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Nancy Pelosi, was that the right move?

Archduke Franz Ferdinand’s visit to Sarajevo in 1914 was an instructive lesson on how the dumb do, at some point, ask for it. Bosnia, then part of the Austro-Hungarian empire, was desired by the Kingdom of Serbia. With the Serbs also well represented in Bosnia, a visit by the heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne was always to be tricky, if not downright foolish.

This was not all. Already unpopular, Ferdinand took his cue to visit on a day regarded with mournful reverence by Serbs: Vidovdan (or St. Vitus’ Day). In 1389 on that blood-inked day, the Serbs fought the Turks in the Battle of Kosovo with catastrophic losses. Myth and fact commingled, thereby producing legend.

Few security measures were taken for this provocative trip. The drive through Sarajevo was made in an open-topped car. In the ensuing farce that followed, the Archduke and his wife, the equally unpopular Countess Sophie, were clumsily, even miraculously butchered. The Serbian nationalist group, the Black Hand, was initially foiled. The lobbed hand grenade by Nedjelko Čabrinović failed to strike the intended target, injuring the occupants of the car behind.

Instead of lying low in humbled terror, the Archduke and his wife continued to the planned reception at City Hall. They then made themselves inviting targets by wishing to see members of the injured party in hospital. On the way to the hospital, the driver took the wrong turn, presenting Gavrilo Princip with a juicy target. The couple were shot and killed by a Browning pistol.

Riots and protests followed, with Austria-Hungary declaring war on Serbia on July 28. This set the trains of war in motion across Europe, leaving millions of dead and a continent primed for the next global conflict. The dumb had gotten a good number of Europe’s populace killed.

Like the doomed Archduke, Pelosi has shown, and continues to show little awareness about what her trip to Taiwan entails. This is not a harmless visit to the village vicarage for a cup of a tea, or a casual stop by to see old chums. The Biden administration forgives it as an independent decision made by a person independent of government. This is a lawyer’s explanation and far from a good one, given Pelosi’s position as House Speaker. Should Biden shuffle off the mortal coil, she will find herself, after the hungry Vice President, second in line for the White House.

Pelosi has been merrily hawkish in stirring the PRC. “Our visit,” she tweeted, “reiterates that America stands with Taiwan: a robust, vibrant democracy and our important partner in the Indo-Pacific.” In travelling to the province, the Speaker was honouring a commitment to democracy, “reaffirming that the freedoms of Taiwan – and all democracies – must be respected.”

 

 

 

This is all a bit rum, given that Washington does not, in principle, recognise Taiwan’s independence. National Security coordinator John Kirby, back in Washington, reiterated the point in a press briefing. “We are clear that nothing has changed about our One China policy which is guided by the Taiwan Relations Act. We do not support Taiwan’s independence.” The Biden administration continued to be “clear with the Chinese about where we stand on the issues and the One China policy and our support for a free and open Indo-Pacific.”

Despite stating that position, Kirby was being decidedly two-faced about the Pelosi jaunt. President Joe Biden had noted in late July that the then rumoured trip was not prudent, at least in the mind of some voices in the Pentagon. “The military think’s it’s not a good idea right now.” He then went on to say that he knew “what the status of it is.”

Unfortunately for those outside the US, such a status is simply not clear. While Kirby did say that the President had “made clear that Congress is an independent branch of government and that Speaker Pelosi makes her own decisions, as other members of Congress do, about their overseas travel,” those unacquainted with the US political system will take no notice. The visitors are from the governing political party in Washington, which would normally suffice in most cases.

Nor should it be forgotten that Biden has taken three shots against the strategic ambiguity of the One China policy by suggesting at various points that US forces would be deployed in a battle over Taiwan. It was a point that has not escaped students of the field, and certainly not China’s President Xi Jinping. Pelosi’s visit will simply be seen as consistent with such a change, a blast of clarity when, before, there was ambiguity.

Rather than admitting this development, the Biden administration has hidden behind the trappings of US political protocol. Let Congress decide what it wants, and we will have our own policy. Focus, instead, on Beijing’s bad faith and refusal to understand. “We expect to see China use inflammatory rhetoric and disinformation in the coming days,” chirps Kirby. And not just that, given that China was “positioning itself to potentially take further steps in the coming days and, perhaps, over the long-time horizon.”

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi threatened ahead of the visit that US politicians who “play with fire” with respect to Taiwan would “come to no good end.” Officially, Beijing’s officials have warned of “serious consequences.” Spokesman Zhao Lijian’s warning came with a note of theatrical indignation: “If the US side is bent on going its own way, China will take strong measures to resolutely respond and counteract.” So far, Chinese war planes have flown close to the median line of the Taiwan Strait, while Beijing has imposed a number of import bans on select Taiwanese products.

The political arithmetic is clear. Pelosi’s arrival, along with a delegation from Congress, risks sparking a fourth Taiwan strait crisis. The locals, for the most part, showed little initial interest. There has been much chat about heatwaves, the usual celebrity gossip, and discussion about local elections.

