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Australia as a beggar nation: How the Country Liberal Party made the Port of Darwin a Geo-strategic requisite for China

By Dr Strobe Driver

Introduction

The analysis of Australia’s leasing of the Port of Darwin (PofD) to a Chinese company (Landbridge Industry Australia) in 2017—ABC News ‘Why did the Northern Territory lease the Darwin Port to China, and at what risk?’[1]—and the serious future repercussions this will have to Australia’s security, is finally coming to the fore. Whilst being mindful of Andrew Robb’s recent statement that there is an ‘anti-China’ sentiment that exists within Australia,[2] the underlying problem beyond the leasing is that the People’s Republic of China (PRC) continues to rise. The process of what constitutes a ‘rise’ has at its core the acquisition of international assets that contribute to the fiscal base of the owner’s home country cum domestic environment. The PRC will want the asset to keep generating income; and will do all it can to keep this strong fiscal base.

There is no surprise in the PRC pursuing this strategy as from a historical aspect, the act of gaining and keeping assets can be observed in the British dominance of India (circa-1612 – 1947) which contributed enormously to the tax-base of Britain; the United States of America (US) and its control over the Central Americas in the 1960s for the direct benefit of American companies; and Japan in its acquisition of American business assets in the 1980s—most notably in 1989, the Rockefeller Centre (Sony) and Columbia Studios (Mitsubishi). The list of acquisitions and the ways in which they were gained is long and involves far too many countries for inclusion here, suffice to state China in the twenty-first century, like Britain and the US before it, will have the capacity in the near future to use threat-of-force or direct force to maintain a hold over its assets. This factor can now be extrapolated upon.

Expansionism: How mercantilism and threat-of-force rule

With the time span of the abovementioned cases crossing from the early-seventeenth through to the early twenty-first centuries emphasises the practice of gaining assets becoming firmly ensconced in the capitalist-driven business world. Certainly, there is no immediate and substantial problem with this practice taking place from the perspective of international trade, especially in the case of China in the twenty-first century ‘globalised’ world, where it is commonplace to do ‘borderless’ business. Whether the companies that indulge in the mercantilism alluded to are concerned enough about the welfare of the host country and therefore, contribute the correct amount of taxes and other ‘moral contracts’ within the host society are moot points and need not be debated here. To be sure, there are many other accompanying components that allow a country to expand. This has been true of Spain, France, Britain, the US and many others. The assisting of expansionism for a country comprises of, but is not limited to, a strong and disciplined military, stable currency, domestic harmony and well-being, gross domestic product growth, a good (relatively constant) standard of living, a dutiful government sector, rising education standards, and a law-abiding and ordered society.

The problem for the world, in general, has been, when all of the abovementioned attributes coalesce within a country there is a tendency to create expansionist policies. This can be due to ‘irredentism,’[3] the seeking of ‘righting past wrongs,’ outright revenge, the protection of an asset-beyond one’s own borders, the setting up of geo-strategic platforms and a myriad of other reasons. Spain, in the fifteenth century, expanded as far as the South Americas to claim territory and its expansionist tendencies would further usher in what would become known as, the ‘Vasco da Gama era.’ This era reflected on the achievements of the Portuguese explorer da Gama and his feats of navigation and science (circa-1500). For all intent and purpose this would signify the power of the West for the following 500 (plus) years and as such the West—essentially Western Europe, Britain, and parts of the Mediterranean—would expand a geographic power-base and conquer the world. The US would follow circa-mid-1800s with its demand that Japan ‘open up’ to trade with the West or be fired upon by Commodore Perry and his ‘black ships’ (1853 – 1854),[4] and moreover, the US would have numerous incursions into the lands of others. The US’ international zenith of power would take place in the post-World War Two years (WWII). For the West, expansionism would take place through colonialism, mercantilism, subjugation through direct military force and political manipulation or a combination of all. A subjugated territory was considered to be ‘owned’ by the invader and hence, an inherent right of protection existed and the conquered land would be viewed through a prism of being a protectorate, a suzerain state, or come under the more subjective mantle of being part of a ‘motherland.’ All would allow the territory to become part of the geo-strategic remit of the claimant. The claimant’s inherent right to defend ‘their’ asset within the host-country would evolve to an inculcated norm within the claimant’s society—as happened recently with the Russian Federation and Crimea[5]—and the claim is often, and from a historical perspective, reinforced with military action. The relevance here is, countries view their ‘rights’ and ownership as intermingled. At this point, the PRC’s ownership of the PofD and the repercussions this will have for Australia as the A-P (Asia-Pacific) becomes more fractious, can now be examined.

