China, Border Protection and the MSM Silence


There were two little kids playing in their own private sandbox. Everything was going fine despite some residual resentments. On one side because of a spat when they first met and on the other a touch of the “I am better than you’s.”

They began a yelling match and were about to start throwing things at each other. That was when one of the adults stepped in with a loud “AHEM!”

So it has been with Australia’s “little” argument with Indonesia.

China has decided that it cannot afford to have two of its major raw material suppliers involved in a potentially damaging row between themselves. So it sent a fleet of three vessels to make a quiet statement that other eyes are watching.

A three-ship Chinese navy squadron has concluded exercises in the Indian Ocean and sailed on to the western Pacific, showing off the growing reach of the country’s seagoing forces at a time of sharpening territorial disputes in regional waters.

Chinese warship Changbaishan

Chinese warship Changbaishan

This is an event which has been noticed by Indian, Pakistani, The US, Japan and Europe. There seem to be only two countries which have ignored the whole thing. The main stream media in Australia and Indonesia has chosen to say nothing.

The only Australian mention I have been able to find was on the Lowy Institute website. We are already in a lose-lose situation with our military hands held by the Americans and our mercantile hands held by the Chinese. The impossible situation I postulated in that post is closer than ever before.

Lowy posted,  Australia’s strategic environment changed a week ago, even if much of our media did not notice. Last weekend, a Chinese taskforce of three warships steamed south through the Sunda Strait to conduct combat simulations and other exercises in the Indian Ocean, somewhere between Indonesia and Christmas Island.  The vessels, two destroyers and an advanced 20,000-ton amphibious ship capable of carrying some hundreds of marines (pictured), then skirted the southern edge of Java before heading north through the Lombok and Makassar Straits and into the Pacific.

There was a message in this short visit. A message loud and clear to the Australian government as our surveillance aircraft would have been bound to see the Chinese ships. This is a warning by China that they are able as the article says “To project power”.  With hundreds of marines and support from aircraft and surface ships. The warning is we know what you are about and we are going to overtly show you what we are about. Don’t mess with us.

This also highlights the poor decision some time ago to retire the F111 in favour of the Super hornet and waiting for the new dud F35 fighters. The trouble with the Super hornet is that their range is not large enough to get there and back and have to refuel in the air. That then is again a problem as the tanker aircraft are vulnerable and so take up protection assets we don’t have.

THE WIDER PERSPECTIVE

The Chinese are a very economical people. Rarely do they do something with only a single objective in mind. Here is a view of this event from The Diplomat which is a major international current-affairs magazine for the Asia-Pacific region.

The task force consisted of the Changbaishan–China’s largest amphibious landing ship–and two destroyers–the Wuhan and Haikou. According to Chinese state broadcaster CCTV, the ships carried out counter-piracy, search and rescue, and damage control drills. The ships eventually left the Indian Ocean to continue their drills in the Western Pacific Ocean. The Changbaishan is one of the more advanced ships in the PLAN’s fleet and is capable of launching helicopters and amphibious landing craft. China has conducted naval drills in the Indian Ocean in the past but has generally focused on restricting these to its western waters, by the Gulf of Aden. For example, an exercise in August 2013 saw the U.S. and Chinese navies jointly practice counter-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden which is generally a hot region for pirates based off the Horn of Africa. These exercises by contrast are potentially far more provocative for India, Australia, and ASEAN states (even though Southeast Asia isn’t bereft of pirates by any means). For India, a Chinese approach in the eastern Indian Ocean raises anxieties about the reach of China’s navy. India regards the eastern Indian Ocean–the space between the Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Sumatra–as its domain. Any Chinese exercises in this area, particularly combat simulations, will not be taken lightly by New Delhi. Australia is generally content to accept the Indonesian archipelago as a comfortable buffer zone from the busy sea lanes of the South China Sea. By way of this exercise, China demonstrates an operational ability in Australia’s northern waters which could have implications for Australia in the future. Rory Medcalf of the Lowy Institute, an Australian think-tank, notes that “the precise strategic implications of the Chinese navy’s newly-demonstrated ability to operate in Australia’s northern approaches are open to debate.” For China, the exercises make perfect sense in its bid to field a blue-water navy capable of operating outside China’s proximate waters. Medcalf notes that while these exercises will surely spook some observers in the region, there is “nothing illegal or fundamentally hostile about what the Chinese navy has just demonstrated.”