But the arrival at Songshan airport of the most significant US political figure in years signalled something of a shift. Protesters gathered at the Grand Hyatt where she was due to stay, accusing Pelosi of being a warmonger. Other protesters preferred to vent their ire at the CCP itself. All it takes now is a bullet, a misfire, an accident, and the dumb will be dead, again, taking the rest of us along with them.

 

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54 comments

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  1. Kerri

    While I totally agree in the stupidity of poking the Panda, I must protest at the term “biddy”.
    It’s 2022 Binoy!
    Such sexist ageist slurs are no longer acceptable amongst progressive, educated commentatorsPelosi is a successful politician who has risen to and maintained a position of respect and authority.
    Her mis-use of those skills does not make her an ageing twit.

  2. The AIM Network

    I see your point, Kerri, and I agree with you.

    I have changed the title.

  3. Michael Taylor

    I’m a big fan of Nancy Pelosi, but this performance is Duttonesque.

  4. andy56

    I see your point but i also think the Chinese are bluffing us. They will spit fire for a while
    and then calm down. They have been good at bullying other countries but i am afraid their bluff has been called.
    The battle for Ukraine has shown the world that a well defended country can truly bloody a bully. I am sure China
    is studying this as we speak. Its one thing to invade a defenseless poor country, its another thing getting your face blown off by
    real tiger in the corner.
    I dont believe the chinese are stupid enough to start a war. They need the word as much as we gave it to them.
    The best result is china stops being beligerent in wanting control of a country that clear doesnt want them.
    Countries that have merged, ie EU are friendly to each other. Never happened voluntarily when one side is a bully.
    If the chinese dont want missiles parked on their footsteps, the solution is in their hands, stop acting like arseholes.
    I am no fan of stupid americans, but in this case, i think the big finger is what is required.
    If china does start a war, it wont be by some small accident and my bet is they wont have the last laugh being thrown back to the mao era.

  5. A Commentator

    The CCP has proven to be a bully, and as is typical of bullies, anything other than cloying brown nosing is regarded as an insult.
    The CCP overreacted to some clumsy comments from Australian politicians, and promised all sorts of retribution.
    Apparently we were about to become a “cold and lonely place”
    Nothing much happened.
    It’s time that western democracies stopped sucking up to every autocratic regime around.

  6. Fred

    Xi is no fool yet exhibits the “born to rule” mindset, which has a “how far can I go” element. Unfortunately the world has responded to bullying and thrown gauntlets with a mixed bag.

    Annexing Crimea, to which the world gave Putin a slap on the wrist, emboldened him to think that changing the leadership in the Ukraine to a pro-Russian puppet government by simply rolling up with overwhelming force one day was going to get the same response. Clearly this was a miscalculation, but in the face of intense resistance he still continues believe Russian control of the Ukraine is a good thing. Part of the BTR paradigm is the complete lack of empathy and he cannot understand the Ukrainians don’t want his rule. He is still buoyed by the fact the world hasn’t intervened militarily although annoyingly is providing long range precision weapons. I don’t see the point of razing an entire country just to take ownership then have to rebuild it, but greater minds…

    One only needs to look at Hong Kong and how the Uighurs are treated to see what is intended for Taiwan. It is understandable that it would engender a “fight to the death” in a portion of the population. All of the death and destruction as a result of “taking control” serves what purpose other than stroking the ego of a despotic dictator. AC is correct, we should not kowtow to these anomalies. Xi might be smart enough to let posturing and threats be the actual end game because China relies on the world for raw materials and to buy the stuff they make. A war would change the trade dynamic for the worse.

  7. Terence Mills

    It’s not unusual for a politician to go on an overseas trip prior to retirement. Pelosi at 82 is probably planning for her retirement but just chose a controversial stopover in Taiwan.

    She also called in to Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea and Japan – not clear why she didn’t call into Australia.

    This could be her swan song before she departs the world stage.

    I wonder if she will go to Ukraine, that would probably give them a boost at this time.

  8. Phil Pryor

    The USA has proven to be a bully, among many bullies, and expects brown nosing from underlings who may be expended as skirmishers, e g, Australia. Clumsy comments from Australian conservative politicians in office recently have irritated the Chinese, who dislike fleas, as we do. Nothing much happened, as we are useless and the Chinese are diplomatic but testy. It’s time that western nations acted diplomatically, encouraged discussion, sought peace, ended supremacist posturing, stopped runaway arms production, sales and distribution. We deserve peace as the reward for our considered comments.

  9. Michael Taylor

    China has a poor record since WW2, as shown by its actions in Tibet, the murdering of its own people (the Falun Gong), firing the odd missile or two at Formosa (now Taiwan) in the 1960s – just to let them know who’s boss – and now the rattling of its sabres at said country, and threats to anyone who stands in their way. They aren’t just a barking dog, but one who also bites.

    There are two courses of action that the world can take: ignore them, or stand up to them.

    Me? I’d go with diplomacy. It’s not so much Nancy’s visit that bothers me, but her talk of publicly stating her country’s support of Taiwan. Whilst is good to show that support, I think her timing is well out.

  10. Douglas Pritchard

    When you realise that everyone in the Pub shares the view that “a good man with a gun beats a bad man with a gun”.
    And does God talk.
    Then its time to find another Pub.

