Henry ... China pushes itself at us again. The Clinton-Rudd lunch is as well known to us now as last year's Christmas lunch altho' I am puzzled why such an event would have a note taker who then enabled the discussion to be leaked by the fragrant Julian Assange, currently helping the police with their investigations in London. These numerous stories about America and China are very nicely pulled together by Paul Kelly in today's 'Australian'. He makes it very clear that America and China are on a path which any sensible observer of geo-politics can see involving clashes at some time in the future. Kevin Rudd clearly thinks so, which is why he suggested to Secretary Clinton that America be prepared to use force if 'everything goes wrong'. Presumably Minister Rudd included Australia in this call to arms.
What the future holds is as follows: China will continue to expand economically at a very strong clip; this will enrich us at a phenomenal rate; America will not agree under any circumstance to withdraw from Asia; China will see itself as the natural hegemon of Asia and especially the hegemon of the weakest part of Asia ... south east Asia, our own front yard. Thus we will have a geo-political version of an irresistible force (China with a seriously large 'blue water' navy) meeting an immoveable object (America, still the most powerful miltary force in the world). As the song tells us Henry ... 'somethings got to give'.
Preparing for that 'something' should be the course of action which motivates our foreign and defence policies.
Readers of this site will already know that you and I advocate a solid support for the American alliance. This support must become ever more solid as the path toward a clash is slowly walked down by both America and China. This is a particular problem for us as Australia is the major supplier to China of the heavy metals which China will turn into arms for this possible clash. I do not think that the clash is totally inevitable but its chance is high. Given this, isn't it time that our defence budget is raised over a decade from 1.9% of GNP to 3.8%? This can only be done with a stupendous amount of public advertisements explaining what it is all about. Of course I don't expect any form of leadership on such vital questions from Gillard/Swan/Wong or either Abbott/Bishop or Barnaby Joyce. Our present collection of public figures is the total effluvience of a detrital generation. (I'm driven to neologisms Henry to describe these entities.)
For us to be able to stand properly in our place with our alliance partners we need nuclear missiles on submarines. Only these weapons will enable us to say anything to the south east Asians which will hold their attentions. We will need these weapons because as the clash approaches we will need to enquire of the south east Asian countries whether they choose the siddle under China's umbrella or under Australia's. Unless we have lethal submarines with nuclear weapons we cannot even think about such a question, let alone ask it.
The essential prelude to this major event will be the requirement that we prove to the south east Asians that we can deliver a very high reading on the 'toughness register'. This can only be effectively and undeniably done by Australia dismantling the Javanese Islamic Empire (aka Indonesia) into its natural components of Java and then all the other islands forming themselves into 8 or 9 seperate nations, self governing and with treaties of amity and development signed in Canberra. The unique island of Bali, being Hindu and lovely beyond words, may care to have a more intimate relationship of confederation with Australia ... it would save them the unpleasant burden of having their own defence forces and such like messy arrangements.
Of course the Indonesia lovers in the Australian commentariat will yell at this, but it is necessary for us to do this unpleasantness so that we can demonstrate to our brothers and sisters (to be) in south east Asia that we really can 'box above our weight division'. If we do this, Henry, we actually go up a few divisions. This is the necessary first step in our manufacturing and setting up of a nuclear missile capacity carried by a vastly more powerful Australian navy which dominates both the Indian Ocean and the South Pacific. With the collapse of Indonesia we would also need to attempt to dominate (to some acceptable degree) the waters to our immediate north up to the Equator. China would also be in contention in these areas and it would not be easy ... which is why we need the nuclear missiles to even the balance.
Given the fact that China is in hot pursuit of hegemony in Asia (especially south east Asia) and America is in hot determination to not be moved what I have outlined appears more likely to occur than not. If this clash approaches closer, year by year, we in Australia will need to take action along the two part policy I have outlined: neutralise Indonesia and get nuclear missiles in our submarines. With these two polices successfully implemented we could make a serious contribution to the China-America clash NOT taking place. That outcome would, of course, be the raison d'etre of the whole policy.
We are not interested in any form of imperialism but we are interested in avoiding a clash between China and America. With such a successful two fold policy the countries of south east Asia would, I suspect prefer to rest safely under our umbrella rather than the umbrella offered by the Emperor of the Middle Kingdom. The yoke of the Chinese Emperor is a matter of historical public record. There is no need to assume that China has changed its attitudes to gweilos of any stripe.
Now that I have outlined the needed policy Henry, all we have to do is look for the men and women to bring it about. I have one candidate but he needs a seat in a Parliament at the moment ... however both sides of politics need to start looking earnestly so that we can feel confident with that old saw: comes the hour, comes the man.
[Ed: See also Sir Wellington's 'Tomorrow when the war begins'. ]
Sir Wellington Boote.