Buyer’s Remorse


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I am much enjoying reading Geoff Raby’s book, “China’s Grand Strategy and Australia’s Future in the new Global Order” which provides fascinating perspectives on China’s place in the world and its relationship with other countries, particularly the US and Australia. It’s a ‘must-read’ for readers of China Bites who are generally open-minded on these issues and willing to understand the history and context that have got us to this point.

In particular, I liked this paragraph on page 26 which nicely sums up the current situation:

China scares its neighbours. The US has declared it a strategic competitor and now also in Europe China’s strategic intention and potential threat are under review. The Chinese leadership’s suspicion that the world is out to get it leads to behaviour that begets suspicion, and the way the world responds feeds that suspicion, in the end ‘creating the very insecurity that Xi has been trying to avoid.’ In this way, successful defence of China’s core strategic interests has taken the country back to where it was in the 1960s, beset with enemies – real or imagined – within and without“.

It required some visionary leaders like Nixon, Kissinger and Whitlam to start engaging with China in the early 1970s and to begin the process that led to China joining the WTO in 2001. The world got richer as a result but, as Geoff nicely puts it, is now suffering from “buyers remorse”.

Knowing that “greed” normally wins out over “fear” in the long run, and that economies need to be rebuilt after the global pandemic, I’m sure it won’t be long before democratically elected politicians rush to buy Geoff’s book which will go a long way to addressing some of the misunderstandings we’re facing in 2021. In the meantime, I recommend you join me by reading it now.

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