The trouble to come and the Country Liberal Party

What the Country Liberal Party (CLP) of the Northern Territory—long having viewed itself as the “natural ruling party of the Territory”[6]—has accomplished by leasing a significant and most strategic asset, is to place the PofD firmly on the list of having to be ‘protected’ by the lease-owners government. This would be a nominal part of China’s overall foreign policy within the Asia-Pacific (A-P); and would be part of its normal foreign commitments; and exigencies. Many countries have used the annexing of an asset that it controls, or utilizes it as part of a set of control factors, under the guise of subjective policies—regional stability; and national importance are two such factors. There have been varying degrees of violence and politico-manipulation in many instances of claiming: Britain adopted this approach in the counter-strike against Argentina’s attempt to take back the Falkland Islands/Islas Malvinas (1982), the US and the invasion of Granada (1983), China’s reclaiming of Hong Kong (1997), and the ongoing Israeli occupation of the West Bank/East Jerusalem (1967), is to name only several nation-states that have implemented their ‘claim’ strategies for ongoing gain.

Notwithstanding the abovementioned, all conflicts have a level of national protection as a core component of policy, although it is often accompanied by other imperatives. Therefore, and based on history China will view the PofD as an asset that must be protected and moreover, the potential for it to be elevated to a pillar of the PRC’s regional preponderance is a feasible proposition. Based on history there is no reason why this will not happen and when it does the PofD will by definition, become part of the PRC’s A-P geo-strategic fiat. The emphasis being made here is, as China continues on its current pathway of building a strong ‘blue water navy,’[7] the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) and a sophisticated air force—the People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF)—it will have gained the capacity to strike at the PofD. Of equal importance and much more likely, however, is a threat-of-force, one that is able to be backed up by direct force, will be made and it will entail intimidating any ship entering, or exiting the port. The ‘hard power’[8] that will be available to China and its allies (as it should be assumed China will have other dependable and allied A-P actors), will be centred on disrupting ease-of-access to the port without engaging in a ‘kinetic exchange’ or a ‘shooting war.’ The strategy—which has been utilized and applied by the West against Iraq and Iran in the Strait of Hurmuz standoffs (1988 and 2011 respectively)—is extremely effective as it immediately places the most powerful actor in a position of dominance and subsequently forces the less-powerful actor into a position of enforced negotiation. The strategy and its efficacy has been observed by China and moreover, has been part of the PLAN’s ‘real world’ experience with the European Union and North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s maritime force in actions off the Somalia coast (2008), which consisted of shipping-lane protection; and the curtailing of pirate activities. This was the first time the PLAN conducted such activities and therefore, is well aware of the advantages a blockade can bring to an effective overall strategy. To be certain, when the PLAN exercises a similar initiative toward Australia it will be resolute and it will be of polygonal intent: establishing China’s regional pro-activeness; changing the ‘strategic equation’[9] within the A-P; place fiscal-pressure on the Australian economy; test the reaction time of the Australian military, and downwardly-moderate the Australia-US alliance. When (rather than if),  the PofD becomes a strategic necessity for the PLAN to safeguard China’s asset and as per the Western ‘model’ of security and when this will happen and the crisis it will introduce into Australia can now be addressed.

