Australian news, and some related international items

Penny Wong’s World View: AUKUS All The Way

Australian Independent Media, April 19, 2023, Dr Binoy Kampmark

If anyone was expecting a new tilt, a shine of novelty, a flash of independence from Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong’s address to the National Press Club on April 17, they were bound to be disappointed. The anti-China hawks, talons polished, got their fill. The US State Department would not be disturbed. The Pentagon could rest easy. The toadyish musings of the Canberra establishment would continue to circulate in reliable staleness.

In reading (and hearing) Wong’s speech, one must always assume the opposite, or something close to it. Whatever is said about strategic balance, don’t believe a word of it; such views are always uttered in the shadow of US power. From that vantage point, Occam’s Razor becomes a delicious blessing: nothing said by any Australian official in foreign policy should ever be taken as independently relevant. Best gaze across the Pacific for confirmation.

………….. Like a lecture losing steam early, she finally gets to the point of her address: “how we avert war and maintain peace – and more than that, how we shape a region that reflects our national interests and our shared regional interests.” It does not take long to realise what this entails: talk about “rules, standards and norms – where a larger country does not determine the fate of the smaller country, where each country can pursue its own aspirations, its own prosperity.”

That the United States has determined the fate of Australia since the Second World War, manipulating, interfering and guiding its politics and its policies, makes this statement risible, but no less significant. We are on bullying terrain, and Wong is trying to pick the most preferable bully.

She can’t quite put it in those terms, so speaks about “the regional balance of power” instead, with Australia performing the role of handmaiden. ……..

It takes one, obviously, to know another, and Senator Wong, along with Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, have shown little resistance to the very binary concept they supposedly repudiate. Far from opposing it, we might even go so far as to see their seduction by US power as a move towards the unitary: there is only one choice for the Canberra cocktail set.

……… Wong is keen to point the finger to one great power’s behaviour: unstainable lending, political interference, disinformation, reshaping international rules and standards.

Finally, the dastardly feline is out of the bag – and it is not the United States. “China continues to modernise its military at a pace and scale not seen in the world for nearly a century with little transparency or assurance about its strategic intent.”



April 20, 2023 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: