The world’s approach to containing China’s rise resembles the “catastrophic failure” to prevent the advance of Nazi Germany, the head of Australia’s parliamentary intelligence committee warned Thursday.
Andrew Hastie said the country’s sovereignty and freedoms could be threatened by Beijing, much as France lost its territory to Germany at the beginning of World War II.
“Like the French, Australia has failed to see how mobile our authoritarian neighbour has become,” he wrote in the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper.
“The next decade will test our democratic values, our economy, our alliances and our security like no other time in Australian history.”
Hastie added that his country had failed to recognise the role of Communist ideology in China’s infrastructure building spree in the Asia-Pacific region, just as Western countries had once failed to understand the motivations of former Soviet Union dictator Joseph Stalin.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Hastie’s remarks were not the views of the government but added the lawmaker was “entirely entitled to provide his perspective”.
Excerpts from Andrew Hastie’s speech:
The West once believed that economic liberalisation would naturally lead to democratisation in China. This was our Maginot Line. It would keep us safe, just as the French believed their series of steel and concrete forts would guard them against the German advance in 1940. But their thinking failed catastrophically. The French had failed to appreciate the evolution of mobile warfare. Like the French, Australia has failed to see how mobile our authoritarian neighbour has become. …
Even worse, we ignore the role that ideology plays in China’s actions …
The West has made this mistake before. Commentators once believed Stalin’s decisions were the rational actions of a realist great power. But the Princeton Professor of History, Stephen Kotkin, found otherwise, after years of sifting through the archives of top Soviet meetings. He discovered that Stalin and his advisers “said the same things as they said in their propaganda … [using] all the Marxian categories, because it turns out the Communists were Communists! They believed in the ideas and it’s only by taking the ideas and politics seriously, can you understand the phenomenon.”
We must be intellectually honest and take the Chinese leadership at its word. We are dealing with a fundamentally different vision for the world. Xi Jinping has made his vision of the future abundantly clear since becoming President in 2013. His speeches show that the tough choices ahead will be shaped, at least on the PRC side, by ideology — communist ideology, or in his words, by “Marxist-Leninism and Mao Zedong Thought”.
Xi’s view of the future is one where capitalism will be eclipsed and “the consolidation of and development of the socialist system will require its own long period of history … it will require the tireless struggle of generations, up to 10 generations”.
I noticed the ABC News coverage made no mention of pig-iron Bob.