Challenges for Australia

Importantly, China will exercise all of the mechanisms of suasion at its disposal and whether this will result in a kinetic, force-on-force exchange is moot and need not be debated here, as it is the problematics that Australians will face when China decides to pressure Australia’s geographic and nautical territory that is of interest here. First of all, however, a timeline of what could happen needs some understanding. China since circa-1995 has embarked on a grand plan of irredentism and expansionism—often referred to as pax-Sino. Two major undertakings have signalled its future intent: the ‘Nine-Dash’ line[10] (NDL); and the ‘Belt and Road initiative’ (BRI).[11]  To be sure, both have been secured regardless of US and intra-Asian debate and protest; and negative commentary within the United Nations (UN). Notwithstanding this, China has continued with its programme of expansionism and has not allowed peripheral debate to influence its agenda. This has allowed Australia some diplomatic and military ‘breathing space’ in terms of not being directly threatened per se. War forecasting, however, is an inexact science and is dependent on many factors and moreover, relies on a set of identifiable parameters to take place which usually consist of demands, inducement, intimidation and finally, ‘coercion.’[12]  This has already happened in greater or lesser degrees in the PRC’s interactions with Vietnam and the Philippines so far however, kinetic exchanges has only consisted of minor skirmishes. The intent of China will not change and over time it will force Australia into the forefront of its regional endeavours.

The PRC will use the PofD to expand upon its notions of control and this will intensify as it continues to rise and it will use the feint of direct power—the presence of ‘capital ships’[13]—in order to cluster the majority of Australian military forces in the north of Australia. Strategists’ understand the advantages and limitations of an armed force and of when and where, to feint and moreover, China understands the Australian military can only holdout for a week, before becoming ‘impotent.’[14] The reason China will use threat-of-force is because of an eminently manageable tactic for a powerful actor, however, it undermines the capabilities of the less-powerful actor by overstretching its capabilities. More importantly, the tactic produces additional and complex domestic problems for the threatened actor, and this will be the case for Australia.

Some of the issues Australia would face as a feint and a threat-of-force takes place to comprise but not limited to, Australia having near-zero civilian- and military-reserve fuel and this problem would instantly come to the fore.  Severe fuel rationing and food distribution would become immediately and immensely problematic—as it did for Japan (an island nation-state) during World War Two. Another two major problems would be a mass exodus of the population south from Darwin and this would create an overwhelming set of logistical, societal and order problems, which in turn would be compounded by a more general and frantic exodus of people from Australia. People who are able to financially and status able (dual citizenship) to leave will do so, as there is evidence when a country comes under threat a significant portion of their population exits—Taiwan (1996)[15] is one example of such an occurrence. Notwithstanding the aforementioned, the Australian import- and export-driven economy would essentially collapse under the strain of these problems; and Australia would be forced into re-negotiating the PofD by the PRC which would inevitably be used to their strategic and tactical advantage.  An obvious strategic demand by the PRC would be the non-entry of US Navy ships to the PofD and the tactic would be to test Australia’s resolve; place a significant  (if not catastrophic) stressor on the Australia-US alliance; and ultimately, force defence agreements to be moderated. The question of ‘why and when’ will this take place can now be addressed.

Conclusion

Whilst the inexact science of war-forecasting has been alluded to, there are some components that indicate that China is to date, not able to pursue its agenda of being a major actor in the A-P to the fullest extent. The reasons for this are many however, a nation-state’s progress is a dynamic and as setbacks are overcome—the US loss of the Vietnam War (1973), and the (then) Soviet Union’s loss of Afghanistan (1989) are two cases in point—powerful actors soon recover and begin another phase of engagements. Notwithstanding the aforementioned, the fact remains ‘rising nation-states’ are keen to ‘stamp their authority’ on nautical-, air- and ground-territories.  At the present time there are moderations to China’s rise and they comprise but are not limited to, the retrocession of Taiwan not having taken place; the PLAN and PLAAF are not at full operational capacity; the NDL and BRI are and remain works-in-progress; China’s northwest province remains unstable; China-Russia relations (especially, with regard to energy security for China) are at times capricious; and China has not established whether the US will remain involved in the A-P to the extent it was in the twentieth century.   All issues whilst being significant are a dynamic, and will need to be worked through over time although once China has established its status in the region, whether it be unipolar, or be a ‘pole’ in a multi-polar bloc, the situation for Australia will from a politico-perspective, intensify due to the vulnerability the lease has created in Australia.

