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All cheers for the new globalization?

By Denis Bright

As the Trump Administration looks inwardly to rehabilitate its domestic economy, China’s President Xi is sprinting ahead with a New Globalization Initiative: The One Belt One Road Project.

The recent Belt and Road Summit in Beijing on 13-14 May 2017 attracted representatives from 130 countries including 30 heads of state from all sides of the political divide (Reuters Coverage 15 May 2017).

This Summit was one event where representatives from the U.S., Britain and Australia could mingle with their equivalents from North Korea (DPRK), Turkey, Russia and Iran.

Australia was represented by Trade Minister Steve Ciobo. The U.S. sent Matt Pottinger, National Security Council Senior Director for Asia.

An unequivocal endorsement of the One Belt One Road Summit came from Christine Lagarde as Director of the IMF (IMF Online 14 May 2017).

The investment of an annual $US1.5 trillion in transport infrastructure networks to link both East and West has added benefits for North-South trade and investment involving Australia, New Zealand and the wider South West Pacific Region.

Australia and New Zealand are strategically located on the supply lines to countries like Pakistan, Iran and Bangladesh. All will be connected to China by new land and sea freight links.

Higher living standards in a more diversified Chinese economy are also a magic wand for our export sectors particularly in the growing service sectors.

The growth and diversification of China also accelerates private capital investment flows throughout the entire Euro-Pacific Region. This is an unprecedented and positive global agenda.

Overlooking cautions from President Obama, Australia demonstrated its trust in China’s new globalization agendas by joining the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) in early 2015.

Australia now has one of the highest non-Chinese financial subscriptions to the AIIB. Our financial commitment is exceeded by both India and Russia. At $US3.691 billion however, Australia’s contribution is quite close to subscriptions from South Korea. This exceeds significant financial subscriptions from both Saudi Arabia and Turkey.

Such financial initiatives invite cautions from advocates of military first strategies which are keenly taken up by media outlets as the communication of fear is always a marketable product (Second Line of Defense Online 2017). Such mass anxiety makes leaders on both sides of politics more dependent on predictable advice from military intelligence services to prepare for worse case strategic scenarios.

The tensions between more open diplomacy and military intelligence can be expected to re-emerge to talk down the One Belt One Road initiatives.

The policy game is not a new one.

The old tensions between Labor’s progressive and conservative wings re-emerged in 1984-85 over U.S. plans to test the accuracy of MX missiles fired from California to the Tasman Sea.

Australia came close to following the pacifist sentiments of New Zealand’s Prime Minister David Lange until the Reagan Administration made changes to the testing protocols to avoid a showdown in the federal Labor Caucus over this issue.

Despite a barrage of eyewitness news coverage, political blind-spots continue in reporting of new developments in perceived friendly countries. The acquisition of nuclear weapons and submarine launched missiles by Israel and India has a low news value for mainstream media networks.

Just in March 2017, India successfully fired its own supersonic interceptor missile. The impact of this test for relations with nuclear armed Pakistan was significant (Hindustantimes 1 March 2017).

Media pre-occupation with events in North Korea was so pervasive that the failed test of an Indian Agni-II nuclear capable medium-range missile was largely unreported (The Diplomat 5 May 2017).

There was indeed no rush by President Trump to install THAAD anti-missile systems in the rival nuclear state of Pakistan.

The Israeli origin of this Indian defence technology should also have been of great concern. Both Israel and India are non-signatories to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Agreement (The Diplomat 11 April 2017).

In stark contrast, China’s One Belt One Road initiative received immediate criticism even before the recent summit commenced in Beijing:

“But a lot of questions still surround the centerpiece of Xi’s push to strengthen China’s influence beyond its borders — the One Belt, One Road initiative.

Launched nearly four years ago, the plan aims to pump hundreds of billions of dollars into railways, roads, ports and other projects across Asia, Africa and Europe. However, some critics say it’s a murky program that could end up being a massive waste of resources”.

Legitimate internal debate should proceed on the depth of financial interactions between China and Australia.

The stakes are too high to allow potential solutions to underdevelopment to be scuttled by hearsay interpretations.

