5 Jul. 2007

China Attacks!

If you thought poking sticks at the hornet's nest in the Middle East was stupid, how does the idea of infuriating Beijing grab you?

Little mentioned in all this Iraq-oil brouhaha is the fact that our nation’s defence policy has just been fundamentally changed. Defence has officially become Offence. Control of "resources" (i.e. oil and gas) is now a legitimate rationale for further pre-emptive wars. And China is no longer the close friend it used to be.

Despite growing public disaffection with the USA, our international position has just shifted even closer to Washington's:
Australia, a close U.S. ally, has been dovish about China's military and economic development, with Beijing having overtaken Japan as the country's top trade partner.

But with Washington eyeing Canberra's close relationship with Beijing with some concern, the document launched by Howard brought his government into closer step with Japan and the United States -- both partners with Australia in security pacts.

"Australia has no closer nor more valuable partner in the region than Japan," the document said. "Japan's more active security posture within the U.S. alliance and multinational coalitions is in keeping with its economic and diplomatic weight."
Not surprisingly, China is pissed off:
The Chinese government says it believes Australia's defence paper expressing concerns about Beijing's military expansion goes against earlier comments by Prime Minister John Howard, supporting China's development.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said at a press conference that Beijing has heard words welcoming China's development from Mr Howard, as well as Foreign Minister Alexander Downer.

''The Australian government and its leaders have expressed praise over China's diplomatic and defence policies,'' he said.

He added that Beijing has interpreted one comment by Mr Downer as meaning that people should not worry about China's military budget.

Mr Qin said that while he has not read the entire defence report, he feels that ''one country's diplomatic policy and defence paper should be consistent.''

The report says that China's rapid military expansion could create instability in the region.

''The pace and scope of its military modernisation, particularly the development of new and disruptive capabilities such as the anti-satellite missile, could create misunderstandings and instability in the region,'' Mr Howard said.
To understand China's concerns, just think how this sort of shit sounds to our neighbours:
Howard, who has committed Australia's military to a A$51 billion ($43 billion) buildup including two new amphibious assault carriers, missile destroyers, tanks, and strike aircraft, said Canberra had buried the "self-defeating" idea that Australia's military should be based on home defense.

"It needs to be able to defend our mainland and approaches in the unlikely event these ever come under direct military threat. But it must also be capable of conducting substantial operations in our immediate region, whether alone or as the leader of a coalition, and of making meaningful military contributions as a member of coalitions further abroad," Howard said.
So even as Howard admits that the chance of any direct military action against Australia is "unlikely", he is still spending a fortune on expanding our military capabilities for further adventures abroad. And the logic is that if we don't go out and hit other countries, they will come and hit us. Even though that is "unlikely".

Why aren't we spending this money on beefing up domestic anti-terrorist capabilities? Better yet, why aren't we spending such sums on Foreign Aid? Perhaps if we tried to make friends instead of enemies, we might not need such a warlike defence policy. Hmmn?

Our foreign policy has really become so hypocritical as to be both ethically and logically unsustainable. Either we declare ourselves a US state and swear allegiance to King George and his Corporate court, or we tell our War Meisters to zip up their schlongs, shut their mouths, and cut the crap.