Australia’s problems will be compounded by its hold on the past and of considering the A-P to be its ‘patch,’[16] and whilst this is grounded in a history of dominance in the region, it remains an untenable ‘reach’ for Australia in a new and different A-P.  Australia is simply unable to defend its ‘patch’ against a major actor such as the PRC. Due to its newfound and increasing status, China will exercise greater control over the A-P and thus, the protection of its assets will be by necessity, leveraged. In order to uphold the tenet or protection threat-of-force and if necessary, direct force will be used. Pre-military actions by China will comprise politico-strategies such as elevating its involvement in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations; and exercising its rights more robustly in the UN, and particularly as part of the UN Permanent Five, will become more evident over time however there will be a deeper cause and intent associated with these actions as they will signal the PRC’s intent to exercise military suasion if need be. The threat of direct force will only be used when China’s role in the A-P becomes more defined; and the desire to become a more forthright actor in the region is actively pursued. As stipulated, the protection of assets and the influences therein, will come to the fore and actions associated with the PofD will signal the PRC’s policies toward its rights; and ambitions.

The CLP leasing the PofD will allow the PRC to enact a claim on its asset, a claim that would not have existed had the lease not been entered into, and this, in turn, will allow the PRC to place restrictions on the port and the surrounding strategic ‘space,’ which must place Australia’s negotiation platform in a weakened position. To think that Australia will not have to negotiate with such a powerful actor is an absurd and fanciful notion, as the pressures placed on the Australian economy — and military — will be too great. Further exacerbating the problem of defending the PofD will be the ‘Attack Class’ submarines having not being assimilated; the Joint Strike Fighter not being capable of repelling the PLAN and PLAAF; and of Australians historic, albeit misguided, belief, that the US will come to its aid. Which brings the question, when will all of the aforementioned happen?

From the mid-2030s a dire time for Australia will have been created as China will have become a more military robust; and a politico-sophisticated nation-state. Notwithstanding this evolvement, the PofD will be a core underpinning for China’s regional military maneuverings, and Australians will have the CLP to ‘thank’ for creating a calamitous and ominous situation. Unless Australia’s foreign policy attitudes toward the PRC change and decisions are made to mitigate the threat the PRC poses Australia will be drawn into a conflict. Australia must embrace the fact that the PRC will increasingly become a major politico – and military – actor in the A-P, albeit one that has been offered a disproportionate advantage by the CLP.  China, like powerful actors before it, will be prepared to use direct force in order to attain; and sustain its status. The CLP has produced a problem that will malign Australia far into the future, on many levels, and will indubitably produce a crisis Australia has not experienced since the WWII (1942) bombing of Darwin by the Japanese Imperial Air Force; and the occupation of New Guinea by the Japanese Imperial Army in the same year. Both caught Australia unprepared and created panic. The CLP has consigned Australia to this future again by a massive and collective act of stupidity.


[1] Christopher Walsh.  ‘Why did the Northern Territory lease the Darwin Port to China, and at what risk?’  ABCNews. 12 Mar, 2019.  https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-03-12/why-did-northern-territory-sell-darwin-port-to-china-what-risk/10755720

[2] ABC Radio AM.  ‘Robb slams Turnbull, Joyce and security agencies over anti-China sentiment.’ Interviewer: Eliza Borrello.  https://www.abc.net.au/radio/programs/am/robb-slams-turnbull-joyce-security-agencies-anti-china-sentiment/10891480

[3] ‘Irredentism,’ or ‘irredentist policies’ comprise, ‘a party in any country advocating the acquisition of some region included in  another country by reason of cultural, historical, ethnic, racial, or other ties.’   See: ‘irredentism,’ Dictionary.com. Collins English Dictionary – Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition,.  HarperCollins Publishers, 2018.  http://www.dictionary.com/browse/irredentism

[4] See: ‘Commodore Perry and Japan (1853 – 1854).’  Asia for Educators.  http://afe.easia.columbia.edu/special/japan_1750_perry.htm

[5] John Simpson.  ‘Russia’s Crimea plan detailed, secret and successful.’  BBCNews, 19 Mar, 2014.  https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-26644082

[6] ‘Why did the Northern Territory lease the Darwin Port to China, and at what risk?’  ABCNews.

[7] A ‘blue water navy’ consists of having a navy which is able to venture into open ocean or the high seas, as opposed to littoral waters.  A navy of this kind is according to Kirtz able to defend against ‘open ocean naval threats … and [is consistent with] gaining command of the sea.’  See: James Kirtz. ‘Introduction.’ Naval Peacekeeping and Humanitarian Operations.  Stability from the sea. Edited by James Wirtz and Jeffrey Larsen.  Oxon: Routledge, 2009, 1.

