Hu's on First was Re: Australian Anti Bush Demonstrations
g.maclennan at qut.edu.au
Wed Nov 5 23:04:49 MST 2003
Bush' visit was as Bob Gould reported the occasion of a very good
demonstration. It also put a lot of pressure on the ALP Leadership. Simon
Crean was forced to do a balancing act - one foot on the peace movement
camp while having his tongue dutifully inserted. I thought myself the
tongue had it, and his disclaimers about America policy in Iraq were very
More interesting perhaps was the second visit of state by China's latest
candidate for the role of Machiavelli - Hu Jintao. The Murdoch Press
reported that Hu refused to speak to the Australian Parliament unless the
possibility of demonstrations against him, such as the Greens had mounted
against Bush, were ruled out. Significantly the Australian conservatives
agreed. All's fair in love and business I suppose.
What intrigued me about the Bush-Hu thing was that it highlights the
dilemma confronting Australia. It is still a white colonial outpost in
Asia, but it is one which desperately needs to trade within the
region. Unlike poor Mexico, Australia is far from God and the United
States. That makes them cautious in their "All the way with the USA"
rhetoric. A substantial section of the Australian bourgeoisie worry about
Howard's closeness to the US hurting our trade relations in Asia, which is
increasingly being dominated by China.
China has made it easy for Australia here by deliberately putting trade not
politics in command. Thus Howard has been able to say to his critics that
China does not mind Australia's closeness to America.
The Chinese themselves are determined to keep their enemy - the USA -
close. (Perhaps they have seen Godfather II or may be they have read the
Art of War!) That has meant they have opposed nothing of Bush's
adventurism. Nation after nation in the Third World has been betrayed by
the Chinese leadership. They will continue to do so until perhaps they
feel the time is right to challenge the USA. By that time of course the
Americans may well control all the oil from Saudi Arabia to the Caspian
Basin. certainly that is the Americans hope and intention.
In any case the Australian Govt rolled out the carpet for Hu. Apart from
the usual sickening spectacle, what I actually enjoyed were the comparisons
between Hu and Bush. I especially liked the comment that Hu had provided
an intellectual framework whereas Bush had not. How surprising!
Hu in effect offered Australia trade and friendship.
So for the moment the Australians feel they can have their cake and eat
it. They can continue a minor role in Bush's retinue, while keeping their
options open with China.
All that would of course be put in jeopardy, by the long hoped for upheaval
in China. Who knows?
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