Contributed by Jim Hayes
The misinformation about the war in Ukraine continues and it has taken deep root in Australia, as Scott Morrison moves to user it in his bid to remain as Australia’s Prime Minister by stirring up fear.
Defence minister Peter Dutton and others have shaped into would be McCarthyites, looking for a bogeyman to show loyalty to Washington’s ambitions, and at the same time, take attention away from domestic affairs.
In a keynote statement at yesterday’s press conference, Morrison signalled preparedness to impose further sanctions on China, based on a rumour of its intention to supply arms to Russia, despite there being little basis for the accusation. Peter Dutton has echoed this and pitted the whole issue as a battle between evil and “free nations.”
This is posturing and no mere slip of the tongue, looking very much like it was coordinated from Washington. Although it is related to Ukraine, it’s about much more than supposed arms to Russia.
The Coalition has an incentive to use the issue to wedge Labor in the leas up to the May’s election. Labor has avoided this so far, by making its own position almost indistinguishable from the Coalition’s.
But it would be wrong to suggest this is all about the war and the coming Australian election. They are both part of it. But the big picture is about whether the global economy and politics will continue under American domination, with Australia as an obedient mini me.
An unprecedented use of economic sanctions as a form of economic warfare and diplomatic pressure has seen them imposed on more than 40 countries. A few are experiencing them severely. This adds to the chances of the rise of a new trading block to counter them. The real risk for the United States and Western Europe, and their use in relation to Ukraine increases this risk, is that this new block will rise and involve more that two thirds of the planet’s human population This is if you just count China, India, and Russia. The add the Belt and Road initiative involving 130 nations. The rest of the world, including Australia, could be locked out.
If push comes to shove, there might even be an opting out of trading in American dollars, and this would send the value of that currency plunging downward. Nations continuing to trade with it would be put in a difficult position.
The war in Ukraine is coloured by the drive to maintain western dominance and control over the Eurasian landmass.
If the sanctions lead to the rise of the new block, it will take shape after Ukraine’s war is over, and it will mark the end of the west’s domination of the global economy, and the centre of gravity will shift to the fastest growing mega economies in the east.
Australia’s interests lie in a global economy dominated by no one and friendly trading relations with all. But this requires the end of western domination and Australia serving as its outpost in the Asian region.
By pushing in the opposite direction, invites China to trade elsewhere and puts Australia’s future in jeopardy. Continuing with this, will eventually lead, for example, to the loss of iron ore exports to the world’s fastest growing economy. There are no alternatives for Australia, and China doesn’t really need to buy from us.
Photo by BHP: Australia’s iron ore export could be undermined by ongoing attacks on China
Remember, iron ore is Australia’s number one export. The loss of this trade would be devastating to Australia’s economy and plunge it into a serious contraction.
The only reason this hasn’t happened already, as China has made clear, there is no wish in to cause a major shock that will hurt the global economy and Australia.
But if the cold war mentality and anti-China posturing continue, there is no guarantee that present arrangement will continue.
What makes the Morrison government’s position doubly foolish is the demonstrated willingness of the United States to step in and supply wherever Australia is excluded. We have seen this with beef, barley, and wine.
Australia would be far better served by working for a positive relationship with China.