[8] ‘Hard power’ centres on military and economic power … .’ See: Joseph Nye. ‘Soft Power and European-American Economic Affairs.’  Hard Power, Soft Power and the Future of Transatlantic Relations.  Edited by Thomas Ilgen.  Aldershot: Ashgate Publishing Limited, 2006, 26.

[9] There is some relevance in noting how the US changed the ‘strategic equation’ of the Middle East by initiating Gulf War II (2003) and it is, ‘For the Bush administration, Iraq was an inviting target for pre-emption not because it was an immediate threat but because it was thought to be a prospective menace that was incapable of successfully defending itself against a U.S. invasion.  For an administration that was determined to change the strategic equation of the Middle East and make Saddam an object lesson to [Weapons of Mass Destruction] proliferators, Iraq was not a danger to avoid but a strategic opportunity.’  See: Michael Gordon and Bernard Trainor.  Cobra II. The Inside Story of the Invasion and Occupation of Iraq.  New York: Patheon Books, 2006, 64.

[10] ‘The U.S. and China’s Nine Dash Line: Ending the Ambiguity.’  Brookings Institute. 6 Feb, 2014.  https://www.brookings.edu/opinions/the-u-s-and-chinas-nine-dash-line-ending-the-ambiguity-2/

[11] ‘The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is an ambitious effort to improve regional cooperation and connectivity on a trans-continental scale. The initiative aims to strengthen infrastructure, trade, and investment links between China and some 65 other countries that account collectively for over 30 percent of global GDP, 62 percent of population, and 75 percent of known energy reserves. The BRI consists primarily of the Silk Road Economic Belt, linking China to Central and South Asia and onward to Europe, and the New Maritime Silk Road, linking China to the nations of South East Asia, the Gulf Countries, North Africa, and on to Europe. Six other economic corridors have been identified to link other countries to the Belt and the Road. The scope of the initiative is still taking shape—more recently the initiative has been interpreted to be open to all countries as well as international and regional organizations.’  See: ‘Belt and Road Initiative.’  The World Bank   28 Mar, 2018.  https://www.worldbank.org/en/topic/regional-integration/brief/belt-and-road-initiative

[12] ‘Coercion is the use or threatened use of military force to defeat any elements of the population that resist or threaten to resist an occupation … Coercion in occupations can take the form of either explicit actual violence, or latent violence that deters violent opposition to occupation.  Military occupiers may employ violence in order to destroy any opposition.  Occupiers may also use the threat of violence to quell any resistance before it erupts … coercion becomes a  necessary prerequisite to these more cooperative strategies when significant opposition is present’  See: David Edelstein.  Occupational Hazards.  Success and Failure in Military Occupations.  Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2008, 49-53.

[13] Capital ships are the most potent surface arm of a navy and have been since circa—seventeenth century and Thayer stipulates this point as navies were continually involved in, ‘war after war [as capital ships] swept the seas …

[in]

exhausting strifes.’  See:  Alfred Thayer.  The Influence of Sea Power upon History 1660-1805. London: Hamlyn, 1980, 77.

[14] See:  Jamie Walker.  ‘US forces too weak to defend Australia, says Jim Molan.’ The Australian.  4 Jan, 2018.  https://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/defence/us-forces-too-weak-to-defend-australia-says-jim-molan/news-story/a9cae939218b980b88d510c4780a1cdd

[15] The Third Taiwan Strait Crisis is able to be used as a guide to what a war would bring and although this crisis did not evolve further than a show of strength on the part of China through a live fire exercise, it nevertheless ‘disrupted naval shipping and air commercial air traffic, causing harm to Taiwan’s economy … [and] Taiwanese scrambled to reserve seats on flights to North America.’  See: Michael Cole.  ‘The Third Taiwan Strait Crisis.  The Forgotten Showdown between China and America.’  The National Interest.  10 Mar, 2017.  https://nationalinterest.org/feature/the-third-taiwan-strait-crisis-the-forgotten-showdown-19742

[16] ‘China shuns rivalry in the Pacific as Australia says “this is our patch.”  ChannelNewsAsia.  8 Nov, 2018.  https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/world/china-shuns-rivalry-in-pacific-as-australia-says–this-is-our-patch–10907760

Strobe Driver – Strobe completed his PhD in war studies in 2011 and since then has written extensively on war, terrorism, Asia-Pacific security, the ‘rise of China,’ and issues within Australian domestic politics. Strobe is a recipient of Taiwan Fellowship 2018, MOFA, Taiwan, ROC, and is an adjunct researcher at Federation University.

