From “Friend”, To “Threat” – In Just Five Years.

96
2017

WELL, THANK YOU, JACINDA! In just five years, you and your government have turned New Zealanders decisively against their country’s most important trading partner. According to research released today by the Asia New Zealand Foundation, the number of Kiwis who view China as a “friend” has fallen from 62 percent in 2017, to just 13 percent today. Meanwhile, the number viewing the People’s Republic as a “threat” has risen from 18 to 58 percent, over the same period.

This dramatic rise (40 percentage points!) in the “threat” perception, is the entirely predictable result of a relentless, American-led, campaign to demonise, isolate and “contain” China. New Zealand’s “Five Eyes” partners, heedless of the economic consequences for New Zealand, have cajoled and bullied its political class into becoming China critics. They simply do not care that close to 40 percent of this country’s trade is with China. None of them are willing to compensate its loss by opening their markets to New Zealand exports. As far as Washington, London, Ottawa and Canberra are concerned, Wellington is simply paying the price of putting all its milk powder in one basket.

It is difficult to grasp the precise cause of the West’s falling-out of love with China. Since the late-1970s, the leading industrial powers have been falling over themselves to invest in the Chinese economic miracle. Without compunction, or compassion, they relocated Western industrial production to an authoritarian state where labour costs were low and unions docile, denuding in the process entire regions of the factories that had kept millions of their own workers gainfully employed. There were no complaints then about China’s lack of democracy, indeed, its absence was pretty much the whole point!

Ask them, today, what they were thinking, and they’ll spin you the usual yarn about how certain they were that this new, mutually beneficial, economic relationship would lead to the gradual liberalisation of the Chinese regime. Just as it had in the Soviet Union, democracy was coming to the PRC. You are invited to imagine their surprise and horror when Beijing opted, instead, to combine the Chinese people’s economic prowess with the Communist Party of China’s authoritarian political impulses. Western investment hadn’t created a friend, it had produced a monster!

To which we are all entitled to call “Bullshit!”.

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Let’s just consider the counterfactual that China had, indeed, embraced democracy, or something approaching it – a la Singapore. According to the West’s own theories, the country would have become even more powerful, economically and culturally. It’s people, freed from the tutelage of the Communist Party, would have grown even more confident and productive. In other words, China’s inexorable rise to global economic dominance would have happened faster under democracy than it did under authoritarianism.

It is simply implausible to argue that the United States would have behaved any differently when faced with a democratic Chinese hegemon than it has in relation to the real-world authoritarian China. What can be asserted, however, is that if China had adopted democracy, then the United States would have found it a great deal easier to destabilise and dominate.

That’s the great attraction of democratic political systems to the United States, they are just so pathetically easy to subvert. Pick a colour – any colour – and Uncle Sam will organise a “revolution” in no time. Don’t believe me? Go ask Serbia, Georgia, Ukraine. Or, dig out Time of 15 July 1996, and read the Cover Story: “Yanks to the Rescue: The Secret Story of How American Advisers Helped Yeltsin Win.”

There are, of course, many ways to destabilise and break-up a rival nation. If its authoritarian political system makes the organisation of a “colour revolution” impossible, then a global superpower can always stir up ethnic and religious communities in border regions with sympathetic neighbours. Arms can be smuggled across mountain and desert frontiers. Jihadists can be schooled in terror. Bombs can go off in crowded marketplaces. Innocent people can die. The Chinese have watched and learned, and in Xinjiang they have applied the lessons.

Once again it helps to apply the counterfactual. Imagine a China whose leaders were unwilling to take the measures necessary to suppress an Islamist insurgency. Very quickly, Xinjiang would have come to resemble Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria. Terrorist atrocities would have become commonplace. Beijing would have been forced to field substantial military and intelligence resources to its autonomous region. Communal hatreds would have grown and spread. Hundreds-of-thousands of the native Uighur population would have fled, or been interned. How different, in terms of repression, suffering and death, would it be from the present situation?

Not that these sort of questions are ever posed by the political classes of the Five Eyes powers and their Asian allies. Roughly six years ago, America’s strategic thinkers finally abandoned their dream of a democratic China that the USA could control, and began to intensify its parallel policy of containment. An important part of that effort was the co-ordination of elite opinion across the Indo-Pacific.

