It is time for Australia to accept the reality of the rise of China and a resurgence of Russia.
Chas Freeman’s lengthy article “The Sino-American Split and its Consequences” is of substantial interest. It is true that, if the United States does treat China like an enemy, then it will become one.
I consider that, notwithstanding Australia’s long tradition of supporting United States regional policies, Australia should certainly NOT follow the U S down its present dangerous path. Australia’s national interest now lies in avoiding any opposition to the present realities of a rising China and a resurgent Russia.
China now sees the South China Sea region as an area in which its dominant influence must be acknowledged globally. At the same time it should also be recognised that no ship carrying trade to Australia’s north, has been stopped or intercepted by China’s Navy.
The United States maintained that the area around Hawaii should be acknowledged as an area in which American influence would be dominant. Indeed, if the Chinese Navy encircled Hawaii, Washington would have made its criticism very clear.Australia should now endeavour to ensure that both China and Russia are well aware that Australia’s approach to the major changes now underway in China and Russia is completely different from that of the United States .
Richard Woolcott was formerly President of the UN Security Council and Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. He is currently a consultant to the Asia Society.