 

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6 comments

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  1. David

    China is “mercantilist” so drones might fly. The US sees its growing homeless perish in winter snows but is a purist free-trader.

  2. Alcibiades

    (1) Perhaps you may wish to publicly declare up front you are financially supported by the Chinese rogue province of Taiwan ?
    An illegitimate non-nation, non-sovereign occupied territory, entirely unrecognised by the United Nations, the United Nations Security Council, and not even diplomatically recognised by ~86% of the worlds sovereign nations. Perhaps this relationship may colour your recent ‘Yellow Peril’ pieces, or at the very least create the perception of an apparent conflict of interest or bias ?

    No caveats nor qualifications to be found, yet again ?

    No supposed ‘assessments’ or ‘analysis’, balanced on the scales of likelihood, possibility, probability or degree of confidence, merely your bold assertions that China will do this & will do that, with absolute certainty in ~15-16 years into the future. See: (1)

    Bollocks.

    You clearly had determined the certainty of an event a decade and a half into the future and then constructed this piece to support it, extrapolated entirely from your only supportive(?) reference, a single news report (An incredibly rabid piece on behalf of the ADA, IMV)[1]:

    The Americans, who use Darwin as a strategic pivot location for thousands of marines each year, are on the record stating their concerns around the potential for Chinese operatives to spy on American and Australian navy ships.

    … the commercial port in Darwin, even though it is well down the harbour …

    The lease is for the ‘Commercial port’ component of the larger harbour of Darwin, and only that, for ~$506M.

    Ooh, Chinese operatives spying on US & Oz ships. Ooh. They could do that from anywhere else in and around the harbour. The same for Perth/Fremantle or Sydney/Garden Island, hell even Jervis Bay. Perhaps with binoculars, from under beds, whilst wearing red pyjamas ?

    As for the outlandish rabid breathless alarmist rantings of the conflicted & partisan ADA, pfft.

    … it’s the equivalent of leasing the Port to the Japanese in 1938.

    ADA

    Oh no ! The sky is falling. We’re doomed, doomed ! The Japs are coming, the Japs are coming, to invade us, again !

    So why was the ‘commercial port’ component of the larger Darwin Harbour actually leased ?

    For years, the NT had lobbied the Commonwealth to invest millions in developing the rinky-dink Darwin Port that was only turning over a few million dollars annually in cattle, mining and gas interests.

    See: your [1]

    The incompetent CLP then promptly squandered the funds from the lease for no medium or long term benefit.

    Frankly by failing (intentionally?) to clearly define/explain what the actual ‘Commercial Port’ of Darwin is, rather leaving that to the likely false assumption of the reader that the ‘commercial port’ = Darwin Harbour & its facilities in their entirety, again speaks to (1). Similarly for the ADA.

    If your portents of doom from interpreting chickens entrails, apparently, are so profound, so compelling, nay tantamount to the inevitability of open war between Australia & China ? Why doesn’t the government simply revoke the lease, here’s your $500m & another $500m for good measure, and avert the coming disaster ?

    The Commonwealth exercises ultimate authority over the Northern ‘Territory’ (’tis not a sovereign State in our Federation). Why not nationalise the ‘Commercial port’ component of the Darwin harbour on nebulous ‘National Security’ grounds, and supposed sovereign risk be damned, hm ? You know, the supposed ‘big stick’ legislation re Liddel coal fired power plant and all that, hm ?

    And it only goes downhill from there …

    Laughable given the crescendo of ludicrous hyperbole you reach in your last paragraph, having breathlessly anticipated mass evacuations from Darwin, even mass civilian exodus from Australia itself. Alarmist tripe, pulling the longest of bows and then some.

    Bollocks.

    Do you actually expect to be taken seriously with your largely completely irrelevant references, that at best lend only tangental support to your propaganda ? Come on, your ref [6] is your ref [1] FFS. The only reference of your Sixteen(15?) that actually is supportive of your fixed predetermined fictional future premise, is the rabid puff piece written on behalf of the ADA. Your ref 14 is the rants of extremist, Jim Molan ? Jim Molan ?