Having Trade Minister Steve Ciabo at the Beijing summit is a very positive sign. Offering bipartisan support for such progressive initiatives from both sides of politics is essential to protect our national interests against the return of gunboat diplomacy from the far-off days of James Monroe as US Secretary of State and later as President.

Denis Bright is a registered teacher and a member of the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA). Denis has recent postgraduate qualifications in journalism, public policy and international relations. He is interested in promoting discussion to evaluate pragmatic public policies that are compatible with contemporary globalization. Denis will be travelling from 20 May in Italy, France and later in Northern Australia.


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  1. David J Turner

    One belt one road is a wise yet wild drive east/west across a continent with Global impact. Challlenging shipping norms and supply chain management practices is no mean feat. India Bangladesh and the …stans may initially need tiime to consider the features and benefits of such a project. In terms of current cultural practices and global pespectives the changed business models and processes will impact on peoples along and adjacent north and south both culturally and economicly. Viability is another matter and yet to be determined. A bold project that captures will interest and adventure.

  2. RonaldR

    Denis Bright thanks for waffling on, you don’t have a clue about ONE BELT ONE ROAD or the benefits.
    Then you go on about that arsehole Obama’s opposition. It was designed by a brilliant American and picked up by China same as China picked up how to finance infrastructure by another Brilliant American, we had it in Australia but it was closed down by Menzies working for the City of London.
    ONE BELT ONE ROAD It is all about world peace and pulling countries out of Poverty as this great Chines man has done in his own country.
    While our leaders drive us into poverty our economy is on the verge of Collapse. They take on one large infrastructure project first since the 40’s and it is the biggest stuff up you have ever seen a 3rd world Internet service that is a world low rating service with 1000,s getting down load speed of under 10Mbps at weekends when they are paying for a 100Mbps. There are taxpayer funded institutions that are receiving 600Mbps download but they are paying over $8000 per month and that is why you don’t get that speed you just get shafted with Copper wire.
    Denis if you had a faster service you might learn the truth instead of mass media bullshit which you then spread in your own words. Shock me learn the truth and write a fresh article and be positive for a change.
    Our media just feeds us Bullshit , does not tell us about the great things happening around the world that might give us inspiration.

  3. Michael Taylor

    RonaldR, you really are a rude sod. Give it a break.

  4. Johno

    We are certainly giving climate change plenty to chew on…. the plan aims to pump hundreds of billions of dollars into railways, roads, ports and other projects across Asia, Africa and Europe.
    Unless all this infrastructure can be produced and put in place with zero CO2 output ???

  5. darrel nay

    Remember when the lefties recognised that China is a totalitarian state (no freedom of speech or assembly, slave factories, persecution of minorities, occupation of Tibet, etc. etc.)? Now, all the lefties can manage is a deceptive, one-sided, foaming-at-the-mouth commentary on Trump. I grew up in a lefty family so I’ve heard all the lefty propaganda for years – I’m sick of it.

  6. darrel nay

    Hitler, like China, a rabid totalitarian lefty, loved big highways too.

  7. darrel nay

    If people think China is so “positive”, then how about the fact they make homosexuality illegal, build 50’s style coal power plants every week, jail dissidents, etc. Does it bother the totalitarian left that china is damming rivers upstream of a dozen of their asian neighbours, thereby cutting off essential water supplies to India and others. China is also running rough-shod over Africa to steal its resources.

    Why has the left become a shameless establishment lap-dog?


  8. stephentardrew

    The salient point here is China is quite willing to use fiscal policy to stimulate both the local economy and their reach into the international domain. Ignoring the, we are more ethical raves, which are full of hypocrisies anyway, China has basically shifted monetary policy into the corner of minor economic benefit and fiscal policy to the forefront.

    China cannot run out of its own currency so no matter what it is all basically good investment for them as long as they control inflation. Meanwhile the US, Britain, Europe, Japan and Australia are still caught in the vice of stupid balanced budgets and self-defeating austerity. We my dear friends are our own worst enemy.

    Play the moral high ground while acting out the inequality of economic rationalist neoclassical trickle down garbage. Point is unless we wake up soon and start spending on infrastructure, welfare, renationalise utilities and invoke a job guarantee we will be left behind. Neoliberalism is a noose around our necks.