Meanwhile, Japan Focus, in 2010, published the following in an article on Chinese naval strength and ambitions.

Perhaps we are about to live in those fabled “Interesting Times”.

Everything Old is New Again #3


When President Obama announced his intention to remain a player in the Asian Hemisphere in May 2012, I wrote of how politicians do not run the world.

How the world is run by secretive backroom bureaucrats in departments similar to our “Foreign Affairs”.

How they have become the One World Government all the Conspiracy Theorists warn us of.

Every now and then accidents happen and they briefly appear in the light, as has happened this week with “Prisoner X”.

Using “Trove” I was looking through old editions of “The Argus“, a now defunct Melbourne Daily.

In the issue of Saturday 10 February 1940, before Japan entered WW2, this cartoon appeared.

oldisnew3

Because of my position in time I immediately thought of a USA vs China problem but then I realised it is actually Japan on the other end of the rope of “Good Relations”. Just as today, America and China are on opposite ends of a similar rope of Trading Relations. Each country needs the other to survive economically.

My perspective suddenly began to jump backwards and forwards as I read this John Garnaut article in The Age of 16th Feb 2013.

In part it reads, “WITHIN two decades the United States will be forced out of the western Pacific, says a senior Chinese military officer, amid concerns that increasingly militarised great-power rivalry could lead to war.

Senior Colonel Liu Mingfu’s. . . . . .   interpretation of one facet of what the new Chinese leader, Xi Jinping, calls ”a new type of great-power relationship” adds to the uncertainty and anxiety surrounding China’s strategic ambitions.

Concern about China’s strategic ambitions has grown since last year’s Chinese occupation of islands administered by the Philippines in the South China Sea and, particularly, China’s continuing brinkmanship with Japan and its security guarantor, the US, in the East China Sea.Japanese leaders have accused China of locking weapons-guiding radars on Japanese targets – which China denies – while Western military sources say Chinese planes, ships and submarines have challenged Japanese-controlled waters and airspace around the Senkaku Islands.

Some security analysts say Australian political leaders are in public denial about the stakes involved and invidious choices the nation may have to face.

”It’s the most dangerous strategic crisis that the US has faced – that the world has faced – since the end of the Cold War,” said Hugh White, former deputy secretary of the Department of Defence.

China and Japan, he said, were drifting closer to a war that could draw in the US. ”This makes rather a nonsense of the mantra we hear both from Gillard and Abbott that ‘we don’t have to choose between the US and China’,” he said.

The cartoon above was published just 21 months before Pearl Harbour. It is looking as though Australia will need to make a choice between China and America rather soon.

China Vs United States – Why Australia Will Lose!


Before I go any further, let me explain my position. I am on the “Left” side of politics. An anti-war greenie ex-ALP member. Yet it matters little where I fit on the internal political landscape. What matters is where Australia fits on the international landscape. This post is not about party political differences. It is about our hidden Government. And no! I am not a diplomat. Just an amateur student of world affairs informed by the past and reading the omens.

Every nation in the world has one.

Secretive and mostly working in the shadows. A Government body making commitments and friendships with people we never hear about.

Only ever showing the results of its machinations and activities in the occasional public announcements of its head.

It is the most important department any nation can have.

No, it is not Treasury, the department we are always worried about. The one that determines how we shall live. No. This department is even more important.

It determines whether we SHALL live!

And by what rules.

In Australia it is known as the Department of Foreign Affairs. In the USA it is the State Department. China has its Ministry of Foreign Affairs!

All the secretive connivings and agreements are basically about trade. About how one nation can either enrich itself or at the very least, not be disadvantaged by a change in trading conditions. Those spy novels we were brought up on were not about a clash of cultures but about a clash of economic theories. Capitalism versus Communism.