  11. leefe

    Thanks for the title edit. I couldn’t believe that a term like that would get through in this day and age.

    I’m torn. War between China and the US would be a nightmare for the entire planet, but I have to agree with AC and Phil about them being bullies and the only thing to do with bullies is to stand up to them.
    Low key visit is one thing, but Pelosi does appear to be deliberately fanning the flames.

  12. Douglas Pritchard

    Last week I caught sight of a Zombie. A 5 star general on ABC will so many gongs on his chest that It was tricky to see the colour of the uniform.
    Our Pub,our shout.
    Then proceeded to let us know that his mission was to carry out the commands of his President to the letter. Thats how you get to wear 5 stars BTW,
    He was then asked “regardless of the sanity?” I think the interviewer had Trump in mind.
    “Oh yes”, he replied, “and we expect all Australians to stand shoulder to shoulder with us”
    Now maybe you dont see this as bullying, maybe its just a wee bit of intimidation, but the message is LOUD and CLEAR..
    By default we become the target, like Taiwan, and like Ukraine.
    Maybe you have never lived near a US forces base. I have. Its not nice.
    You have this on the agenda as long as we continue to sleepwalk on this relationship

  13. ajogrady

    China is a sovereign country whose people fought and died for the type of governance that they chose to have. It is time the West respected other countries sovereignty and their peoples choices. The USA and Australia are making a mockery of Democracy. Democracy is being gamed by big media. The Murdoch media/business empire is the most complicit. Murdochs biiased media manipulates and influences the voting public who vote against their own best interests and shows how far media has strayed from holding those in power to account to putting those they want into power. This is what “Democracy” has come too. It is not only insulting to a proud independently sovereign nation but just plain hypocritical and problematic to expect China to act like a quasi Democracy when it sees the obvious failings.

  14. Canguro

    Not to initiate a diatribe against the pros & cons of language usage but per the word biddy:

    An older woman who is seen as annoying or interfering
    Adult female chicken
    Young bird especially of domestic fowl [WordNet database, Princeton University 2021]

    biddy – noun (plural biddies) informal a woman, especially an old one.
    ORIGIN: C17 (originally denoting a chicken): of unknown origin. [Concise OED]

    slang – woman (esp. old biddy), a form of the name Bridget [the Pocket Oxford Dictionary]

    (informal) gal, dame, hen, biddy, skirt, jane, broad, doll, babe, chick, wench, bird (and more) [Roget’s Thesaurus]

    My take on Binoy’s use of the word is that he chose it accurately, in the context of annoying or interfering, in the full knowledge that Nancy Pelosi’s actions were exactly that and designed to both annoy the Chinese and interfere in their domestic politics.

    Others may disagree.

  15. Canguro

    Further to that, and apologies for not picking it up in the above post: with reference to the two Twitter posts embedded in Binoy Kampmark’s essay; weasel words and disingenuity on full display in both. This is typical of American politicians… they speak the language of partnership, and of respecting democracy… when it suits their agenda.

    When it doesn’t, these words are replaced with the unsheathed swordsmanship of threat, malice, ill-intent.

    Examples? Chile was a democracy in 1973, when the CIA instigated a coup against Allende and ushered in years of dictatorship and murderous brutality under Pinochet’s jackboots – supported by this so-called champion of democracy, the USA.

    The list of American-instigated regime changes for their own benefits, political or commercial, is extensive.

    Pelosi’s choice of words in her tweets are, unfortunately, typical American political doublespeak. Taiwan is no more an ‘important partner’ than Sri Lanka or Madagascar; more to the point is Taiwan’s readiness to participate in America’s avaricious arm’s market, and its utility as a chess-piece in America’s aggressive counterpoint game against China.

  16. Michael Taylor

    Canguro, I was 50/50 on the use of the word “biddy.” Whilst I believe that Binoy didn’t deliberately use it in a sexist manner, I do appreciate that people in Australia could nonetheless be offended and I was more than happy to promptly change it.

    It is interesting how certain words have different meanings in English speaking countries.

    Take, for example, the Rodgers and Hammerstein song “Don’t marry me” which had a line “splinters in their little fannies.” No way, absolutely no way, would that be acceptable in Australia.

    And another: “You silly ol’ sausage” is almost a term of endearment in England and is often used in good humour in Australia. But don’t dare say it to an American. I once did, and what resulted was the greatest threat to world peace since the Cuban Missile Crisis.

  17. Michael Taylor

    The more I think about this article, the more I have a change of mind. My latest take is… if China wants to behave like a thug, then they should be treated like one.

    I’ll probably come back tomorrow with something different.

  18. leefe

    Canguro:

    “An older woman who is seen as interfering or annoying”

    Perceptions are not objective. “Seen as” interfering or annoying … by whom? It’s amazing how many blokes consider a woman to be interfering or annoying when they would admire the exact same behaviour from a bloke. It’s the same with so many other words; women are aggressive, blokes are assertive; women are stubborn or pig-headed, blokes are determined.

    “Silly biddy” is a neat play on the old “Silly Billy” phrase, but in this context it is grating. And denigrating, even if that wasn’t intended.

