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  • Writer's picturePete Jonson

Morrison reaches the top

Updated: Sep 27, 2021

‘Seated Australia at the top table of diplomacy’.

Well, how did an Aussie PM do it? The Indo-Pacific is dominated by China, and eventually later also by India. The 25 million or so of Aussies have powerful friends in the USA and the UK. Especially the USA need a good friend in the Indo-Pacific, and it seems the Aussies fit well. Like the USA, we speak English, and recent immigrants are learning English.

Paul Kelly in The Oz has tackled the subject of China, rather than the problem of grumpy France. Morrison has said he raised the problem of the French submarines several months ago. The French have called us back-stabbers. They seem to believe minor issues like 12 French submarines costing $25 billion, then $50 billion and most recently $90 billion are irrelevant. And this is for diesel subs, noisy, crowed and needing to go to the surface every few days

Prime Minister Scott Morrison and President Joe Biden

Paul Kelly’s superb Inquirer article starts thus: ‘The story this week was not France but China. While the media cycle was dominated by French fury, history was being made in Washington with the emergence of two strategic entities that will shape the Indo-­Pacific – their purpose being to constrain Beijing’s power, assertion and ambition.

‘Australia is now at the centre of these geostrategic shifts. While the media story was about Australia’s diplomatic debacle with French President Emmanuel Macron, the legacy of Scott Morrison’s US visit will be strategic initiatives that shape Australian foreign and defence policy for decades under Liberal and Labor governments.

‘Contrary to the media reports, Australia’s influence in the Indo-Pacific is growing, not receding. Morrison is persona non grata in Paris but feted in Washington. It would be nice to dream he could be feted in both capitals but that was never possible.’

I am tempted to keep copying paragraphs but must limit this. Scott Morrison carried himself well in the USA. He is one of three leaders overseeing the arrival in Australia of American or British nuclear submarine. China has objected but they have many more nuclear submarines with (say it softly) less efficiency than American nuclear subs.

Mr Morrison is also a member of ‘The Quad.’ Members are the CEO’s of America, Japan, India and Australia. No wonder Paul Kelly says: ‘The US decision, along with the UK, to provide Australia with nuclear-powered submarine technology – with a range of capabilities concerning cyber, AI, quantum and hi-tech offence warfare – is an event of global and regional significance.’

Here is another important comment: ‘Beijing’s economic coercion led directly to Morrison’s investigation of the nuclear-powered submarine option and his approach to the UK and US. As Morrison said, he moved because “strategic circumstances” had changed – code for China. He felt conventional submarines could not do the job. Finally, it was China that was the decisive factor in Biden’s decision to share nuclear technology with Australia, the first such action since the US extended this technology to Britain in 1958’.

Read Paul Kelly’s full article here

Greg Sheridan has a fine complementary article.

Here is a nice article from The Atlantic.

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