Australia’s deepening of defence ties with the Philippines, including joint patrols in the South China Sea, suggest an increasingly militarised foreign policy.
The degree of US-Australia military integration agreed on suggests decisions around regional conflicts will be made by Washington and rubber stamped by Canberra. This will have a major impact on the way Australia is able to shape its relationship with Asia, particularly China.
The US Treasury Secretary’s visit to China suggests economics may be starting to play a larger role in the bilateral relationship, but the US will need to demonstrate consistent sincerity to see improvement in ties.
Stripped of platitudes about regional peace, Albanese’s speech aligned with the US concept of what this peace should look like. Yet, there was no acknowledgement of the legitimacy of any of China’s responses to the obvious attempts to contain its development.
Washington attempted to call Beijing about the balloon only after it had shot it down – and then proceeded to shoot down another three objects. A policy of shoot first, ask questions later may prove to be an expensive farce when executed in US airspace, but could be catastrophic if applied over the South China Sea.
An important feature of the new globalisation is China’s Global Development Initiative and the renewed, non-exploitative focus on the Global South. The other is the growth of the digital economy and non-dollar-denominated digital currencies that enable cross-border trade.
The Australian defence establishment’s military provocation of China threatens the country’s sovereignty and regional stability. The deal undermines Australia’s diplomatic efforts, and will make its air base a prime target in any US-China conflict.
Contrary to regional concerns, the US and UK helping Australia build nuclear-powered submarines does not pose a material threat. What is dangerous, amid US, UK and European naval operations in the South China Sea, is the imperial longing that drives Aukus.
While India is cozying up to Australia, Japan and the US as part of the Quad, it is also a large customer for Russian arms and a member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation.
Defence was once an arm of diplomacy but foreign policy is now seen as an arm of defence, which colours all thinking around foreign engagement with Asean. The deal will have a significant effect on Australia’s ability to shape regional discussions, particularly on trade.
Walking away from the Afghan contractors who risked their lives for Australia suggests an expeditious, rather than genuine, commitment to those values.
Overturning a commercial lease offers four courses of action, three of which are likely to aggravate China. The Morrison government looks set to act without proper consideration of the longer-term consequences for the country.
When assessing how best to work with China, countries would be better served by historical analogies from Asia than those drawn from European traditions and Europe’s history of aggression against China.
Canberra’s muted reaction to the discovery of a new Covid-19 variant in the UK stands in stark contrast to its ban on travellers from China in the early days of the pandemic – and reveals the unacknowledged racism that still lingers at the core of Australian policy decision making, says Daryl Guppy.