Understanding the rules of the China debateSep 19, 2023
China wants to expand its sphere of influence; the West, thankfully, is devoid of such base instincts.
We can ignore the US’ vastly greater military budget, its 800 overseas military bases compared to China’s one, its mammoth track record of overseas interventions, and its military encirclement of China with Australia’s aid; China is the obvious aggressor.
Our military spending increases are solely for defensive purposes; China’s, for unbridled aggression if left unchecked.
We have the right to increase our defence spending as we see fit; China, however, should always exercise military spending restraint.
Our warships have a duty to participate in freedom of navigation exercises in the South China Sea; China doing the same thing in the Caribbean or the Coral Sea, however, would be an outrageous provocation.
South Pacific nations are naturally free to enter into loans and security deals with us; but they should not fall for such deals with a China up to no good.
We use our economic strength responsibly; China, however, uses its strength to gain leverage over weak nations for its own nefarious ends.
We have a right, a duty even, to criticise human rights abuses in China; China, however, has no such right to criticise ours.
We should focus on human rights violations in China; not in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Columbia or elsewhere where there are strong US interests.
We will never compromise our sacrosanct values to engage with China; China, being Communist, however, could obviously jettison its values.
We would want a break-away Tasmania to one day return to the Australian fold; but won’t countenance China wanting the same for Taiwan.
We want friendly neighbours near our borders: China, however, must accept a US-armed Taiwan near its border.
China must accept American missiles in Taiwan; the US, however, will not accept Chinese missiles in Cuba, just as it didn’t accept Soviet missiles in Cuba in 1962. That would be an unacceptable provocation.
We abide by the rules-based international order; China, however, being Communist, seeks to subvert that order.
We will quell street demonstrations however we want; but China must always accede to its demonstrators’ demands, especially in Hong Kong.
We invade other countries such as Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan as we see fit; China, on the other hand, must do as we say, and never invade another country.
The greater number of barriers we impose on Chinese exports to us are always legitimate; China’s fewer barriers on our exports to them are always illegitimate.
We have the right to determine our own political and economic future—so long as the US agrees; China has the same right.