    Michael:

    It’s a complex situatiion and there is no simple black-and-white answer for it.

  19. Canguro

    Useful comments, Michael, thank you… the references to the Rodgers and Hammerstein song and your experience in the States were laugh-out-loud moments.

    Per China and thuggery, it’s a knotty problem and not straightforward.

    You’d be aware of the Concessions in China period, roughly speaking, from the mid-nineteenth century until the early twentieth. As well as that, the Opium Wars, a function of the British East India Company’s determination to flood China with the product and the according enormously detrimental consequences to Chinese society; Japanese colonisation through the early part of the twentieth century, the destruction of the Imperial Gardens in Beijing by French and British troops as revenge against the Qing government, and more.

    The Chinese memory of these atrocities is deep and vivid. As is their determination that never again will they be humiliated or occupied by foreign nations. The term thug equally applies to those nations who ran wild within Chinese territory, whether the Japanese and their occupation, which included the utterly sickening so-called Rape of Nanjing; the British and French and their wanton destruction of an extraordinarily beautiful and aesthetically exquisite garden area, Yuanmingyuan, the Old Summer Palace, 860 acres, destroyed by thousands of British and French troops and still today left in a state of ruin as a legacy of the barbarity of the western forces and by extension, civilizations. I’ve seen those ruins, and it’s heartbreaking to contemplate what occurred there in October 1860.

    Chinese memory is deep. I don’t disagree that Xi Jinping is playing a hard game. Nor do I disagree with the proposition that the CCP’s grip on Chinese society can be seen to be a ruthless process, where freedoms of speech and other behaviours have been sacrificed on the altar of commercial prosperity and societal control. But it mustn’t be that the twentieth century was essentially one of tumult and struggle; the breakdown of the feudal empire & dynastic history, the period of warlords and their fights for territorial control, the existential struggle for overall control between the Communists, led by Mao Zedong, and the civil war conducted against the Kuomintang, led by Chiang Kai-shek, who, facing eventual defeat in the late 1940s, looted the Chinese treasury and fled with his supporters to what was then known as Formosa, and today, Taiwan.

    The Chinese, by and large, despite their willingness to do business with the west, harbour enormous suspicions of ‘western devils’, and one might rightly say, with good reason, given the history of duplicity and betrayal. The CCP, by the way, is not universally endorsed within mainland China; many people, many millions quite likely, hate the CCP with a passion.

  20. Michael Taylor

    leefe, apologies for your comment being held in moderation.

    Whenever a person submits their first ever comment on this site the comment is held in moderation while one of the admins checks to see if the commenter is a spammer or a re-badged troll etc.

    Because there was a typo in your name the system thought you were a new commenter. It took me 1/1,000,000th of a second to decide that you’re one of the good guys. 😁

    If it happens again, you’ll know why.

  21. Michael Taylor

    Canguro, I’m glad to have provided you with a laugh.

    Re the topical issue, I must confess that I lack trust in the government of any of the world’s major players, namely China, Russia, and the USA.

    I’m more than happy though, that the latter is our ally.

  22. Douglas Pritchard

    Thanks Canguro for that reminder about US and its adventures into SE Asia which is difficult to track down, and largly suppressed in USA.
    A boat load of Senators created mayhem taking hostages ( an introduction to slavery) and generally throwing their weight arround selling religion and guns from memory. Wish I had not returned the book to its original owner now.
    The aversion to Americans is deeply rooted in not only China, but the Philipines certainly.
    It was the old story about US politicians and some of their followers who had secured lots of cash by fair means or foul, and then seeking to do the same in new territory.
    The west may prefer to forget, but that history is writ large over there.

  23. Michael Taylor

    Douglas, watching a documentary on WW2 I was astounded to hear that it wasn’t until the early 1970s that Americans were told of the magnitude and toll of the atom bombs dropped on Japan.

    I cannot verify it.

  24. A Commentator

    The CCP has to get the message that there is no easy way for them to achieve their ambitions regarding Taiwan.
    The west was negligent in its diplomacy with Russia’s earlier intervention in Ukraine. The weakness emboldened Putin, the same can’t be allowed to happen with Taiwan

  25. Douglas Pritchard

    AC,
    Its 2022, the world is different.
    I dont think we are going to see a reenactment of the Normandy landings and hand to hand combat.
    The Asian brain does not immediately reach for a gun, and I am sure they will pull Taiwan back into the fold by probably trading/internet/propaganda. They dont think in a 4 year time frame between PMs, the way we do.
    Softly, softly, catchee monkey……but they will not be adverse to a spot of intimidation to help things along.
    My grandson bought me a book “@War” which outlined a whole spectrum of options to achieve the aim.
    Michaels comment about the fact that we are told only those things that suit the agenda, clearly indicates that there is more than simply the savages approach to conflict. True for US and Aus as well.

  26. calculus witherspoon.

    Canguro has the happy knack of spotting the essentials; several centuries of murderous conquest and explotation across the world over the last few centuries, coupled with conspicuous waste that seems to have reached an unpredented high with $half billion dollar battleships designated as “yachts” as just the most obvious example, while half the world goes hungry.
    The oligarchy, including the russian element, have never been so insane or dislocated from reality as in our era.