  9. Rubio@Coast

    Great comments, Stephen.

    Neoliberalism was but a temporary adjustment which permeated both sides of Australian and global politics. China is proving that capitalism runs better through peace-building along the Silk Road and beyond and higher levels of government involvement.

    Selling neoliberalism to countries like PNG is so cruel and then imposing the added burden of care for refugees.

    China imposes no such conditions on its development assistance and is ready to de-nuclearise the Korean Peninsula to support real developments like the Silk Road initiative which could put both sections of Korean on a new transport land bridge to Europe.

    Like Darrel Nay, there is universal dislike of old style Stalinism and Nazism.

    Hitler was no Progressive Lefty and placed all the Communist (KPD) Members of Parliament in prison. Ernst Thalmann, the leader of the KPD was executed in Buchenwalk in 1944. His KPD team had 89 members of the Bundestag in 1932 before Hitler’s State of Emergency and seizure of power for the next 13 years.

  10. darrel nay

    Stephentardrew’s prescription for Australia sounds a lot like what has failed time and again in south america (Venezuelan collapse occurring as we speak). Stephen you are clearly an intelligent bloke but your prescription involves having a government take my money without my consent – this theft / taxation is the ethical conundrum that big-government types don’t like to countenance.

  11. Millie

    The Silk Road and Northern Australia initiatives are complementary.
    Let’s make our adjustment to these great initiatives for jobs and diversification.

  12. Leila Smith

    Sounds like a positive move to me, glad as you say Australia was on board at the conference.We need to keep up with the globe not just with the US.
    Great & timely article Denis

  13. Trev

    darrel nay, all true.

    The 1%ers and their PR unit, the MSM, want the public to hug it out over the One Belt One Road program. Gloss over all the corruption and human rights abuses coming out of China. That attitude is basically in line with the neo-con agenda – a race to the bottom in terms of not spreading prosperity to all in a society and a rock solid determination to take the lion’s share of any and everything.

    The Chinese govt knows the weaknesses of most politicians: ‘free money’ in the form of FDI which boosts local GDP (on paper) and pandering to each politicians self-image – grand banquets, guards of honour, glorious word-tributes, gold-plated gifts, etc. No need to mention paper bags of stuff. The ego is so easy to manipulate its funny.

    OBOR will become a defacto tributary system with the vast bulk of profits being sent back to China. The vertical integration model serves foreign companies/foreign sovereigns well but not so much the host nation. China have been able to export a massive amount of illicit capital since year 2000 ($9 trillion in auditing irregularities in China’s trade accounts) and this has been used to buy up assets in Australia and other countries. All accepted on face value by the naive West. This is the hoax of the millennium to date and so far only the Chinese are laughing:

    Anti Money Laundering legislation (the 2nd Tranche) has been on hold for more than 10 years.
    Why do our politicians refuse to introduce it? Answer? It might upset the finances of the 1%ers?

    Some readers might be interested to know how the rules are currently being skirted:

    MSM is slowing destroying civilization and ceding power to those least suited to holding it.

  14. darrel nay

    Nice to hear a different view mate and of course I agree.

    Your post reminded me of the fact that Obama repealed the Smith Mundt Act in 2013. The Smith Mundt act had, for decades, prevented the US government from propagandising ( ie. lying ) to its own people – needless to say the free-thinking lefties won’t talk about that.

    It should come as no surprise that Obama was helping to draw up the TPP at the same time as he was removing a ban on lying to the people who paid his wage.

    Now, back to this ‘great’ chinese road – is it a concern to anyone that nuclear-armed India is massing troops on its northern border with China because it is sick of Chinese expansion, resource grabbing and the fact that chinese damming of rivers is putting a dozen downstream asian countries in existential jeopardy.


  15. Rubio@Coast

    Hey Darrel: The Left always opposed the TPP which excluded China and Russia

    Obama is also quite conservative at heart. He foolishly took the advice of his milirary intelligence in a surprise re-commitment of troops to Afghanistan in the Trrop Surge during his first term (that’s definitely propaganda in action).

