January 25th 2020


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Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY Wildfires: Lessons from the past not yet learnt

EDITORIAL America 'resets' foreign policy on China and Russia

CANBERRA OBSERVED After the fires, we still need an economy and to power it

GENDER POLITICS In trans Newspeak, parental consent is a 'hurdle'

REFLECTION Conjugal honour: Love of husband and wife joined together in pure intimacy

LIFE ISSUES Pro-lifers punished for exposing baby harvesting

LAW AND SOCIETY Cardinal Pell and the Appeal Court judges

LITERATURE AND SOCIETY The poetry of Distributism

AUSTRALIAN HISTORY Botany Bay: Always more than a dumping ground

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS Finally getting Brexit done

HUMOUR The MacStuttles probe

MUSIC From retch to wretched

CINEMA Three times the bravura: 1917, The Gentlemen, Shaun the Sheep: Farmageddon

BOOK REVIEW The contradictions of the dominant ideology

BOOK REVIEW Novel celebrates inventor of literary fairytales

POETRY

LETTERS

HUMAN RIGHTS A Magnitsky-style law for Australia?

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EDITORIAL
America 'resets' foreign policy on China and Russia


by Patrick J. Byrne

News Weekly, January 25, 2020

Behind the endless media turmoil over President Trump, there is strong bipartisan support in Washington for a foreign policy “reset” to handle Beijing’s expansionary ambitions and Russia’s ascendancy aspirations over parts of its old Soviet empire in Eastern Europe, Africa and Latin America.

Despite being uneven and halting over the last few years, the new foreign policy template recognises that the post-Soviet communist world, where the United States was the dominant global economic and strategic force, is being replaced by a multipolar word world where China, in particular, is likely to become the most powerful rival the U.S. has ever faced.

Commenting on this military, economic and diplomatic policy “reset”, former US Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger, has said that Donald Trump “may be one of those figures in history who appears from time to time to mark the end of an era and to force it to give up its old pretences”

The policy “reset” was recently outlined in Foreign Affairs, the journal of the US Council on Foreign Relations, by Elbridge A. Colby, a former U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defence for Strategy and Force Development (2017–18) and A. Wess Mitchell, former Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs (2017–19).

The new policy is not “blindly confrontational”, but aims to preserve the central objective of U.S. foreign policy since the end of World War II: “the freedom of states, particularly U..S. allies, to chart their own courses without interference from a domineering regional hegemon”.

After decades of excessive focus on the Middle East, key new strategy documents like the 2017 National Security Strategy and the 2018 National Defence Strategy set the central U.S. objective as keeping China in the Indo-Pacific, and Russia in Europe, from shifting the local balance of power in their favour.

In particular, the strategy calls for blocking China and Russia from taking and holding regional territories, like Taiwan in the east and the Baltic States in Europe, as a fait accompli.

The Pentagon is shifting from its Operation Desert Storm playbook, of slowly and methodically surging forces to a threatened area and only counter-attacking after total U.S. dominance is assured, “to a force that can fend off Chinese and Russian attacks from the very beginning of hostilities, even if it never attains the kind of dominance the United States was once able to gain in such places as Serbia and Iraq”, the authors say. Consequently, the Pentagon’s is requesting a raft of new weapons and equipment in its new budget.

Further, Trump has applied economic “shock therapy” to the previous mindset that claimed U.S.-Chinese economic relationships could not afford disruptions.

While some have argued that U.S. penalties on China would hurt U.S. companies and workers, others point out that China’s market-distorting trade practices were already hurting American interests and inaction would only make things worse.

There is bipartisan agreement to require Chinese companies to follow the same disclosure rules as American firms for listing on U.S. stock exchanges. Powerful legislators of both parties have said they will revoke Hong Kong’s economic and trading privileges in the U.S. if Beijing violates its commitment to the region’s autonomy.

And, at last, U.S. officials are actively warning other countries about Chinese telecommunications investments that could offer Beijing access to, and leverage over, their sensitive technologies.

The purpose is neither to decouple the U.S. and Chinese economies entirely nor to force U.S. allies and partners to pick a side, but to better protect intellectual property and sensitive technologies and, by extension, to reduce China’s economic leverage over the US and other countries.

Extensive economic relations with the Chinese economy are necessary, but countries must resist coercive leverage to preserve their sovereignty.

Diplomatically, U.S. encouragement saw a boost to European defence spending by $US34 billion last year, while it is leveraging economic and political influence in central Europe, the western Balkans, and the eastern Mediterranean.

The U.S. is offering countries alternative financing to Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative under the 2018 Better Utilisation of Investments Leading to Development (BUILD) Act.

In the east, Japan and India are anchors to the strategy, while in Europe the U.S. has built ties with Poland while urging Europe to expand its military forces.

Australia’s significant role in this “reset” was seen last October with the announcement of an Australia-U.S. $A2 billion investment in U.S. Air Force and Marine activities in the Northern Territory, while in Canberra there is bipartisan support for a development bank for Pacific island states, as an alternative to China’s Belt and Road funding.




























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