The current test of strength between the US and China is still about trade. Determining which form of Capitalism will prevail.

We never see the back room battles. We are distracted by the Fleming and le Carré stories of human daredevilry and pathos.

In the back rooms, at the highest levels schemes and plans are put into place which will mature in a decade or a generation or, in extreme cases, in a century. Plans laid and executed by people we never see, never vote for. The truly faceless government.

We often hear of the threat of a One World Government.

The favourite of the conspiracy theorists. The bad news is that we have had one for centuries. While our individual national Treasuries are handled by relatively well known financial wizards and publicly elected treasurers under accepted Governmental oversight of one form or another, Foreign Affairs operates outside of and above the political hurly-burly. It is party-less and almost unaccountable.

The information it deals with puts our current Australian fixation with Thomson, Mirabella, Slipper and Pyne to shame. Diplomats need to know everything about everyone yet cannot admit to knowing anything. Which is why the Wikileaks’ dumping of huge numbers of confidential diplomatic emails was such a sin.

It is why Julian Assange will get no support from any Government in the world. Daniel Ellsberg only lifted the lid on his own country’s dealings. Assange has embarrassed the entire World Government. Which is why Gillard is so obdurate about not intervening and  helping him. Foreign Affairs has spoken! He must be turned into a horrible example. No one must be allowed to play with the levers of power, opening “Realpolitik“, as Henry Kissinger described it, to the public view.

We only see stuff-ups when they lead to a war. For, although they are a One World Government, there are still factions and alliances and the ultimate threat is not an election but armed conflict. Diplomats handle the day to day matters within a framework set by the real rulers of the world. To be the Foreign Minister of Australia or Britain, to be the Secretary of State of the USA, to be the equivalent in Russia or China is to be close to and beholden to the true holders of power. In recent times, Kevin Rudd has shown that he knows where the biggest game in the world is taking place.

Dictators and madmen sometimes come to power.

Not everything always goes to plan. Luckily, regardless of the self-perceived immortality of these international irritants, they are as mortal as the rest of us. Yet they can create disturbances in international relations. I first saw a fictional account of this in the incident of the “Mule” in Isaac Azimov’s Foundation Series. Six hundred years into a thousand year galactic history which had been planned and predicted by a social engineer, a rogue element appeared. He appeared to totally derail the pre-laid plans yet, after his death, everything settled back into its predicted course.

Foreign Affairs is similar. Madmen and dictators may create ripples which appear to be overwhelming and miscalculations may cause huge wars with incalculable human tragedies yet somehow civilisation continues on. Hitler, Pol Pot and Kim Il Sung will be as irrelevant as the Ayatollahs when our descendants look at the sweep of history. The long range plans of the World Government will continue.

The Great War was begun almost by accident.

We saw a miscalculation early last century which resulted in two major wars and we may be seeing similar miscalculation now.

An Arch Duke was assassinated in a remote European State and, through a complicated network of treaties, the long-established British Empire and the newly-growing Germany went to war. In a lot of ways the so-called Second World War was simply a continuation of the Great War.

Over the past weeks there have been oil-field difficulties between China and long-term US ally, the Phillipines. In fact, China claims sovereignty over a large U-shaped area of the South China Sea, bringing it into dispute with several neighbouring countries. In recent months it has grown more assertive over the issue. Through a century-old treaty, the USA must come to the aid of the Phillipines.

There is a potential conflict ahead.

Between Australia’s long-term ally and its new-found giant trading partner.

With hundreds of ships plying the seas between Chinese ports and Australian mining ports and with a newly negotiated US Marine base in Darwin, along with other US bases within this island nation, the potential for spill-over of any conflict, verbal or actual, between the fading old and the growing new Superpowers must involve Australia.

We are too small to ignore the demands of the US. Yet we are too important a supplier of raw materials to China for them to allow us to become simply a US base in a potentially “hot” conflict.

Put into this context announcements by President Obama last year have an ominous import for Australia.