    They, of course, should just forget the disasters the West inflicted on them for over a century, involving vicious stuff like the Opium Wars and Tai Ping disaster. Likewise, Russia has lost tens of millions of people fighting and winning the West’s WW wins. But both nations were so undermioned by the West in trying to recover that they were further saddled with the Mao and Stalin eras because of Western pressure coming from the oligarchy, instead of legitimate and contructive mutually beneficial engagement.

    Nancy probably means well, but this is not the 1950’s, with lots of corn and “Jet Jackson, the Flying Commando” on McCarthyite telly…it seems we are now the ones in a bubble, not the old imperial powers.

  27. Michael Taylor

    For anyone interested, this lengthy series by Dr Strobe Driver is a must read.

    Dr Strobe has a PhD in war history and is currently lecturing at the Taiwan university (or whatever it is called. Strobe believes that war between China and Taiwan is inevitable.

    China and Taiwan: an insolvable friction

  28. calculus witherspoon.

    I agree that things are “hairy” at the mo and that the example of Sarajevo in 1914 fits like a glove.

    At my age I should be pleased that people like Pelosi are in charge, but the last time a Big Power, Soviet Russia, tried rule by gerontocracy, the downfall was swift after the death of Andropov and It baffles me likewise how completely the US has fallen away since Obama, who at least had enough wits to wriggle out of strife most of the time.

    Anyway, most of these nations have been unobtrusively taken over by International neoliberalism and much what’s important is no longer decided just by politicians- think Wall St, City of London and other formations (at a guess). And Big Game politics at this stage, like the example of a century ago, could take on a life of its own, the protagonists may reach a stage where the wars cant be just proxy because one side or another is falling so far behind it will lash out, a bit like Russia over Ukraine.
    there IS an axis of sorts involving China, Russia and Saudi, not that we need point a finger, given history.

  29. andy56

    My feeling is we got to play china taiwan on its own merits. You can look at it historically, the ” communists ” won on the main land and the “freedom fighters” retreated to an island. Far enough away that the two sides could face each other but not throw punches. So there has been a bit of “shadow boxing ” going on between them. Whilst they were both poor, a mutual neutrality existed. When Taiwan took off, china must have been looking on with envy, the seeds of the current discord? As china has grown economically, a sense of Hubris has also over taken them. The same disease we seen in American politics AND Russia today. What China must learn is that belligerent anti social behaviour only leads to one out come. As Americans learned in Afganistan, Iraq and Vietnam before, as Russia is learning now, super powers are the source of their own downfall. Believing their own sense of superiority is no defence to shit ideas. There is an old saying, treat others carefully on the way up cause you will need them on the way down. International politics/military is no different. Americans have acted like arseholes, Russians are now acting like arseholes and its no surprise China now wants to act like an arsehole. The pity is America have blown away all their moral capital so now we question everything they do through that prism. They have done a lot wrong, but i think in this case Pelosi is right. China does have a glass jaw at times. Historically they had an empire, but so did the greeks, the romans, the persians, the russians, the turks, the Mayas. I am sure plenty more too. The common denominator, they all perished. Live by the sword, die by the sword. I wish Chinese leaders would heed the call of history and become less arsehole like in their behaviour. Respect is earned not enforced.

  30. Harry Lime

    Pre book launch/farewell tour promotion,and if it starts another pissing competition between nuclear armed bullies…think of the sales..if not the book, certainly the latest megadeath weaponry.You can almost hear the rustling of erections amongst the hawks.And the ringing of cash registers at the arms manufacturers

  31. margcal

    Michael Taylor August 4, 2022 at 6:24 pm

    I’m more than happy though, that the latter [USA] is our ally.

    Seriously???
    At war almost constantly for most of its history.
    Instigated “regime change” in how many countries? A poor global neighbour.
    “Pre-emptive strikes” on false information (or should that be they just wanted to do it and didn’t care about the niceties of seriously checking?)
    700-800 military bases and facilities around the globe, including Australia.
    Absolutely a bully of major proportions.

    The US claims, with no reason the disbelieve them, that their primary objective is to look after US interests. If that criterion isn’t met, no matter what alliances are or are not in place, you’re on your own. (They were quite happy to take up the slack when China stopped buying from Australia … friendship with us? When there’s money to be made – I don’t think so.)
    Interferes in Australian politics and military.

    China on the other hand …. not a good local neighbour.
    Is a bully globally.
    Persecutes its own citizens.
    Otherwise? Far fewer black marks against it than the US.

    In making judgements about China and the US, let’s not forget the US treatment of its own – of colour and low pay – Australia’s own very poor record on Aboriginal rights and entitlements and caring for just about everyone who doesn’t have a well above average pay packet.

  32. A Commentator

    Most definitely, the CCP is not a good neighbour. It has territorial disputes with 17 neighbours. As I’ve previously said- I’d prefer not to have superpowers, but if we have them, I’m glad one is a western democracy. What a brutal and miserable world it would be if it was left to Putin and the CCP to carve up their spheres of influence

  33. Michael Taylor

    Margcal, I am aware of all that but I did also say that I don’t particularly trust them (along with the governments/dictatorships of China and Russia).