It was necessary, now, for earlier narratives of co-operation and friendship with the Chinese – of which New Zealand was a leading exponent – to be abandoned in favour of Washington’s new narrative of a dangerous and expansionist China, hellbent on establishing, first, regional hegemony, and then, full global dominance.

How easily that change of narrative was achieved by Washington should prompt New Zealanders to query the robustness of their own democratic institutions. That there has been no significant divergence of opinion concerning New Zealand’s pivot away from its largest trading partner – with all that entails for the health of New Zealand’s economy and society – should, surely, give us pause. This country’s much vaunted “independent foreign policy” stands revealed as rhetoric – not reality.

Uncle Sam has informed us that New Zealand is at war with Eastasia: that New Zealand has always been at war with Eastasia. Dutifully, our politicians, academics and journalists have contributed lustily to the compulsory “Five Minute Hate” against the People’s Republic. The “friend” that made us rich, has become a “threat” to be contained.

When the export orders dry up – and they will if China decides we’ve become her enemy – then we’ll have no one to blame but ourselves – oh, and our “very, very, very good friends”.

96 COMMENTS

  1. Trotter forgets to mention that it’s not so much NZ that changed, as China’s turning to a far more aggressive international policy.

    ‘Wolf Warrior’ diplomacy does not win any friends. Neither does Xi’s increased repression of internal dissenters.

    • Nah. We’ve always been useless lazy marketeers and America groupies. New Zealand had it easy flogging off good quality but badly-presented produce until Britain joined the EEC, and in spite of the valiant efforts of Honest Jack Marshall, we had to get out and find new markets, throttled by the selling process being controlled by government bodies lacking in just about everything needed to sell well. The current situation is more the result of clinging to the sinking ship of glitzy bully America the Great than Chinese political intrigue IMO. It was predictable that somebody like Jacinda would trot along like Hollywood John.

    • Yep, I think you’re correct Ada. It was China that changed, not us.
      The West was prepared to embrace China as it liberalised. We were prepared to support their industrialisation if it created a middle class. Naive thinking IMO but hey, it was the prevailing view of the globalists.
      Then Xi came to power, made himself president-for-life,began locking up his peers and minority groups, threatened neighbouring states and embarked on a massive military expansion. Covid came, along with all those CPC lies. I suspect that’s coloured the views of many here in the West.

      • oh you mean they thoroughly rejected the ‘100 years of humiliation’ at the hands of colonial powers, what a bunch of bastards huh?

    • South China Sea Expansion and now down into the Pacific by a country who can only feed about 40% of its 1.4 billion population. Then there’s climate change and the likelihood of food shortages in both the short and long term.

      If that doesnt scare you Chris, what will? Consider Sun Tzu and China’ s history of playing the long game, Belt and Road anyone? Expansion into Tibet, now maybe India. Partnership with Russia, Militarised pseudo fishing fleets.

      1975, my Dad said about ANZUS which we were studying at school. We may not like America but we can never be complacent about China. They need 2 things, resources and food and the Yanks are the only thing standing between them and the Anzacs.

      Nearly 50 years later and that statement is still true.

      • but you don’t find the US navy carrier taskforces blockading china an issue? fantail
        cos that’s not threatening or aggressive is it??

  2. In the end, it’s very simple. Former General Wesley Clark has admitted that after the 9/11 attacks, the neocons who Bush put in charge used it as an excuse to plan to destroy seven nations that they claimed were ‘threats’ as quickly as possible- first Iraq, then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Iran, Somalia and the Sudan. The plan was to get this done by the end of Bush’s second term.

    Fortunately, the heroes of the Iraqi and Afghan resistance made things as difficult as possible for the yanks, and they have not been able to complete their plans. Somalia and the Sudan have been grievously wounded by American perfidy but not fully invaded. Lebanon has been subjected to vicious sanctions, but the heroes of Hezbollah and their Christian allies continue to fight back. Libya was completely destroyed, and now there are open air slave markets, but there are still elements who want to restore it to what it was- the most prosperous and equal nation in Africa.

