American wokeness is giving China free rein in the Pacific - The Australian – 04.06.22

This article by Frank Furedi for The Australian begins with these words of caution:

Australia, along with many Western nations, has become estranged from the art of geopolitics. How else can one explain the fact that both Australia and close ally, the United States were so badly caught off guard by China’s recent expansion into the South Pacific?

While Australia and the US slept, China succeeded in signing a comprehensive defence pact with Solomon Islands. The pact, announced in April, represents a major diplomatic coup for China.

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Until recently the US, Australia and New Zealand have exercised a dominant influence in this resource rich part of the Pacific. Now China has expanded its influence into the South Pacific, the pre-existing balance of power has been called into question.

That the Solomon Islands government felt empowered to reject Australia’s and the US’s objection to the pact indicates which way the wind is blowing.

Last month, then defence minister Peter Dutton attributed China’s success to an uneven playing field involving tactics with which no Australian government could compete. However, Dutton’s response is a case of crying over spilt milk. The reason why China succeeded is because its regime is fully versed in the art of realpolitik, while its Western competitors have become estranged from the imperative of geopolitics.

The Biden administration, in particular, has adopted a woke foreign policy that appears obsessive about exporting the cultural politics of identity to the rest of the world. Lecturing the world about the necessity of embracing the woke values of the Western cultural elites has become an integral feature of Biden’s diplomacy.

As it turns out, the project of woke colonialism sits uneasily alongside the pursuit of American – or for that matter Australian – geopolitical interests. Large parts of the world are positively turned off by America’s woke values, and their people resent being told how to lead their lives.

Recently, this point was underlined by Jose Ramos-Horta, a Nobel Peace prize winner who is President of East Timor. He warned South Pacific Island nations were turning towards China because of the patronising way they have been treated by Australia and the West. “Why would the Solomon Islands seek out China for support in maritime security and for the police?” he asked? He replied to his question by stating; “

Maybe because the Solomon Islands’ closest neighbour, in this case Australia, has not responded to their need. Maybe their neighbour wasted time lecturing them on human rights instead of trying to help.”

What Ramos-Horta is really saying is that thanks to the geopolitical illiteracy of woke diplomacy, China was able to go some way towards realising its strategic objective in the South Pacific.

For the full article in pdf, please click here:

American wokeness is giving China free rein in the Pacific by Frank Furedi for The Austral
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