    The USA has a woeful history in regards to foreign affairs and it is well known that they meddle in the affairs of numerous countries, to the point of being a bully. And yes, their appalling treatment of Native or African Americans runs parallel to our treatment of Aborigines.

    But… if our country was ever threatened by another global power I am confident they’ll be there for us in our time of need.

    The month after Trump took power Carol and I were in America. Upon hearing our accent an elderly, well-dressed businessman waltzed up to us to “Apologise to us for the insult our President gave to your Prime Minister. Your country is one of our best friends and allies and you should have been shown respect.”

    Our PM at the time was Turnbull. The insult was over a phone call with Trump. I didn’t tell the nice gentleman that it’s OK to insult Turnbull as we do it ourselves. 😁

  34. Michael Taylor

    PS: When I say “But… if our country was ever threatened by another global power I am confident they’ll be there for us in our time of need,” I hope that the need never arises, that it’s never put to the test.

  35. Michael Taylor

    Arguing with a Trump supporter on Twitter a couple of years ago, my adversary said he was sick of Australia being another of those NATO countries that offer nothing yet rely on America to do all the heavy lifting.

    He was not a bright fellow (common among Trump supporters).

    I suggested he look up what the “NA” in NATO stood for then to look at a map to see where Australia is. 😂

  36. Michael Taylor

    To lighten the mood a bit, in one of my university text books there was a quote from about 50 years ago by an elderly Native American saying he’d rather face a charging cavalry than an anthropologist.

  37. B Sullivan

    “But… if our country was ever threatened by another global power I am confident they’ll be there for us in our time of need,”

    Perhaps the Afghanistani people thought something like that before the US betrayed them to the Taliban. And Saddam Hussein when he was fighting Iran with the blessing of the US. Or even Stalin when the Soviet Union at massive cost defeated the Nazis before the US refused to let it become a member of the NATO alliance. I suspect Oligarch Zelensky is currently struggling to maintain the same confidence, but unfortunately confidence is by definition obliged to be ignorant of the truth.

    China is not threatening Australia. So why is Australia so willing to join the US in provoking China? The US has successfully provoked a war with Russia in Ukraine and it wishes to do exactly the same in Taiwan, no matter how much pain and destruction may ensue.

    The Ukraine conflict has indicated to China that the US and its NATO allies will not risk a nuclear exchange by actually fighting themselves. They will however provide the Taiwanese with weapons and escalate the provocation until China responds like Russia to an intolerable threat to their national security. The US regarded missiles in Cuba not as a deterrent to US invasion, but as an intolerable threat to US national security and were willing to start a nuclear war to settle the issue. The US is still punishing Cuba for defending itself more than half a century later.

    The US poked the bear and now it wants to poke the panda until it gets the reaction it wants – a Chinese invasion of Taiwan.

    The US is determined to do this so that as with Russia, they can portray China as a terrible rogue nation trampling over freedom and democracy. As with the conflict they have engineered between Ukraine and Russia the US will oppose all attempts to end the violence by diplomacy and instead escalate it at every opportunity. They will continue to portray China as a bully and a thug that cannot be allowed to prevail. The Taiwanese people will suffer unbearably, but the US will allow no peaceful settlement. The fate of the Taiwanese is of no concern to the US as long as they suffer enough to attract the world’s sympathy. The objective is to isolate and exhaust China so that its economy is utterly ruined. Carthage must be destroyed. Russia must be destroyed. China must be destroyed.

    China wishes to reunify peacefully with Taiwan. The US is doing everything it can to prevent that. Australia, to its cowardly shame, is as ever prepared to follow the world’s top bully, willfully blind to the injustice and pathetically lapping up the anti-China propaganda with jingoistic gusto.

    Blessed are the warmongers, for they shall profit at everyone else’s loss.

    And just bear in mind that Australia possesses an awful lot of uranium capable of being turned into weapons. It is not inconceivable that an unrestrained US may one day decide it needs to poke the Koala in order to control that uranium. It wouldn’t be that hard to demonise Australia in the eyes of the rest of the world. Who would come to Australia’s aid against that global power?

  38. paul walter

    Michael Taylor, this person would obviously be talking about Social Anthropologists.

  39. paul walter

    But this conversation involving Margcal and Michael Taylor, in a way, goes to the heart of this entire issue, since it unpacks Eurocentic (or Sinocentric) attitudes as something “we” are not fully conscious of.

    We are very, very lucky the Americans like our faces (relatively speaking) for cultural and strategic reasons because I think places like Palestine, Yemen and Afghanistan, or even places like Nuigini reveal “our” attitudes as suspiciously parallel to what we would accuse others of; “othering”, something many westerners are not aware of. The Chinese may not hold “civilisation” as WE know it in very high esteem, after two centuries of brutal colonialist brigandage.

  40. Douglas Pritchard

    “We are very, very lucky the Americans like our faces”
    Good grief, Paul, its less to do with how we look, but more about how we contribute to their wealth.
    We cringe before their relentless intimidation worldwide, and frequently reminded about how we could easily be the next target.
    Try making a list of the things we have in common with them. A rational list. Now write it on the back of a postage stamp.