    But Syria and Iran, the nations they most wanted to destroy, still stand, despite open ground invasions in the case of the former and American sponsored terrorism in the case of both. But they would not, without the assistance of the anti-colonial powers of China and Russia. That’s why the enemies of humanity hate China and Russia so much.

    • Fortunately, the heroes of the Iraqi and Afghan resistance made things as difficult as possible for the yanks…But Syria and Iran, the nations they most wanted to destroy, still stand,

      Chuckle. Let us turn to the poster:
      Imagine a China whose leaders were unwilling to take the measures necessary to suppress an Islamist insurgency. Very quickly, Xinjiang would have come to resemble Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria. Terrorist atrocities would have become commonplace. Beijing would have been forced to field substantial military and intelligence resources to its autonomous region. Communal hatreds would have grown and spread. Hundreds-of-thousands of the native Uighur population would have fled, or been interned. How different, in terms of repression, suffering and death, would it be from the present situation?

      Islamists bad. Yanks bad. Chinese Commies good. No worries about “murdering innocent brown people” when it comes to them, although admittedly your screed is nothing more than low-rent boilerplate, Far Left shit posting. 🙂

  3. That’s just one more thing Labour has fucked up. OMG, there is soooooooo much to be undone and fix for the next govt. Best part? We can then all scream “THE PREVIOUS GOVT” for a few years. I am already making t-shirts!

    • Dream on… thou dost protest too much methinks…

      Better phone up Sri Lanka and ask them how that hopey changey China thing is working out for them…

      If not them, then Kenya….Hong Kong anyone? The list of disasters goes on everywhere you care to look.

      The supposed free trade deal was a stupid naive thing for N.Z to sign up.
      It was just like taking candy from a baby for China.

      And then Key’s easy money philosophy, opening the flood gates for rapid growth at any cost . Really dumb and reckless!!
      But hey , it’s all Jacinda’s fault because this Government is trying to right the ship and restore some equilibrium.

      Who the hell wants to be subservient to a super power like China. Especially one with such a terrible track record.
      China making us rich? What a myth…What a joke….

      • i remember having a conversation with moana mackay, a gisborne labour MP, when helen clarke was writing up the FTA with china. i said it was a mistake that would come back to bite us on the arse. she said that china desperately wanted to be accepted by the west, i said that a country that has sixty reasons to execute someone, and none of those reasons are murder, wasnt looking for acceptance, they were talking shit.

  4. She is picking the side of the losers. The dying Empires, present and past. This can only mean one thing. Lil ole NZ will die with them.

    • Indeed. An absolutely unforced error.

      The head of the African Union, Macky Sall, has called for the sanctions war that America and its colonies have levied against the Russian people to be lifted. It’s a great tragedy that our nation is under a stronger colonial occupation than it ever has been before, and America is an even more evil master than Britain.

      • Kia ora John
        The present government is more abjectly colonialist than any in recent memory, perhaps any in our history. But tangata motu are also in a stronger position than at any time since 1870, so are faced with a historical opportunity to end colonialism once and for all. To do so we need to follow the tikanga of steadfast unity of all iwi and peoples (kotahitanga), complete separation from the colonialist regime (mana motuhake) and true popular democracy (rangatiratanga).

      • Russia under their crazy lunatic colonial leader Herr Putin is a Pariah following on from his heros Hitler and Stalin. If anyone can demonstrate that what Russia is up to now is not criminal? A world war with Nucleur waepons may be needed to reset the world order by those left standing.

  5. The stars have aligned…appropriately perhaps given our Matariki phenomenon–which is likely to be viewed as a lasting legacy of this Labour Govt. in a few years time…yes a post by our esteemed Mr Trotter that I agree with!

    Jacinda cuddling up to NATO and the seppos is stomach turning for those of us that fought for a Nuke Free NZ and supported Helen Clark’s more genuine independent foreign policy.

    Oh well, I guess the positive, hard as it may be, is shifting from industrial dairying to other activity.

    Neither Washington, Moscow or Beijing!–for working class internationalism!

    • As a Chinese, it’s disgusting to see kiwi justifying Xi’s Xinjiang policy. You are just like CCP’s five cents to repeat the party line.

