Straws in the Windby Max TeichmannNews Weekly
, June 16, 2001
b>Friends and neighbours
In the aftermath of the media Shriekfest, which followed quite predictably, upon a very skilful Budget, some parts of that Budget still remain relatively untainted by Left gobbledegook. It might be better to move out of earshot from "the language uninviting of the gutter journos fighting", and examine one area of public policy, and the Government's blueprint for future developments therein.
The defence vote has, so far, passed relatively unscathed. All-in-all, it is a modest exercise, appropriate for a country which doesn't expect to be involved in a major conflict, a country which sees few threats, few ugly happenings in its neighbourhood. At first sight, such a strategic picture seems unusually optimistic. How are other nations in our region faring?
In most cases badly - politically, economically, socially. Question is, are they a danger to us, to neighbours, or just to themselves? None of the smaller island groups to our North and North West, viz., PNG, Bougainville, Vanuatu, the Solomons or Fiji, have made it, despite all the talk about aid, democracy, encouragement - whether from us or from the UN.
The condition of these states range from deadlock, to incipient crisis, or to possible decomposition. The gamble of giving out democratic institutions and expecting maturing nationhood to follow seems to have failed. They are now the prey of overseas mafias, and freebooters from Australia, while the presence, in some parts, of UN personnel changes little, while building up local resentments about affluent, interfering outsiders. UN peacekeeping is most unlikely to produce or trigger any permanent structural advances.
And yet it is on peacekeeping that much of our military preparation is going to focus. NZ is telling a similar story about her future military organisation. The distinction between what we did in East Timor, and what we have done or are likely to do in the other islands, should be constantly recalled. We went into Timor to protect what we, among others, considered a new state in the making, from reinvasion and despoliation, by what had been an illegal occupier, viz., Indonesia.
There is little reason to believe that East Timor's future will be very different from other small states here and elsewhere. Their natural resources looted by foreigners, the process mediated by corrupt local politicians backed by the usual "army." The average local corrupted, but not notably enriched.
Those territories without resources being tempted to act as off shore tax havens, and money laundries, jumping off points for drugs, arms, and illegals ... if they are to generate any money, besides handouts. There is no military threat to us here, but rather a social one. of course, if we didn't contain a substantial sub-culture of corrupt Australians, including aspiring snakeheads, there would be no social threat either.
The Philippines seems a permanent basket case, but not a threat. Nor can we help it. Ironically, Tony Parkinson in a recent Age article (May 26) reminded us that at "the height of the Hanson hysteria", a Philippines paper asked, "Would the real Australian please stand?" Parkinson thinks we still have that problem. I don't remember The Age talking of the "Hanson hysteria" then - on the contrary. Would any of the real Filipinos be allowed to stand? In fact, press statements can be bought from Asia even cheaper than they are here - and the idea of these regional "elites" and journalists being cited as part of the "world opinion" to which we should defer, and fashion our policies accordingly, would be a sick joke, were it not a central part of our New Class mouthings about foreign policy - and domestic policy.
Indonesia is a different matter - and I assume our Government is prepared for worst-case scenarios, e.g., civil war, mass sectarian violence, or a break-up into states, which would, in combination, present more problems than a unified Indonesia does now. If we can't stop Jakarta cracking down on snakeheads, regularly receiving then sending off illegals in boats to our North - operations easily detectable and visible at their end - what chance with four or five states?
Such states, where they have rich resources, will soon discover overseas corporations assuming de facto control. If they do not have resources, then, like the poorer ex-Soviet states, they will become nests for fundamentalists, criminals, and scenes of mass illegal immigration.
So people here, mainly the Left media and people hoping to make a killing, in praising and urging-on breakaway movements and the splintering of Indonesia, are either bereft of all political comprehension, or else into cash for comment.
The military challenges which might face us could, under certain circumstances, require a major expansion in our armed resources, so it is ironic that the Government has had to spend virtually all of its money to fend off greedy, conscienceless pressure groups, living for the day, and an opposition determined to win office at any price, any cost.
The other cab on the electoral rank could turn out to be a Neville Chamberlain government. one that will kowtow to the China lobby here - which is a gruesome mix of our media barons, seeking to curry favour with Beijing, as did their British and European counterparts to Hitler, right up to the day war was joined; Australian Big Business chasing the old El Dorado of a billion customers just dying to buy Australian (as are their global equivalents); and the Left, still secretly yearning for the days of Mao's Cultural Revolution, and Che.
A supine, or sleazy, Labor Government could easily find itself anti-American or a disloyal ally - especially if its bte noire, Bush, somehow survives the dirty pool now back in full swing back in America. And yet the US is probably the only country which cares whether we live or die. Tony Blair doesn't.
Incidentally, the yuppie Left segment of the Beazley political risotto is, as we know, very strong on human rights, influencing where not determining our policy choices, foreign and domestic. It takes as its guiding stars the UN Commission on Human Rights, and the new, selective global inquisition, the War Crimes Tribunal.
Some information might help it.China
For the tenth successive year, the Commission has rejected an American resolution drawing attention to shortcomings in China's human rights performance. The report has regularly been balanced, some say too mild. It regularly outlines what it sees as some improvements in the human rights situation in China, but the global record was, and is, strongly negative.
The Americans cited the areas of political freedoms, religious freedoms, rights of minorities, Tibet, the widespread use of psychiatric "hospitals" for dissenters (along the old Soviet lines), use of prisoners for dangerous jobs, e.g., mining, along with cheap labour factories manned by prisoners and focussed on exports to the West. Five hundred executions in the last two months. And so on.
If ever a country deserved censuring it is China - but our UN Commission for Human Rights has consistently thought otherwise.
Before this last American resolution (March 21) and its defeat, the US was pointedly asked why it kept putting up this resolution when it was doomed to rejection - a no action vote.
Still, the US went ahead; following upon which, as a payback it has been voted off the UN Commission for Human Rights - the first time since its inception. And this is the global community, the world opinion, to which we are supposed to listen, and to obey.
What have our media been saying about this: our parties; our gallant human rights movement? Very little ... but essentially, get off China's back, there's a great market there - soon. As there was in Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. But the principle of human rights is indivisible; used selectively it is only an instrument of propaganda, just as war crimes prosecutions can become a process of propaganda and revenge.
Tibet and Hong Kong are the West's Czechoslovakia; Taiwan is its Poland. For how long, and how far, should we appease a semi-totalitarian, expansionist state, with a retinue of rogue states - armed by China which is itself the rogue state whom Bush is really talking about? And seeking to deter before it takes further liberties?
All this has put our Government in choppy water: whereas the Appeasement Government, possibly to succeed it, should have few problems.