Finally we appear to be waking up, at least a little and, hopefully, not too late.
I have been writing blogs for some time on the dangerous military expansion of China, its growing aggression across the South China Sea and the Straits of Taiwan, and its belligerence towards anyone who questions its expansionist opportunism. More recently, the development of Xi Jinping’s personality cult ala Mao Zedong has only added to this concern. I have lamented the apparent lack of a strong response by the Western powers to this obvious and dangerous official Chinese policy and vision for the country, and the world’s future.
It was, therefore, a great relief to hear this week that the U.S., the U.K. and Australia have entered into a strategic military pact that will confront China’s goals. Finally we appear to be waking up.
About bloody time!
A few weeks ago, I discussed the inaugural deployment of the new British aircraft carrier, the Queen Elizabeth II, and how it’s intended route through the Malacca Straits and the South China Sea, accompanied by U.S. and E.U warships, was sending a good message to Beijing. I’m sure the task force was harassed at all points but, then, I’m equally sure they fully expected that and, indeed, welcomed it. I suggested at the time that someone had to do something, and quickly, before China’s obvious plans got totally out of hand. The announcement this week of the AUKUS pact is a welcome step in that direction.
The reaction from China to the pact was to be expected…loud and threatening…it’s their normal style when anyone questions their motives, or their perception of their sphere of influence. One might say that the game of diplomatic and military chicken has begun in earnest. I would maintain that, as dangerous as that game is, complacency, temerity and inaction would be a lot more dangerous in the long run.
I still think the U.S. should send a Carrier Task Force on a courtesy visit to Taipei, sailing the length of the Straits of Taiwan with a banner draped along the side of the carrier saying “Just try it”. But I digress….a little!
The pact involves the U.S. and the U.K. providing Australia with the technology to build eight nuclear submarines. France’s foreign minister has reacted by accusing Australia and the U.S. of betrayal and lying, mainly because their deal thwarted a multibillion-dollar deal France had signed with Australia for the supply of twelve conventional submarines. I can understand their anger. However, conventional submarines would be nowhere near the level of threat posed by nuclear submarines, so why send half a message when you can send a full one to China. I’m sure the U.S. can offer Paris enough by way of compensation for them to swallow their indignation and pride, quietly.
The AUKUS pact will bring Australia into the nuclear submarine family. Currently, the U.S. has 68, Russia has 29, China has 12, the U.K. has 11, France has 8, and India 1. Australia will join the club with 8, once they are all built.
However, the message is the important element in this game of international diplomacy/intrigue/brinkmanship.
China, if you continue with your expansionist policies, if you continue to be overly aggressive toward everyone, and if you continue to follow your obvious belief in your destiny to rule/control the world, there will be consequences, and you will be stopped. Finally we appear to be waking up.
I have to applaud, finally. I just hope the Western powers hold their nerve. Unfortunately, democracies are not very good at such stoic and consistent commitments. I just hope that finally we appear to be waking up.
Another news note I received this week gave me some additional hope that China ambitions may be curbed. It appears that opposition groups in China, and they do exist, are extremely worried by the evolution of Xi Jinping’s personality cult.
Let’s hope they are strong enough to do something about it before Xi Jinping becomes the next Mao Zedong (Mao Tse-Tung).