  6. China doesn’t do “friends” China is only interested in partnerships so long as they provide China what they want and need. China doesn’t need NZ to be it’s mate: we are a tiny, powerless country near Antarctica that they could crush at will.

    Same with all the so called super powers. We are a small pawn in a big game right now. A literal leaf blown about by the global wind

  7. Never a friend, always a threat, it’s just the naive womble could not see it because she was making money.

  8. With the msm here giving so much coverage to the Brady lady & following the USA line it is not a surprise that public opinion here has changed regarding China.
    What is less well known is that this exact dominance of the USA was predicted over 1900 years ago as one of the signs of the end. While most people would rather believe in modern fairy tales than a more sure word of prophecy it is not a surprise that current events are not seen for their true significance.

    • It’s hilarious that someone who hysterically blamed Chinese spies for her kids fiddling with the valve caps on one of her wheels is taken seriously, despite the fact that the police and everyone else who had their time wasted ‘investigating’ that incident did everything but laugh in her face. We are a failed state.

  9. It’s reds under the bed all over again.

    The Blairite, Ardern would have preferred to deal with Tony’s pal George, but will suck up to any US President who happens to occupy the WH.
    Expect news conferences about sightings of Chinese submarines in the Tasman Sea.

    And don’t expect her to protest Assange’s crucifixion either.

  10. When Jacinda Ardern assumed office five years ago and received the security chiefs’ memo on China, she had only two choices.
    The first, and proper choice, would have been to immediately disestablish the SIS and the GCSB, as has been done in other nations faced with an attempted coup from within their security services.
    The second was to submit to the demands of the security chiefs, join NATO and adopt a belligerent approach to the PRC.
    It came as no surprise to many of us that she chose the second option. Having worked as a policy analyst for Tony Blair, she has form in that regard. But what sort of policy analyst would risk destroying New Zealand capitalism and with it the colonialist regime for no material gain? A Jacinda Ardern sort of policy analyst. Hold on folks, it is going to be a rough ride from here on.

    • Geoff Was she a policy analyst or merely an adviser? The advisers are a dime a dozen and provide politicians with the info/research which they need to do their jobs – info which the old politicians with sfa aides, used to provide for themselves. For someone who apparently doesn’t read books, it’s hard to see her doing either job very well.

      • either way she learned to dissemble at the knee of a master of the ‘deliberate factual inexactitude’

  11. I’ve e noticed across the blogs the polarised opinions on every subject of the day. The most glaring issue is our collective inability to separate our postion on an issue with the facts. Enmasse we are caught up in that post modern version of reality, “truth is how you interprzt it, if you don’t like the fact make them whatever suites your argument “.

    I’ve posted on Ukraine and been called Ivan for stating reality. The same happens when inconvenient facts are pointed out on any subject. It would appear that the propaganda and PR machines have split us asunder from objective truth and reality.

    I’m currently in Washington where there are homeless peoples tents on the grass strip in the middle of the road. I turned on TV and got Fox accusing the Dems of making up fantasies and lies, CNN ditto for the Reps.

    I was in Beijing two years ago, not exactly a democratic state with lots of cops everywhere. That said it was friendly and business as normal, just like here in the US but with no evident homeless people.

    So as to NZ relations with China. We are caught up in a fight and one party is asking us into their camp. To our cost both if they lose and if they win. Neither are our unreserved friend. I’d advocate neutrality.

    • Ditto, non alignment, with bilateral trade and cultural relations with any country we choose rather than being locked into imperialist trading and military blocs.

      Jacinda Ardern has many talents but a class left political analysis is not one of them!

      • Yes she does have many talents. Are they the right talents to run a country that is fast falling behind the rest of the world…does she have those talents? Is she like…a Wayne Smith? I don’t think so.

    • Buy buy but coward Kraut said it’s all Jacindas and Labours fault, oh plus the global recession, she started it. He’s already doing t shirts ” Coward Kraut”

    • Nick J agree with you in the main having been to Washington and Beijing.
      My only question is are the homeless in Beijing kept out of sight?

    • The problem is not about post-modernism, but about a seeming need for simple lies and to be whipped into one propagandised frenzy or another.

