Only a united Australia can meet the challenges of a changing world

Only a united Australia can meet the challenges of a changing world, by John Anderson.

The advent of social media has provided a rudimentary global public square, which Australians have taken to using with enthusiasm. However, the level of abuse, emotion, hatred and splintering that it is producing has led economic historian Niall Ferguson to observe that it is so destabilising it may yet render our societies ­ungovernable. …

The Americans have effectively signalled a new cold war with China. Their trade war with China is under way but this is about a great deal more than the belief, both by Republicans and Democrats, that the Chinese are not trading fairly. Vice-President Mike Pence has charged China with stealing US commercial secrets on an industrial scale, meddling in US politics, seeking influ­ence in US institutions such as universities and engaging in debt-trap diplomacy with the Third World to gain global influence and displace America, particularly from the western Pacific. …

Perhaps an even more frightening reflection of our complacency is that we have not built the strategic fuel reserves that we committed to having in place under the terms of the International Energy Agency. We have little liquid fuel self-sufficiency any more, and 40 to 45 ships are heading towards Australia at any given time carrying the vital fuel supplies that are absolutely critical to the functioning of our economy. Many of those ships pass near the southern end of the South China Sea, where the potential for miscalculation, or worse, cannot be discounted, with an interruption to shipping leaving Australia almost crippled within a matter of days.

Most Australians assume we are fairly self-sufficient in oil (we used to be) or that we have prudent supply levels. Not so. It’s been allowed to slip. Naturally the media are all over it (hint: what’s in it for the left?).

hat-tip Stephen Neil