    Bollocks.

    Or are these fantastical overblown ‘Yellow peril’ fantasy pieces written for the easily triggered racists and ignorant ?

    Perhaps this should have been tagged as dark satire, by an aspiring Nostradamus ?

    The Australian government does have to make a choice. Our future economic welfare with our exponentially growing major trading partner, or compromising that relationship by continuing to act as a vassal state of the US solely its military/economic goals globally, to our detriment. A bit of independent diplomacy, even sovereignty might be in order ?

    Hey, how about a piece on the imminent military invasion of Oz by Indonesia, topical ’cause they’re predominantly islamists too ? That was a quite popular one through the ’60’s until the US supposed pivot to Asia.

    Have no recollection of public consent nor debate of the stationing of US Marines & routine transit & basing of Nuclear capable B-52s thru Darwin ? Vassal is as vassal does.

    Old Gough W and Oz earned a coup d’etat for having the temerity to start asking difficult questions about Oz sovereignty & national risk re US geo-strategic assets & bases crucial to US Nuclear WMDs as well as global intelligence/surveillance collection, targeting of strike aircraft & armed drones, as well as comms for satellite & submarine assets. Coincidentally, in the same year the ADA was founded.

    Perhaps there are other risks to our nations security, simply never discussed, because they are ‘verboten’ ?

    PS Do you still persist in ludicrously asserting that “ … the Vietnam War was only fought in the Sth” ?

    (See: Primarily strategic bombing of Nth Vietnam, but also Sth Vietnam, Cambodia & Laos, with total bomb tonnage exceeding the combined tonnage dropped of all belligerants in WWII combined. Land & coastal SF raids & ops along & into Nth Vietnam. Mining of Nth Vietnam harbours, bombing Nth Vietnams shipping. Invasion of Cambodia by US & ARVN. Invasion of Laos by US & ARVN. Etc, etc, etc.

    PPS The ADA does not represent existing service or ex-service members nor veterans, nor their welfare. The majority of ADA members have never served in our defence force.

    It represents its board (& members) as an ‘independent’, ‘think tank’ … as a (self-declared) national public-interest watchdog organisation ? Publicly asserts equivalent status(& public credibility/trust ?) to the:
    Taxpayers Australia
    Australian Consumers Association (Choice)
    National Trust; and
    Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF).

    Waleed Aly & co. … ?

    Australia Defence Association
    @austdef Mar 21
    Replying to @theprojecttv @ScottMorrisonMP
    An issue that has oddly not been discussed is serious problem of many Australian Islamic “clerics”, & other prominent Australian Muslims (perhaps including Walid Aly?), being in denial about the basis of Islamist extremism/terrorism in bigoted interpretations of Islamic theology.

    No extreme right group exists as a political party ?:

    Australia Defence Association
    @austdef Mar 20
    Clive Williams: “The shape of far-right extremism in Australia”. Good summary but there’s a difference btw extreme-Right & far-Right. Unlike 1970s, no extreme-R gp is a formal political party standing in elections. Nor is any far-R party white supremacist

    Re Northern Ireland & the Bloody Sunday massacre:

    Australia Defence Association
    @austdef Mar 18
    46 yrs ago “Soldier F” may have shot civilians contrary to ROE. But a system prosecuting soldiers deployed on aid-to-civil-power operations, but not terrorists they were helping the police to suppress, is inherently unjust & c-productive to the maintenance of military capability.

    On the afternoon of the NZ Christchurch massacre:

    Australia Defence Association
    @austdef
    Perspective: Worth noting that most Australian & foreign synagogues have needed heavy security measures, often including armed protection, for decades. And that the chief threat to them remains #Islamist, not (anti-semitic) white-supremacist, terrorism. #auspol
    4:30 PM – 15 Mar 2019

  3. terence mills

    Why did the Northern Territory lease the Darwin Port to China

    Judging from recent goings on, it may be quite simple : they were probably on the sauce

  4. Jon Chesterson

    ENMESHED – CAUGHT IN THE POLITICAL WEB BY OUR OWN BUNGLING BUFFOONS: AND STILL PEOPLE IN AUSTRALIA WANT TO VOTE LIBERAL, THAT’S ANOTHER FINE MESS YOU’VE GOTTEN US ALL INTO.

