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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

yawn television « Previous | |Next »
October 23, 2003

The Chinese President Hu Jintao arrived in Australia yesterday. Press1.jpg All we had were the brief television shots last night: Prime Minister John Howard and wife Janette greeting the arrivals President Hu being introduced to the waiting line of officials by the Governor-General Michael Jeffery and a waterfront lunch hosted by the Governor-General.

Today President Hu is engaged in a series of private business meetings in Sydney. The business leaders are expected to push for opportunities to take advantage of the growing Chinese economy. What would that be? Helping to build the Olympic infrastructure?

It's yawn television.

From these brief shots Hu Jintao appeared to be a competent but colorless technocrat; presumably anti-democratic given his record in Tibet. A suitable leader for a CCP concerned with stability in government, the market and society. The Chinese it would seem are more interested in making money than making revolutions.

So what is happening behind the pleasant television scenes? Are the Chinese on their way to replace the United States as the main power in Asia? Or is that perspective too simplified since the reality is that the United States and China together are dominating the region. Whatever, the Pacific is no longer an American lake. Those days have well gone.

We know that US politicians are now blaming China more and more for job losses in manufacturing and they are demanding the imperial presidency in Washington bring about a yuan currency devaluation (ie., eliminate exchange controls and float the yuan). APEC has taken China's side on the issue, saying that Asian countries probably aren't ready for severe currency revaluations.

We also know that more and more Australian manufacturing is moving to China. And that means job losses. But we--Quarry Australia---get to sell more gas and iron ore to fuel Chinese economic growth. Great. That means no knowledge-based manufacturing industry in the futurein Australia. China is one of the few growth centres of the world economy and it is becoming the epicentre of East Asian regional economic integration.

Remember all that crowing in Washington about the superiority of the free market vision of the US vis-a-vis Asia's paternalistic crony capitalism after the East Asian financial crisis of the late 1990s?(Link courtesy of Adam at PRC News).

It was all about state-led industrialisation and government directed development being a failure and that the future lay with the Western (ie., US) form of free market capitalism. That East Asian financial crisis was used by the US to assert its dominance over East Asia--keep them subordinate, by weakening Japan's regional construction efforts. Australia, of course, dutifully parroted the Washington line.

Well, that strategy has backfired. China has been empowered, trade and investment flows between China and the rest of Asia have boomed, and China is creating regional free trade areas with South and North East Asia. None of this wll go down well with the Imperial presidency in Washington. They---especially the neo-cons who arduously work for maximizing U.S. power---do not take kindly to their hegemony being challenged, especially by Asians.


| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 9:30 AM | | Comments (4)
Comments

Comments

great posts lately gary. it's a shame you don't seem to get many comments..

do you think there is any chance the US will discourage other nations from forming an FTA with China?

Kez,
public opinion is too academic I guess.

Well that is one suggeston.

I think the problem is that Gary's posts leave little space or need for comment. All one can do is nod one's head as you read down the page..

kez,
from what I can gather, the US is furious with China over its role in the G21 group at the recent Cancum meeting of the WTO.
The US is willing to play hardball with the G21 members. Thailand, for instance, was required to leave the G21 group as a condition for the launch of bilateral trade negotiations with the US.

It would be difficult for the US to play that game with China.