The unjustified, vicious, and intensive attacks of Communist China against the Australian economy bear the cost, but security, sovereignty, and freedom are priceless. But the hopes of the exporters and business community for better with China is evidence of deep ignorance on the treatment of trade by Communist regimes.
On Tuesday, it has become known that Communist China imposed a ban on Australian beef. In the last five weeks, Beijing hit the Australian economy with unjustified inspections, tariffs, and delays at ports, which incurred costs on exporters. Multiple times China violated agreements with Australia because it had no legal reason for such actions.
The reaction of exporters?
Australian Meat Industry Council stated despite the hit, the Council chief executive, Patrick Hutchinson, admitted Australian beef exports could be "the second-biggest year on record to China" referring to both volume and value. Mr. Huthinson, despite the clear sign that Beijing cut off the imports, indefinitely hoped for change.
He is not alone "hoping against hope" that is living by an unrealistic dream. A few weeks, earlier his colleague from the wine industry, Mr. Tony Battaglene of Australian Grape and Wine, thought that Beijing would not impose tariffs after all. It did.
Two weeks ago, Beijing had stopped the import of all timber from the Australian state of Victoria after customs officials said they had discovered pests. Chinese inspectors suddenly assessed that the wineries were illegally subsiding their products, that the same was happening to many other products, including coal, barley, copper ore and concentrate, sugar, and lobster. But it was not true. All of the issues are manufactured and aimed to inflict significant damage to the Australian economy.
Therefore it is important to realise that Communist China stopped to conceal its hostility towards Australia.
Secondly, one needs to understand that Beijing's use of trade as a weapon for achieving its foreign policy goals is not new.
Had the Soviet Union made Western Europe dependent on the imports of gas and oil from Siberia, Europe would still be divided. There would be Berlin Wall, the Red Army on the East German border, and its proxies as far as Vietnam or Indonesia. Kremlin would be preparing for the final nuclear confrontation with the West.
But the Ronald Reagan administration, unlike its predecessors, understood the hidden plans of the Soviets. Kremlin was building the Urengoi-6 pipeline from deep Siberia to northern Germany financing, with loans from.. foreign lenders. Reagan forced foreign banks to make Soviet to repay the existent debt and cut on new loans. US President also banned the sale of modern turbines as well as other technology for drilling under the extreme temperatures of northern Russia. Thus he put the Soviet project of making Europe dependent on the energy supplies into liquidation. Unfortunately, the Reagan lesson was abandoned, and after 1989 European politicians were not interested to help countries newly liberated from the domination of Moscow to diversify its energy supplies. Partly naive, partly corrupted political and business figures claimed that Russia has changed and choosing a path to capitalism and democracy.
After World War II the Soviet Union subjugated the economies of Central European countries, cut off from the West with the Iron Curtain, by binding them with its network of gas and oil pipelines. These economies lost their sovereignty due to the fact that the Kremlin could always increase the price of energy or simply cut off the supplies.
During the Yeltsin era, Kremlin appeared to be unwilling to attack the vulnerable states with trade instruments. But after KGB colonel Vladimir Putin acquired power the situation has changed dramatically.
Whenever Moscow wanted to achieve any foreign policy goals or preserve still existent Soviet interest in Central Europe it would attack exporters of vegetables, meat, dairy, or any other goods suddenly accusing of breaching of its veterinary regulations, or finding technical failures in exports which until then were perfectly fine. The major test occurred in 2004 when Putin in an attempt to enforce the higher price on the ruler of Moscow-dependent Belorussia. In the middle of winter, he cut off supplies of gas and oil ignoring the fact that Belorussia consumed only some part of the imports and the major part was reexported to Central Europe, namely Poland and Germany.
Mr. Putin did not shy to blackmail Russia's "partner" state with the energy supplies having a full understanding of the pain he inflicted on millions of innocent people.
Millions of homes, thousands of hospitals, and the rest of the economy, including the petrochemical sector, in Poland, faced a disaster. Fortunately, the emergency reserves sufficed for the country to survive the crises imposed by Mr. Putin.
But this example illustrates the despots' thinking of the economy and their care, or rather disregard, for human life.
Since then, Kremlin has used several times its "economic weapon" Ukraine, and Georgia often winning.
Australian exporters must understand that relying on exports to the country which disregards Australian values and violates treaties while preparing for war with the West is not strategic thinking.
In the coming decades, Communist China will become equally dangerous, or even more in some aspects, a Communist empire like the Soviet Union of 1970 and 1980s. The danger of global nuclear war, or worse the defeat of the West without any resistance, has been becoming more real every year.
Last week, Director of the US National Intelligence John Ratcliffe declared China as the greatest threat to freedom and democracy in the world.
The intelligence is clear: Beijing intends to dominate the U.S. and the rest of the planet economically, militarily, and technologically, Mr. Ratcliffe wrote in The Wall Street Journal.
The People’s Republic of China poses the greatest threat to America today, and the greatest threat to democracy and freedom worldwide since World War II, he added.
Australia's business, like their counterparts from the Western countries, could learn a lesson from the Cold War and use their economic powers to bankrupt Communist China.
It would be the strategic goal for real leaders whose interest is not in personal wealth or privileges but the future of the Western world based on freedom and liberties.
But the most immediate is a need for understanding that Mr. Xi Jinping stopped the Chinese policy of refraining from using trade as an "economic weapon" to achieve its foreign policy objectives.
Australian politicians who are seeking a strategy to effectively defend, in the spirit of non-partisanship, the sovereignty of the country is a treasure.
Indeed, liberty, values, and Western lifestyle in Australia, which currently is under the attack of Communist Beijing, are worthy of paying any price to defend.