  41. A Commentator

    The things we have in common with the USA?
    Language, similar systems of democracy, economy, standard of living, levels of education, literature, music, entertainment,
    There is plenty we have in common that isn’t particularly beneficial too.
    And as I’ve said previously, I’m glad one of the superpowers is a western democracy, because it would be a brutal and miserable world if it was left to Putin and the CCP to divide their spheres of influence

  42. Michael Taylor

    AC, you’ve summed it up nicely.

  43. Michael Taylor

    PS: Speaking of dividing the spoils, were you aware that prior to the bombing of Darwin the Japanese had already printed the currency for the Japanese occupation of Australia?

  44. leefe

    B. Sullivan:

    “China wishes to reunify peacefully with Taiwan.”

    There’s just that little matter of Taiwan not wanting to reunify with China …

  45. Douglas Pritchard

    Like first marriages, you are entitled to one silly mistake. They are the only ones to drop a nuclear bomb, look at tbe result, and say “hey, thats a good idea….lets do that again”. Agent orange, depleted uranium, lotsa mines….they wont forget we were once here. Illegal invasions, wars started with almost no justification. They drive on the wrong side. They have not progressed into the decimal age still recording dimensions, volumes, temperatures in outdated terms.(My sister in Washington state tells me the temp in Fahrenheit…they all do). Light switches are reversed. Up is on. I once put 700v through my fingers fixing a US transmitter, and forgetting for a second that these guys are from ages gone by. Our kids dont need to carry a glock in their school bag. In fact guns are rare here, but you not not fully dressed over there unless you are carrying. Then we have GOD, heaven preserve us. If you think our political system and their health system is like ours, you didnt notice Jan 6th. They have to right to take out whoever they fancy, and stick them in belmarsh for truth telling or Abu Grabe for a bit of torture. Did you know they ignored Afghans territorial rights to take out the 9/11 mastermind. That guy was so smart that he trained a few crap pilots to bring down 3 significant steel frame buildings on their own footprint at terminal velocity simply using 2 aircraft. Cant allow his inteligence to be spread. You dont want me to go on, surely

  46. Canguro

    Douglas, notwithstanding your ironic reference to the 9/11 rubicon, let’s be frank. I wish I could honestly say that my amazement is undiminished with respect to the continual regurgitation of the conventional trope that the toppling of the towers on Sept. 11, 2001 was the work of the evil genius cum cave-dweller cum aberrant heir to a Saudi oil fortune, one Osama bin Laden.

    But it’s not. Instead, now replaced with a weary acceptance of the clot-brained stupidity or otherwise outright denial of those who refuse to face the mountain of evidence that point, objectively, to that day’s cumulative series of disasters as being nothing other than a devilishly-contrived inside job.

    Video evidence of lateral ejection of material as the towers collapsed as a function of thermite explosives attached to the structural supports level by level. Chemical evidence of thermite residues.Physical evidence of ‘rivers of molten metal’ flowing for days at the base of the demolished towers. Supportive evidence of the infiltration of Israeli personnel, many of them ex-military, acting in the guise of contractors and specialists with reason & excuse to be in these buildings in the months leading up to the event.

    Leaseholder Larry Silverstein’s faux pas uttered when trying to rationalise the demolition of the third building, Tower 7, not ‘hit by a plane’ but ‘pulled’. The commercial headache faced by Silverstein due to the buildings being riddled with asbestos. The presence of the dancing Jews celebrating the disaster. The slip of the tongue when David Rockefeller let it be know months prior that there was going to be a big event’ that would change the world. The highly improbable but actual standing-down of the air defence system on the day of the attack, due to the planting of the seeds of confusion with regard to ‘training exercises’.

    The laughingly improbable crash-site of the commercial jet, UA Flight 93 in Shanksville, Pennsylvania; no debris, no bodies, nothing, except for a bunch of investigators burbling nonsense while flibbing their lips with their index fingers.

    The haste of the removal of the footprint debris, illegally, given it was a major crime site. The almost insanely pathetic coverup of the 9/11 Commission which put to print falsehoods and statements that ran counter to accepted science.

    It goes on…

    The whole affair ranks as one of the world’s most egregious major criminal exercises, aided and abetted by people within the government of the USA, and principally planned and carried out by Israeli operatives in order to galvanise the Americans into entering into a hot war in the Middle east.. and we know now how well that turned out, don’t we?

    To say that this was an exercise in uber-obscenity is an understatement in extremis. America’s soul, forever blackened by its willing participation in the murder of 3,000+ innocents for what? What has been gained? Cui bono?

  47. Douglas Pritchard

    We both did Physics.
    As Macron said, “We dont think…….we know”.
    But there is the farting against thunder thing.
    Canguro, we should drink together more often.
    “Death of a Nation” by George Grundy got me started.

  48. paul walter

    Following certain reprimands the writer humbly petitions for pardon and promises never again to even think, “cognitive disidence”.
    I keep to my point that not everyone else loves “us” the way we love “us”.

