Duc, sequere, aut de via decede!

US power wont last – Australian opposition party

May 14th, 2007 . by Matt

The Australian opposition has offered a bleak assessment on the future of US power, and has warned against offending China.

AUSTRALIA cannot risk alienating China as there is no guarantee the United States will remain the dominant power in Asia, Opposition foreign affairs spokesman Robert McClelland says.

Nor should it sign a defence treaty with Japan or enter formal security talks with our allies and India, which China would see as an attempt to encircle it, Mr McClelland said.

His blunt comments to The Sunday Age contrast with the more measured words of his leader, Kevin Rudd, who has sought to reassure voters — and Washington — that Labor regards US leadership and strategic presence as enduring and essential to peace in the Asia-Pacific region.

They also risk reinforcing suspicions among critics of Labor that foreign policy under a Rudd government would be overly sensitive to Chinese concerns.

While the Government has not openly made the same criticism, it has been expressed by media commentators who are sometimes favoured by the Government.

“The difference between the Government and Labor is that the reality is you can’t ignore the fact that China is going to be a major economic and military power in our region,” Mr McClelland said.

“We can’t assume that for ever and a day the United States will have the predominance of influence that it currently has.

“We therefore have a choice as to how we structure the region so that we have participants literally participating according to international rules, or whether we isolate and expel or alienate one of the major participants and give them cause not to comply by the rules and indeed to break and stretch the rules.”

Mr Rudd’s position, he said, was that Australia would not be “subservient or submissive” to China. But at the same time, Australia should not support any alliances that were seen to be an attempt to encircle China.

For this reason, Labor opposed any ANZUS-style defence treaty with Japan and formal security talks involving Australia, the US, Japan and India.

Prime Minister John Howard has conceded a new security co-operation agreement signed with Japan in March could lead to a formal defence treaty — a development Mr Rudd has warned could “unnecessarily tie our security interests to the vicissitudes of an unknown security policy future in north-east Asia”.

Mr McClelland was less diplomatic. A defence pact with Japan would mean “we would be compelled to go to war if they were attacked”, he said.

I disagree that an alliance with Japan would be a bad idea (although I think it should be bi-lateral, rather than multi-lateral, as that could slightly allay Chinese fears of being encircled), but I do think that if the US persists on its current course it will be continually sapped of its national strength. Although I think an alliance with Japan would be a good idea, I do not think that Japan could constitutionally live up to its treaty obligations, so any alliance with Japan should be put on hold until the legality of such an alliance is made clear.

4 Responses to “US power wont last – Australian opposition party”

  1. comment number 1 by: Ken

    Democracy is better than any other political system at present because the possibility to make mistake is less.
    Number of Communist Party of China is decreasing and merely 5% of the population now.
    China is in saturation of problems and some of them will burst after Shanghai Expo.
    Communist Party is supposed to divert the frustration to them to outside such as Tibet, Taiwan, etc.
    In order to protect the human right and peace of those areas, democratic coutries shoul ally and put pressure on China to adopt democracy.

  2. comment number 2 by: ponta

    It is true that the US is pulling back from Asia.
    It is also true that China is going to be a major economic and military power in the region.
    But one should neither underestimate nor overestimate the facts.
    Yes, there is a fear that Washington may accommodate China’s new regional influence “at the expense of traditional alliance commitments in Asia,
    But it should be kept in mind that China keeps strengthening military power despite its unstable economic and deteriorating environmental factors.
    I am inclined to think the US will be staying power in the region anyway.
    But with or without the US strength in the region, I think the alliance is vital for stability of the region.
    That said, yes, Japan should do something about the interpretation of “collective defence”

  3. comment number 3 by: General Tiger

    the fact that China is going to be a major economic and military power in our region

    I hope this never happens.

  4. comment number 4 by: Ken

    Mercury from Chinese power plant is reaching to the USA already.
    Chinese poisonous materials are spreading world wide.
    The impact of refugee by global heating is estimated the most serious to the USA.
    China will take main responsibility for heat up as the USA can stop it with bio-ethanol.
    Therefore, the USA should keep working on this region.