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Bush, China, containment? « Previous | |Next »
November 22, 2005

I've mentioned the possibility of Australia being squeezed between a resurgent China and a stretched USA before, as a hawkish USA moves increasingly towards a policy of containment of China. The Bush administration regarded China as a strategic competitor before 9/11, and they were consistently confrontational and bellicose in their approach to China. Bush's recent speeches about political reform, opening the doors to freedom, and a free society in China did poke a finger in the Chinese eye, and they are designed to irritate. Bush does stand for pre-emptive strikes to achieve political ends as well as an endless flow of spin about freedom. Is anybody in the Asia Pacific Rim listening to the mantra of freedom as an antidote to terrorism?

Yeah I know 'containment' is the wrong word. It's a Cold War word implying adversarry and the Cold War is over. The US won. But the US is not seeking friendship with China, or working with it as a partner. The neo-conservative Republicans do see China as a regional power bent on regional domination. That's how they code any challenge to US imperial interests in the region. The assumption is that strategic confrontation is inevitable and that the United States had best prepare for it. So lets talk in terms of neo-containment. or constructive containmment.

Henry Kissinger is far more nuanced--he says the ' relationship between the United States and China is beset by ambiguity.' China poses no obvious military threat to the United States at this time. True, but the US is attempting to constrain what it sees as the Chinese trading juggernaut.

Even if Washington is in conflict about what to do about China, the Bush poking/containment policy is not necessarily in Australia's national interests. Australia desires a trading partnership and cooperative relationship. Maybe we should begin to rethink the Deputy Sheriff role? After all, as Kissinger points out, ' the center of gravity of world affairs is shifting from the Atlantic, where it was lodged for the past three centuries, to the Pacific.' As China rises America slips. Australia should seek to be too closely aligned with US interest; or failing that work with China as a "strategic partner". Don't our trading interests lie with Asia? Isn't Asia increasingly becoming an autonomous trading and capital hub.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 6:12 PM | | Comments (0)