hold on the economic levers of both countries gives it a formidable weapon.

In Australia’s case, it could simply go shopping for raw materials like iron ore or coal somewhere else. That would gut the economy and see the exit of its troublesome government at the next election.

If you don’t believe that’s possible just ask resource billionaires Twiggy Forrest or Gina Rinehart.

In Papua New Guinea’s case it would be a simple matter to arrange a change of government through the expedient of bribes and other forms of corruption.

Another Peter O’Neill would pop out of the woodwork with a simple snap of China’s fingers.

China doesn’t demand that nations of the world kowtow to it. It demands it be accorded the respect it thinks it deserves as a major power.

China has taken great offence at Australia’s move to investigate it over coronavirus and PNG’s decision not to renew the Porgera lease without warning.

To do these things to a nation as sensitive as China was stupid.

It is inevitable that China will eventually replace the USA as the prominent world power. Donald Trump is diligently if ignorantly making sure that will happen.

The USA has maintained its global dominance through military clout and a willingness to use it.

China also maintains a substantial and formidable military and has used its own economic clout more shrewdly – often through corruption and dubious loans.

If the world can put aside its racial tendencies China, might offer a better world order in future.

As hard as it is for the West to accept, that might be an interesting conspiracy to chew over while we wait for the coronavirus crisis to abate.

A bully with a gun or a bully with an abacus?


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Lindsay F Bond

How many chickens does it take to cross a road? Crossing a road thickens as a plot of dominance.


Trump's arm holding a testament of advocacy in love was winging not winning.

Proof of the spoof of symbolism and him not entering the sanctuary where (if symbolism be pushed) all presidents hitherto are said to have entered and entertained freedoms (like tolerance, even love) of that nation.

Lindsay F Bond

Lootin, tootin, out 'he' comes, calls on shooin.
Shooin? Well, bootin is an inflammatory word.

Scootin back to Birmingham 3 May 1963, what a "Rose of Alabamy"?

What of equity, of indeed, sanity?
In those days "Birmingham's business leaders quickly realized they were in the midst of a public relations disaster."

Lindsay F Bond

Not the sort of thing I once did, yet gripes are 'achangin'.
Opinions are, in fact, the essence of democratic process.

One head keeps recurring in the newscape we view as politic.
While Phil points mainly to an Asian nation, less is of further east.

For 'balance' consider that President Of The United States (POTUS) "will not allow Twitter to stifle free speech."

Deeper in the detail it appears that POTUS "wrongly claimed Michigan's secretary of state mailed ballots to 7.7 million registered voters" and "later deleted the tweet and posted an edited version".
What of 'bully'?
POTUS "still threatened to hold up federal funds" for what POTUS alleged is an invalid mailing of "ballots to 7.7 million registered voters", yet that allegation was not sustained.

No slight intended in this comment, any interference in democratic process is Potent-ly serious.
Question among observers, even if not offering opinion, is what quality, what value, pertains to "free speech" if that is said, knowingly false?

Philip Fitzpatrick

The response to this article has been quite interesting.

Occasionally I get comments on what I have written via email and the odd telephone call.

When I ask the responders why they don’t just leave a comment on the blog they usually excuse themselves by saying it is not the sort of thing they do and they prefer to keep their opinions to themselves.

I noticed a similar thing on the Ex-kiap website a while ago when someone posted a fairly racist comment.

In this instance most of the commentators wanted to tell me how terrible the Chinese people and their government are.

Their point of reference was the apparent deliberate early cover-up of the coronavirus by the Chinese government. This led on to a general appraisal of the repressive regime and its treatment of minority groups.

When I pointed out that while this is all true other countries all over the world have similar histories - it is the nature of nation states.

The Americans, for instance, have a long history of not only repression but genocide against its indigenous people, not to mention a foundation based on slavery and segregation of African Americans.

Australia too has a similar history of genocidal treatment of its original inhabitants and repression of minority groups, not the least Chinese immigrants.

Most nations are as bad as each other.

It is a sad fact that there is an innate racism running through the psyche of most nations.

Even in a successfully multicultural society like Australia there is still an underlying fear of the other, of people who don’t look or act like us.

It is not as blatant as it is in places like the USA (or PNG) but it is still there.

Of those comments left on the blog I think the most salient is the brief one left by Paul Oates.

He suggests that we shouldn’t have to choose which repressive regime we favour over the other, we should just ignore them both and do our own thing.

At the moment that’s very problematic because we are entangled with the Americans militarily and the Chinese economically.

It’s a problem a lot of countries share with us even if not to the same extent.

It’s also a problem because our Tweedledee and Tweedledum government and opposition and their corporate supporters don’t seem to want to change it.

Lindsay F Bond

One of the jokes seen in Australia in the last few weeks is: "The spread of coronavirus is based on two factors. (1) How dense the population is. (2) How dense the population is."

Well, that's a joke. Now you might be ready to see what a major world leader has said. When asked what politicians could learn from science, Herman chancellor Angela Merkel responded: "Gravity. Without mass, no depth."

Merkel has a doctorate in quantum chemistry and worked as a research scientist until 1989.

From the bubbling of voices in any crowd, perhaps it takes a scientist to distil a truth for others who might think they lead.

Philip Kai Morre

I am of the opinion that China is leading in trade over the USA because every store item I glance through are labelled as made in China.

From small items like matches or lollies to big machines are made in China.

Even livestock produce comes from China. I have seen garlic and other spices packed and labelled as made in China.

Clothes are made in China; almost everything.

Most stores in PNG are controlled by Chinese and they are going into other businesses as well.

We need to chase them away if we are ready to do what Chinese are doing. We people in PNG are not really serious in big store business. The Chinese are manipulating our ignorance.

Bernard Corden

Here’s an update Plutocracy Index:

Jeff Bezos (Amazon)
2010 net worth: $12 billion
2019 net worth: $112 billion

Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook)
2010 net worth: $4 billion
2019 net worth: $76 billion

Larry Page (Google)
2010 net worth: $28 billion
2019 net worth: $61 billion

2010 US federal minimum wage: $7.25
2020 US federal minimum wage: $7.25

Bernard Corden

"Only the mob and the elite can be attracted by the momentum of totalitarianism itself. The masses have to be won by propaganda." - Hannah Arendt

Philip Fitzpatrick

Good point Paul. I'm with you on that one. Unfortunately our government isn't and neither are our businessmen if Peter Hartcher in the Sydney Morning Herald is right.

Paul Oates

Neither as far as I'm concerned Phil.

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