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ANOTHER CLASH OF CIVILIZATIONS? April 8, 2013

Posted by wmmbb in Australian Politics, East Asia, Humankind/Planet Earth.
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Prime Minister Julia Gillard sounded in her address to Asian leaders particularly bellicose, as in “fire your best shot”.


John Garnaut and Mark Kenny report in The Sydney Morning Herald:

The consequences of major power conflict in the Asia Pacific are becoming increasingly severe, Prime Minister Julia Gillard said in China on Sunday.

Ms Gillard’s warning, in unusually blunt language to world leaders at a Chinese economic forum, comes as Australia’s dominant security and economic partners wrestle for influence in the Asia Pacific.Japan, South Korea, the Philippines, Vietnam and other Chinese neighbours have all drawn closer to the United States in response to increased Chinese military strength and assertiveness. China accuses the United States of meddling in the region.

Ms Gillard told her international audience a degree of great power rivalry is inevitable and the possible consequences are becoming more serious.

“We must also understand that continued and strengthened economic growth will keep changing the strategic order of our region,” she told the opening of the annual Boao Forum for Asia in the southern island province of Hainan.
“Militaries are modernising,” Ms Gillard said. “Economic growth will put more pressure on energy, water and food resources.

”This does not make major power conflict inevitable – all countries in the region share a deep interest in strategic stability – but the consequences of conflict are ever more severe for us all.”

Ms Gillard will say the Korean peninsula presents the clearest example of how local aggression could trigger potentially disastrous consequences.

“There, any aggression is a threat to the interests of every country in the region,” she said.

Could not the problem be addressed by suggesting to a certain international bully,torturer, murderer, with a general disregard, if not contempt, for international law and rogue state to keep its’ interfering presence out the region, following on its outstanding successes in Iraq and Afghanistan? That is the type of necessary straight talking, a sycophant cannot manage. This is the leadership our community presents to the world, doubtless to attract their contempt.

On the other hand, perhaps the stream of words is intentionally meaningless. In that case it is difficult to decide which is worst.

So to step back. What is our primary interest? I suggest is a just and therefore enduring peace in the region, as for the globe, informed with a tolerance and respect for minorities. We could work an honest brokers and intermediaries with the United States, and that role can only be effected if it is known we are independent. The economic rise of China, which no doubt will run into problems, perhaps like Japan, is a given new factor, and one that we depend on for economic prosperity, until and unless we move our economy to another basis, to co-exist with AGW, and constraining corporate influence and direction. The reactions of her Asian neighbours are not unforeseeable, which suggests a policy framework should be now in place to have anticipated that response. The problem with Gillard’s prognosis is that she is asking to the Chinese to submissive, as we are apparently prepared to be. So much for the Asian Century and our deeper understanding of Chinese civilization.

Meanwhile, Mr Anthony Abbott, Leader of the Opposition, addresses the Institute of Public Affairs, who passionately believe in freedom for themselves and bondage for everybody else, as they imagine it was in the halcyon days of Feudalism, the high watermark of Western Civilization. There are the good, the bad and the ugly. And the good represent about one per cent of the population.

Referring to Mr Rupert Murdoch, Mr Abbot could give a few pointers to Ms Gillard of just how to play the role. He said:

“His publications have borne his ideals but never his fingerprints. They have been sceptical, stoical, curious, adventurous, opinionated but broadminded. He’s influenced them but he’s never dictated to them.”

Such rhetorical art as befits the highest ideals of civilization carefully distinguishes between flattery and lying. I suppose both can work, and that is all that matters.

The worrying thing is the respectively perhaps Julia and Tony believe the stories they tell, deaf to the counter narratives and the search for truth.

It never occurs to Tony or Julia that loving our neighbours might be the foundation of our foreign policy,in which case great and powerful friends and the record of mass murders of the past century continuing in this one, would be superfluous. Perhaps if we studied peace we would recognize the conditions and circumstances that lead to war, and the repeated propensity for stupidity that leaders now and in the past have repeatedly demonstrated, as history is testament.

Richard Weitz, Senor Fellow at The Hudson Institute gives a more nuanced interpretation of China’s global policy.

 

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