  49. Barry

    This all sound so familiar,we all know the results of a visit from certain US senators to Ukraine,not only resulting in a Coup d’état and the over throw of a democratically voted government,but also later leading to the current war in Ukraine today,exactly the same play book US is using with Taiwan they just love war

  50. Ken

    Canguro, “what has been gained” by covering up the real perpetrators of a highly organized crime ie, ‘911’? How about it made it easier for the bad actors within the State to create a more militarized atmosphere and to remove basic human rights. Jack-booted totalitarians everywhere must be proud of how things are working out.
    China are going old-school, why invade a country when bribing works? Then there is the good technique of ‘laying siege’. China bought 60% of the world’s food supply last year. Russia didn’t need to buy up resources, it just manipulated exports. How much influence does China have over Aust power distribution and what control of our farms and food supply does it have?
    Aus sold out, our govt agencies are registered as corporate entities in Washington DC, there is no easy back back I can see.
    The US owns us. Now, if China and Russia can work out how to bankrupt the US we can have new owners.

  51. Terence Mills

    It now appears that Pelosi didn’t actually have an invitation from the Taiwanese government for the visit

    However, she has now launched her campaign for reelection to her San Francisco-based congressional seat. She has a very solid ethnic Chinese community within the SF area who will generally applaud her trip to Taiwan as advancing democracy : it’s all politics at the end of the day.

    It’s interesting to note that, in the U.S.- PRC Joint Communique Shanghai Communique of 1972

    ‘The Chinese reaffirmed its position: The Taiwan question is the crucial question obstructing the normalization of relations between China and the United States; the Government of the People’s Republic of China is the sole legal government of China; Taiwan is a province of China which has long been returned to the motherland; the liberation of Taiwan is China’s internal affair in which no other country has the right to interfere; and all U.S. forces and military installations must be withdrawn from Taiwan. The Chinese Government firmly opposes any activities which aim at the creation of “one China, one Taiwan,” “one China, two governments,” “two Chinas,” and “independent Taiwan” or advocate that “the status of Taiwan remains to be determined.”

    ‘The U.S. side declared: The United States acknowledged that all Chinese on either side of the Taiwan Strait maintain there is but one China and that Taiwan is a part of China. The United States Government does not challenge that position. It reaffirms its interest in a peaceful settlement of the Taiwan question by the Chinese themselves. With this prospect in mind, it affirms the ultimate objective of the withdrawal of all U.S. forces and military installations from Taiwan. In the meantime, it will progressively reduce its forces and military installations on Taiwan as the tension in the area diminishes.’

    So what’s changed ?

  52. Canguro

    Terence asks, so what’s changed?

    Fifty years is the blink of an eye, as far as the passage of history and time go. The American state has affirmed, time and again, that its words and deeds fail to synchronise. Treaties, pacts, agreements, affirmations etc., all entered into with due seriousness at the time of the signing or affirming, are changed, will be changed, can be changed, according to several factors; a change in the direction of the wind, a new chef in the kitchen, a severe case of constipation from gorging on McDonalds crap-burgers, or other incidents… a negative piece of press reporting, a new hawk behind the wheel, an ambitious senator with a racist bent… the reasons are essentially endless but the game is the same; the United States of America has demonstrated time and again its willingness to change the ‘rules’, the agreements, the treaties, the pacts, for its own partisan political advantage.

    Examples? Treaties with the Native North Americans… torn up and tossed in the bin. Nuclear non-proliferation treaties such as the INF and ABM agreements – broken by the USA.

    And, of course, the current itch, Taiwan… where a mere fifty years ago the USA solemnly affirmed its intention to not interfere in what they agreed was a domestic issue between China & Taiwan.

    There’s an old cartoon kicking around that shows a Native American castigating a white man dressed as a cowboy. The angry Indian points at the cowboy and says, “White man speaks with a forked tongue’. The cowboy hunches off, suitably reprimanded, then turns and pokes his tongue out at the Indian. It’s forked, like a snake’s. Perfect analogy for what we’re seeing…

    Why America continues to believe it’s a trustworthy nation is beyond my comprehension. Their track record in malfeasance is appalling. Gulf of Tonkin – false flag to justify entry into the Vietnam conflict. Weapons of mass destruction – ditto for Iraq. If history repeats itself, and it does, they’ll be cooking something up to justify conflict with China at some point, I’m sure.

  53. Douglas Pritchard

    I do trust Americans, and they never let me down.
    Pelosi brought with her several buckets of petrol, and a heavy duty lighter, so we are all buying firefighting gear now.
    Once organized a shipment to a customer here with clear instructions to only attache a packing slip. They decided to also send the invoice as well……so our profit margin was discovered, and we did no further business with them.
    Then invited a company rep to attend a meet with senior mining folk, and so this guy wearing cowboy boots, no suit, fronts up believing ( it was very evident) that he was to deal with country hicks. Another disaster.
    They will act entirely in their own interests, and behave as barbarians always.
    Some countries choose comedians. As sheep we really are crap at choosing shepherds.

  54. Michael Taylor

    I trust Americans too, Douglas, more so than their governments.

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