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Australia in Danger of Being Left Behind

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Ned K

There have been warning yelps from some media outlets and former politicians like Paul Keating that Australia will get left behind unless Australian Governments adopt a more independent stance regarding ties with the USA. 

The immediate issue regarding Australia's relationship with the USA is the latter's potential military assault on North Korea. Due to the military presence of US troops and bases in Australia, Australia itself could be bombed and many lives lost as a consequence.  The Australian Government and the Labor Party "opposition" have both sided with the USA regarding its arrogant position that it should be the maritime trade "policeman" in the South China Sea and western Pacific Ocean region, far away from the shores of the USA.

This potential hot spot could erupt into military conflict between China and the USA and who knows how that may end?

Apparent military madness by the USA towards both North Korea and potentially China though may have at its core an economic foundation. While the USA is out to protect its geographical military sphere of influence, what is driving its behaviour is losing in the economic stakes as the number one imperial power.

While Trump huffs and puffs about making America great again, its main economic rival China is busy expanding its economic (trade and investment) ties with more and more countries every year. 

One only has to read the Australian Financial Review's China Watch insert on Fridays to see how rapidly China is extending its economic ties. Its latest initiative is the Silk Road Economic Belt and 21st Century Maritime Silk Road. According to the latest China Watch, which repeats articles from China Daily, more than 40 countries from Asia, Middle East and Europe have signed co-operation Agreements with China on trade and investment.

On 14 and 15 May the Belt and Road Forum for International Co-Operation will be held in Beijing with 28 countries represented and 1,200 delegates. Australia is not one of them.

China is setting itself as the global leader with an alternative vision to Trump's "protectionist agenda" according to the China Watch. It is projecting China as standing for "a new form of globalisation based on international connectivity". 

Where does Australia fit in with these economic developments to our north? With the Australian economic lifelines still tied to US imperialism, there is a danger of Australia continuing its economic decline at a more rapid rate as US imperialism continues its economic decline. Some sections of the capitalist class in Australia are already seizing opportunity to make profits from the Belt and Road Initiative. For example, Australian business person Kevin Zhang is CEO of hotel chain, Argyle Hotel Group. It has 105 hotels in China and is building more on the Silk Road in far western China. Business is booming according to Zhang. However it is doubtful that decisive sections of the Australian capitalist class will break ties with the US, especially those connected to finance capital and defence.

At the end of the day, capitalist Australia will be left behind from the tremendous economic activity to our north as long as we have governments that are unable to fulfil the Australian people's desire to develop an economy that promotes "connectivity" with other countries, based on mutual benefit and the people's needs. 

The current economic system, based on the profit maximisation of local and overseas corporations, is not good for the people.

Nor will it be any good for the Australian people if governments instead of being servile to the USA become servile to the rising Chinese world power.

The answer is genuine anti-imperialist independence and a socialist economy led by the working class.


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