    The US has NATO ties with most Central Asian nations to encircle China from both East and West. Equiment destined for Afghanistan was safely transported through Bishkek and other bases in Kyrgystan until Russia offered Kyrgzstan a better financial deal.

    Going all the Way with the USA is an appalling direction for Australia: This One Silk Road Initiative is an alternative direction to avoid the antics of President Trump who is the surely most divisive US leader in two hundred years.

    I think Darrel might agree.

    It’s fun to ride the waves on Sydney’s North Shore. We have to get momentum as a nation and not just paddle around in Narrabeen Lake to pretend we can surf.

    I am all for the Aussie spirit of adventure in action.

  16. Andreas Bimba

    I bet Steve Ciobo was the most useless representative at the summit. A neo-liberal sycophant lining up to sell Australia’s national interest to our latest colonial master. As Steven Tardrew so correctly wrote, our neo-liberal masters also deny us the great opportunities that arise from good fiscal policy and well targeted infrastructure spending that the Chinese government does not hesitate to implement.

    China also does not practice totally free trade but protects important industry sectors especially during the vulnerable establishment phase. Moderate trade protection makes sense for Trump’s America and Australia to at least enable highly automated local businesses to compete otherwise we risk losing our entire manufacturing sectors to those East Asian nations that play to win by any means available.

  17. Paul

    Thanks for the article Denis.

    I hadn’t heard of the one road one belt initiative. I’m all for infrastructure and initiatives that support developing nations out of poverty.

    Australia certainly has an interest in trade with Asia and beyond and should support initiatives that facilitate this whilst also providing guidance and raising issues.

  18. Harquebus

    Dennis Bright is yet another ignorant fool.
    Trade depends on transport depends on oil.
    Peak oil mates, peak oil.

  19. Michael Taylor

    Dennis Bright is yet another ignorant fool.

    H’, Denis is neither ignorant or a fool. You simply make this claim because you disagree with him.

  20. Rubio@Coast

    Thanks Harquebus.

    The Silk Road links China to the oil and gas resources of the Middle East and Caspian Sea Regions as well as more local resources in N W China and Central Asia. Middle East countries are indeed attempting to diversify their economies to meet the needs of the post-petroleum era.

    The worst style of economic diversification in the Middle East is in the huge unproductive defence expenditures linked to NATO re-armament programmes. In its short-term blindness, the West is siding with the Sunni states of Saudi Arabia and the Persian Gulf region against the Shiite states and Iraq with its mixed religious loyalties.

    China does not take sides in this religious divide and is the key agency for modernism in the Middle East.

    The Trump administration is steeped in sectarian Moslem politics while claiming to defend us all against Moslem militancy.

    At least Julie Bishop listens to her DFAT department to balance advice to Melissa Payne through military intelligence which of course both ministers receive.

    The LNP is far from united on defence and foreign policy.

    Bill Shorten and Penny Wong are too close to the confusing policies from the LNP. There are better waves to ride to a peaceful future. Too much paddling in Narrabeen Lake is not a good sign of expertise in surfing. Get out and ride the swell.

  21. paul walter

    This is the consequence of twenty years of lazy profligacy…a legacy squandered.

  22. Harquebus

    Michael Taylor
    I have read all of Dennis’ articles and yes he is, both ignorant and a fool.

    “conventional global oil discoveries of 2.4 billion barrels were less than 10% of total world conventional oil consumption. This is extremely bad news.”
    “Falling exploration and capital expenditures will grind to a halt future oil discoveries. Investors need to understand that this will impact global economic growth quite negatively in the future.”

    Future World Economic Growth In Big Trouble As Oil Discoveries Fall To Historic Lows


  23. Michael Taylor

    That’s your opinion, Harquebus.

    We pride ourselves in being given the opportunity to publish Denis’s articles.

  24. Uncle Davy

    Over the last 40 years, China has lifted 600 – 800 million people out of poverty. By establishing mutually beneficial trade (and the development) with South, S-E & Central Asian nations – it should be able to do the same for them. WIN-WIN! Compare and contrast the shocking and inhumane exploitation of the Western imperial powers’ former colonies – which continues to this day through the use of Usury.

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