Australia must be in full lockstep with the USA on this policy. There is no practical alternative. While everyone, including those of us with any history of dealing with Hong Kong and its citizens on a personal level are horrified at what we see happening there. An inevitable smashing of what they had and the prospect of even more terrible harm coming to the people we have met or know.
Yet as the well-respected American investigative blogger from the Conservative Tree House puts it nothing we do or even that the United States can do will alter the inevitable failure of the Hong Kong protests to even weaken mainland Chinese control over it let alone revive some freedoms lost since the end of British rule.
China has, and will have, full control over Hong Kong; and that’s the way it is. This will not be reversed…If Hong Kong tries to resist Beijing, they will be crushed. Hundreds more will be arrested and disappeared. Thousands, perhaps tens of thousands, will be killed. There is already an ongoing flight of wealth out of Hong Kong as the smart and wealthy position their assets overseas to survive the arrival of Beijing’s storm troopers.
His pessimism about Hong Kong’s future structure and political controls is relevant also.
… The future for Hong Kong is dark. It is not going to end in anything resembling what exists today. Hong Kong will be Beijing 2.0, and will be entirely dominated by Chinese authoritarian rule. The difference in 2019 is the speed at which it is happening.
Australians watched as our decades-long relationship with China became more and more important economically. Being a virtual quarry for China and its industry, the Global Financial Crisis of 2008 was more than partially solved for us by the Trillion-plus dollars spent by China in stimulating their economy. That meant buying $billions more of our raw material commodities. Then, as now, we have been increasingly reliant on China for the well-being of our economy.
It has had its downside, however, and along with China under President Xi ramping up its aggression in trade, the South China Sea military bases on disputed land, the pressure put on for its One Belt One Road initiative etc, relations have become more and more tense. The China 2025 plan to be dominant in many technology areas and being a major player in trade, have been leading up to a coming together of opposing interests, dominated by the United States and now, under Donald Trump, leading a very serious fight on trade.
One might possibly see the USA (& allies) coming into the latest Hong Kong unrest to try and put some pressure on China to relieve the repression of the Hong Kong protestors, just when China is being challenged or questioned throughout Asia and the west. Nothing could be more futile. The China dominance of Hong Kong and its systems in their entirety is inevitable and we know the unlimited violence with which China can try to enforce its will on its people in Hong Kong. Indeed such western efforts would be counter- productive, doing nothing for Hong Kong citizens yet damaging the very interests which are putting necessary pressure on China through the Trump actions on trade.
Investigative blogger Sundance from The Conservative Tree House sets out the reasons why the United States (& President Trump in particular) must not fall into what the blogger reasonably describes as a trap. It is very strongly recommended that you read the whole thing on that point. Sundance is wary (and not without reason) of many of the US institutions, whether it be official or commercial, globalism on trade being his particular focus. He sees grave danger in allowing this to divert President Trump from the present course of actions and the suspicion that certain parties will try to divert the US for just such reasons.
The key, though, is to remember that the fight with China on trade is the issue of our time, really and nothing must direct attention away from it, nothing must derail it and certainly nothing that will be ineffective, but could actually ensure more bloodshed. Already China is looking around to find scapegoats as a diversion – ironically at a time when Trump critics are damning him for NOT buying in to the Hong Kong protests on their side – but of course Trump can never do anything right in their eyes.
Why Hong Kong must remain secondary to the battle on trade.
Remember that President Trump for better or worse has cast his mind and major policy direction towards the positon of China government policies vis-à-vis American economic wellbeing. The indisputable fact that all the ills for which Trump assails China – forced technology transfer, intellectual property theft, currency manipulation, heavy trade subsidies etc – are verified by most observers, it left – and still leaves – many of those with trade interests determined to stop it. No matter that Trump has held (and spoken about) these concerns for years, that he campaigned on them, many commentators have worried themselves that a “trade war” will be counter-productive. And it is damaging to those companies (often multi-nationals) who profit by manufacturing (and staffing) their enterprises overseas, many in China.
Forbes magazine recently gave some major reasons why there might be this not-so-honest opposition: –
“About 50% of China exports to the U.S. are actually exports by wholly foreign owned companies or joint ventures with Americans” and that this was a reason why “some 40% of U.S. companies are relocating at least some of their supply out of China” because of the Trump policies. That hits profits. A powerful motive at times.
Australia should not do anything that is not complementary to what is arguably the righteous USA position in this clash of the titans. It is the opinion of this writer that commodity-dependant nations such as Australia have far more to lose if coming against a China which had been allowed to succeed in damaging the US economy even more than it has already. If it actually became dominant as it wants by means of these attacks against the USA (aided and abetted by US corporations backing overseas cheap labour and import subterfuge) Australia and others will become the economic vassal states to the whims of China, the fate of which will be a lot like the mendicant status of certain states in Europe which must go cap in hand to the EU to survive on its largess.
Maybe Sundance had it right in the end (or at least gave a practical answer) as to what to do after a Chinese-Hong Kong takeover:
…start applying the Chinese tariffs on Hong Kong as soon as Beijing tanks arrive.
Note that while Hong Kong is the immediate urgent focus, the China trade danger in all its forms is what we must turn to nextFollow