In the game of chess there is a situation known as Zugzwang. A player whose turn it is to move who has no move that does not worsen his position is said to be in zugzwang.

Australia’s foreign Affairs Department has successfully negotiated us into Zugzwang. We must make a move and whatever move we make, we must lose!

Forget about changing the situation by changing the Minister. He is always helpless, regardless of era, party or desires! He is a prisoner of the true rulers of Australia.

All we can do is sit and wait.

And worry about our children.

Photo Hunt; Nautical


Click on the image above for more photo hunters.

Not much more nautical than this.

Despite the recession we are apparently suffering, the iron ore keeps on heading out of Australia to China.

This is a bulk ore ship coming into Port Hedland, yesterday morning, to pick up yet more iron for China to on-sell to the rest of the world.

photohuntnautical

The grey sky and the general haziness of the photograph is due to the smoke haze in the air.

Where did the smoke come from?

All the way from Victoria. The prevailing winds from the southerly change which turned the bushfires there into killers blew on up the east coast of Australia and then swung west across the top end. It arrived in Punmu on Wednesday night and I drove in it for 600 Km, could not see the sun except as a pale yellow orb at sunset on Thursday, flew to Perth and could not see the ground from 33,000 ft for the first hour of a two hour flight!

Those fires have been huge!

Sorry for drifting from the nautical theme but, at the moment, everything in Australia is about those fires.

Chinese Internet For Australia


Not only does our new Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, speak Chinese, it seems he admires their system of Government as well.

Especially the way they control their internet.

My mate from Queensland, Mike, is an IT professional and he, who worked so hard to get rid of the Howard Authoritarianism,  is horrified by what this Labor Government is doing in its own autocratic way.

He has devoted quite some time to studying the proposed ISP level control of unsuitable websites and has not only documented his findings on his blog but he has also addressed public meetings on the subject.

Read what Mike has discovered;

The Minister responsible for the censorship proposal is Senator Stephen Conroy. Mike has a suggestion for all of us who object to censorship by stealth.

phoneconroysm

Just a further suggestion from the archive; Most calls will be palmed off by the receptionist who will either hang up or use some trite platitude and then hang up. I suggest that those of us who have the technical knowhow (I don’t, unfortunately) record their calls. Legally it may be necessary to let the person on the other end of the phone know that the call will be recorded.

Then publish it on your Blog!

I will be writing more on this subject soon but the magic number of words for a blog post is 250 and so I will save the rest for another day.


Digg!

Strange World #31; Gun Control


Three shot at Chinese gun control meeting

Three journalists have been injured in south-west China after a gun went off at a press conference called by Chinese police to highlight the success of a gun control campaign, state media said. The press conference was taking place in Nanchong in Sichuan province to publicise the results of a campaign by the city’s police to seize illegal weapons, the Beijing News reported.

According to Zheng Chongjun, deputy head of the political division of Nanchong police, some of the reporters asked to take photos of the guns seized. One of the police officials mishandled a homemade weapon, releasing the trigger and dropping it to the ground.

It is unclear from the report whether the gun contained bullets or shotgun pellets but it said one local journalist needed surgery after being hit in several areas of the body including his ankle, crotch, and chest.

- AFP

Free Beijing Olympics


Found in our local give-away paper, I may use this several times in the lead-up to 08.08.08.

I don’t support an athlete boycott of the Olympics while we continue to trade with the country.

Then again, this would be an ideal opportunity for our elected leaders to show some morality and refuse to attend the Opening or Closing ceremonies.

The Chinese are very affected by “face” and the loss of face caused by such a threatened non-attendance by their peers could well instigate more change in China’s government than any number of athletes not attending.

Of course China has had the world’s worst human rights record for thousands of years. The famous Walls were built by labour forced from their homes in Southern China to the Northern borders. The human cost was estimated at one dead worker per metre of wall. There were around 10, 000 kilometres of wall built!

A few extra million dead in Tibet is simply a matter of accounting. And moving in replacements from elsewhere.

Now I bid farewell to my readers in China as I will almost certainly be banned in your country now.

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