Morrison’s risky throw of electoral dice
Journalists have a trust problem

No room for neutrality in this new world

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Scott Morrison looks at Joe Biden on a video link - "China is not a benign power. It is no more or less self-interested than any other authoritarian power"

CHRIS OVERLAND

ADELAIDE - I think Phil Fitzpatrick, The US sets up Australia for war, has invested Australia’s decision to buy nuclear submarines with more significance than it deserves, at least as far as the prospect of war is concerned.

As I have written before, in Rationality & balance required for China, the 'dance of death' between a resurgent and increasingly nationalistic and belligerent China and the previously dominant USA began some time ago.

Its is following the same steps that history says lead inexorably to war.

The decision to buy nuclear submarines probably should have been taken a long time ago.

It is a superior technology to diesel electric engines, with a number of major strategic and tactical advantages compared to our current submarines.

The defence minister, Peter Dutton, is evidently a hard headed, pragmatic and determined man, perfectly capable of making tough decisions.

In this case he has simply persuaded the government to do the obvious thing to increase Australia's war fighting potential to a higher level in the face of repeated threats and calculated attacks on our trading relationship from Xi Zinping's 'wolf warrior' diplomats.

China is not a benign power. It is no more or less self-interested than any other authoritarian power.

It has unhesitatingly coerced, imprisoned or murdered its own citizens to suppress any hint of democratic tendencies.

More recently, it has laid claim to seas and territories well outside recognised international boundaries.

It has sanctioned the use of force to preserve what it sees as its vital interests. In short, it is just another rising imperial power, with all the attendant ambitions and behaviour.

The USA, while subject to very serious internal divisions, remains an immensely powerful nation. It will not readily surrender its power and influence.

That is something all Americans can and will agree upon no matter how divided they may be on other matters.

Thus the world is entering a new phase of super power competition and, potentially at least, open conflict.

Whether it likes it or not, Australia has a choice to make. It cannot be neutral in this new world.

The blunt truth is that our basic democratic values and outlook make it impossible to align with China.

The decision to buy nuclear submarines and equip them with weapons that pose a serious threat to a hostile force is a pragmatic recognition of this fact.

Still, despite the current sound and fury, war is not inevitable. There is always time to draw back from the brink if there is the will to do so.

The real problem is that grievous errors in judgement may be made, not to someone makes a conscious decision to go to war.

So, the submarines are just another step in the dance that has been a feature of human existence since time immemorial.

We humans are programmed for war. We are a profoundly aggressive species, determined to defend and protect what we regard as our own, even unto death.

It is what has made us the world's pre-eminent predator. It is the source of our many triumphs and also of our many tragedies.

We can only hope that our leaders are aware of this awful history and exercise restraint.

The consequences of a failure to do so are, as Phil Fitzpatrick has pointed out, likely to be truly catastrophic.

Papua New Guinea’s role in this unfolding drama is to be an innocent bystander and, perhaps, a helpless victim.

Large scale industrial warfare has been inflicted upon PNG before and may yet occur again, so it too has choices to make, none of them ideal but some worse than others.

I wish them luck.

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Arthur Williams

Ol man! More acronyms. APEC - 21 states, ASEAN - 10, AUKUS - 3, CPTF - 11 (on 16 September China asked to join), EYES - 5, NATO - 28, UN -193.

As a member of these clubs you could be at champagne meals in 5 Star hotels almost every day of the year. Guess I'm just a miserable old geezer as we were told, 'Jaw Jaw is better than War War!'

Anyway just read this 'Russia And China Are Looking To Tap Afghanistan’s $1 Trillion Resource Reserves' by Richard Price, editor of at www.oilprice.com.

It puts tetchy Trump and sleepy Joe's ageing hawkish brains in question when one sees what the alleged 'Evil Chinese Imperialists' have been able to do while the Western wankers wallowed in waffle.

Or you can read another enlightening article, 'A Chinese rare earths giant is building international alliances', worldwide2 at www.qz.com. An extract:

"Earlier this month, Shenghe signed a memorandum of understanding with Australian rare earths company RareX. The agreement lays the groundwork for a majority Shenghe-owned joint venture and potential Shenghe investment in RareX’s rare earths project in Western Australia.

"Meanwhile, a public consultation is underway for a major rare earths project in Greenland that Shenghe has a minority stake in, and for which it hopes to soon acquire a mining permit from Greenland’s government.

"The partnerships mark an effort to deepen the “three grands” (link in Chinese) strategy that Shenghe’s chairman Hu Zesong emphasized in 2017, which includes the ”grand breakthrough in overseas rare earth resources.”

The firm’s strategic plan (link in Chinese) for the next two years involves “consolidating the results of overseas cooperation projects” so as to guarantee a stable supply of rare earths.

This is particularly important for China, which in recent years has become a net importer of rare earths, critical to establishing electronic manufacturing prowess in smartphones, electric vehicle batteries, and military equipment.

"Hu’s speech came the same year Shenghe made one of its most significant overseas investments. It has an 8% stake in MP Materials, an American company that operates the only active rare earths mine in the US.

"The California mine, Mountain Pass, was bought out of insolvency in 2017 by a rescue consortium that included Shenghe—and secured the Chinese company rights to Mountain Pass’s output.

"According to MP’s listing prospectus filed last October, Shenghe is currently the firm’s principle source of revenues as the sole buyer of MP’s rare earth concentrate, which Shenghe sends to China for processing.

"In its 2020 earnings forecast published last month (pdf, link in Chinese), Shenghe credited its stake in MP as the primary reason for its almost 200% growth in net profits compared to 2019."

Happily, at almost no cost, the UK can play a major naval role in the new Awkward tripartite club as we have literally hundred of brand new French inflatable dinghies anchored all along the French Channel.

Lindsay F Bond

Risky ride in the straits of neutrality and reward so 'rode' as rocky.
Shenandoah ("Shenadore") has its lyricism on making of choice.
Of sentiment, see: https://balladofamerica.org/shenandoah/
Quite apart is mention of Shandong and from the year of 1916.
See: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/surprisingly-important-role-china-played-world-war-i-180964532/

Bernard Corden

“The important thing is moral choice. Evil has to exist along with good, in order that moral choice may operate. Life is sustained by the grinding opposition of moral entities.” - Anthony Burgess( A Clockwork Orange)

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