    We should be screaming not laughing – The stupidity of the Liberals has compromised Australia’s security and sovereignty well into the future. Country Liberals of NT could not have been more neglectful in serving the interests of the nation, and the Federal Liberals and Nationals utterly asleep at the wheel, totally incompetent in the present and the future governance of our borders despite all the rhetoric.

    So ensconced in the threat of refugees, when the real issue all along has been about the encroaching use of capitalism and mercantilism across our borders. China to date hasn’t done anything wrong, it is exercising its right to free trade and commercialism which the West has benefitted from for centuries. Now the shoe is on the other foot and the Liberals have gotten us into this mess, not China, contrary to all their grandstanding and expense on borders and sovereignty.

    Well done Liberals, you have defined and brought about an imminent future political and military crisis for Australia probably as early as just one decade from now, despite all your unjustified hypocritical anti-China rhetoric and bag of wind. Trading freely with China on fair and mutual terms should have been the goal not, bad mouthing China and letting another country freely walk in through our back door. But then we have been doing that for years with US and look what a dog’s breakfast that relationship has caused – the damage to our economy, our culture and society, and still we remain strategically conjoined at the hip but at arms convenient but congenitally deformed, dystopian distance. The US will ditch Australia when the critical moment comes because they too are just a bag of wind, doing nothing other than what is solely in their best interests even if it means giving up on its distant neighbour – which it will when it comes to the 2030’s crunch.

    We should have ditched the US long ago and developed a healthy, functional collateral relationship with China and our Asian Pacific neighbours within the region, but not this way. That would have been too fair minded and strategically sensible for the Liberals who love to brag, bang on regardless with insane border security measures, money laundering, racism, gaslighting, and domestic electoral territorialism – the bungling buffoons. Not this way where we will be hanging on the increasingly indifferent coat-tails of the US, which China is bound now to exploit geopolitically, just as the US has done in past and present times.

    We should be screaming not laughing and still people in Australia want to vote Liberal, that’s anther fine mess you’ve gotten us all into.

    AB 2019

  5. Alcibiades

    Yes, well. Italy, an EU & NATO member, the third largest economy in the EU, & a member of the G7 last week signed an MOU as a participant in the Chinese Belt & Road Initiative (BRI).

    Italian ports, Genoa and Trieste and similar Italian ports, will become gateways for China’s economic expansion across Europe, Beijing’s grand plan to integrate the continent with Asia, the Middle East and Africa with Europe. Through Chinese investment.

    Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte & officials, describe the partnership as a “win-win” deal. Italian exports will find ready access to Chinese markets ’cause Italian ports which have fallen into decline over decades through lack of investment will be rejuvenated.

    Oh, and the German Chancelor Angela Merkel yesterday said, according to Reuters,”“We, as Europeans, want to play an active part (in the project) and that must lead to a certain reciprocity and we are still wrangling over that a bit,” said Merkel after talks with French President Emmanuel Macron, Chinese President Xi Jingping and EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.

    In quite old news, ~13 members of the 28-EU bloc, including Poland, Hungary, Greece & Portugal, have already signed up to Beijing’s global BRI vision of Eurasian integration. The Chinese-Balkan Corridor Pits EU North against EU South

    So, when can we expect Chinese fleets of ‘capital ships’ to arrive off the above countries coasts, to coerce & intimidate through use of ‘hard power’, to ensure the security of far far more valuable Chinese investments & assets in the EU, hm ?

    Suppose the ADA would describe the EU as having sold their ports to Imperial Japan in 1938 too, hey ?

    sigh

  6. New England Cocky

    Once again the Liarbral Notional$ have sold out the best interests of Australian voters to foreign owned multinational corporations.

    Reminds me of the sale of scrapped warships to Japan in 1938(?) by “Bob “Pig-Iron” Menzies, the Prim Monster who resigned his Australian Army Commission on the first day of WWI, and committed my generation to the hell of Vietnam to assuage his conscience.

    The scrap iron was converted into military materials like bullets and explosive munitions that were fired back at Australian troops during WWII. Very smart Menzies!!

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