Gearing up for China’s rise as biggest economic power

Gearing up for China’s rise as biggest economic power, by Bernard Salt.

America is likely to retain military supremacy until at least the middle of the century and possibly longer. …

This is important for a nation like Australia. The only way we can claim the resources (and the lifestyle that those resources deliver) of an entire continent is if we retain the imprimatur of the prevailing world super power.

Australia’s freedoms and prosperity were assured by Britain in the 19th century and by America in the 20th century. But this world view changes in the 21st century.

In US dollar terms America’s GDP is today about 50 per cent bigger than China’s GDP. A decade ago the differential was closer to 300 per cent in favour of America. By 2028 the differential is projected to be 6 per cent. By 2030, China will command the greatest economic force in history.

A decade ago Australia’s leading export market was Japan; today it is China. A decade ago Australia’s leading source of immigrants was New Zealand; today it is China. A decade ago Sydney airport offered direct flights into one city in mainland China (Shanghai); today it connects with 20 cities. A decade ago neither China nor America had any direct interests in Australia’s north; today China commands a lease over the Port of Darwin and America rotates marines through Robertson Barracks. …

The challenge for Australia is to ensure that the status quo is maintained whereby military support is provided by America and income support is provided by China.  …

I might add that we Australians have form in switching sides to save ourselves. Prime minister John Curtin pleaded with president Franklin Roosevelt in December 1941 to come to our aid when the Japanese were advancing towards Australia. In that speech, Curtin made it clear that we looked to America “free of any pangs as to our traditional kinship with the United Kingdom”. We are, and we will forever remain, a small nation whose destiny is to respond to shifts in the balance of power in our region.

hat-tip Stephen Neil