      What the hell has happened to us? The populace seems to actually be waiting for the next side show in order to wave some flag and rattle an imaginary sabre.

      Why on earth would we start believing and cheering on the latest US fairy- tale just as it is falling under the weight of its own bullshit?

      This is not to be on the ‘other’ side. What the hell is going on with us that we seem to feel such a desperate need to vehemently polarise out of the ability to think? These are very dangerous times. We have become a tinder box begging for a flame.

      • actually what now the concept of ‘all readings of a text being equal’ is the ancestor of ‘alternative facts’ and ‘my reality’ so yes post modernism is the core root of the problem

  12. Chris, you know very well this was led by media and National Party criticism of the government (in particular the foreign minister – and that is connected to the Three Waters campaign) being weak in defending Pacific from China. That is why the poll only indicates a very recent change – it was not one led by the government. For some time the government has been accused (more in the media than National in this instance) of being too moderate on human rights in China and on Hong Kong to maintain the relationship with China.

    As for Oceania – Oceania is at war with Eurasia and always has been, thus it engages in diplomacy with Eastasia (whom it has never been at war with since the records of WW2 and 1950-53 Korea were placed in the room not to be opened until we resume war with Eastasia).

    • Are you suggesting Labour Government bullied by the media?
      The media they pay $55 million to?

    • Anyone who knows the content of the Security Chiefs’ memo, or listened to the Red Line podcasts will know that the China confrontation policy is being driven by agencies of state, if not by the government per se. The SIS asked Jacinda to initiate a public dialogue on the threat posed by the PRC and ethnic Chinese in New Zealand, which is code for mounting an anti-Chinese campaign for the purpose of turning public opinion. The government has delivered that. Arguably the only thing of substance that it has delivered over the past five years. There has been an unrelenting barrage of anti-China propaganda, some of it founded on fact, some of it embellished, and some of it pure invention and all of it stripped of context.

  13. Practically everything I buy these days has a label in it: “Made in China”. It’s all good stuff too so we are at their mercy until we begin manufacturing our own stuff again (and it’s not like we haven’t got the raw materials.) Jacinda did great stuff by making the single use plastic bag extinct in this country but all that came to an abrupt halt and now it’s all “shovel ready” projects, doing up settlers’ halls and so on.

  14. It ultimately comes down to that if you had to choose between “American values and way of life” vs “Chinese values and way of life”, you tend to gravitate toward the former… if you grew up in New Zealand.

  15. Brilliant analysis of the astonishing and bizarre attitude of the 5 eyes nations towards their, collectively speaking, most important and largest trading partner. The US, Australian and NZ economies, in particular, are fully dependent on or integrated into the Chinese economy.
    There was a good Australian comedy sketch that came out shortly after the announcement of AUKUS.
    A room full of Australian generals are discussing the rational for their new militaristic posturing towards China.
    General 1 “We must be ready to defend our most important trading routes at sea from the Chinese navy.”
    General 2 “Who are our most important trading routes with?.”
    This is followed by an embarrassed silence and sheepish looks as they realize it makes no sense.

    • Truly wonderful Peter. Thats why well armed neutrality is my stance. Really that means making the cost of physical attack too high for an aggressor.

      The biggest worry for a trading nation is surely getting goods to market with buyers and suppliers. Its not a good sign when China is a third of our trade yet our key ally US takes a mere 10 percent. Our Asian trade is only going to grow as India, Malaysia, Indonesia grow demographically and economically.

      Ultimately we Kiwis love the US, we are culturally aligned but they dont feed us.

  16. The problem has been President Xi and he may try to install himself as president for life as Putin has. Xi is more extreme than any Chinese leader since Mao. A more moderate leader would redress the balance.

  17. This dramatic rise (40 percentage points!) in the “threat” perception, is the entirely predictable result of a relentless, American-led, campaign to demonise, isolate and “contain” China.

    The same American-led propaganda that has failed to convince NZ on numerous other issues over the last three decades? Right. And it’s nothing that China has done? Of course. We, political class and all, were all mind melded into doing US bidding because we’re really that easily manipulated by US propaganda.

    Unlike you and the other giant-brained Leftie mammals residing here.

    It is difficult to grasp the precise cause of the West’s falling-out of love with China.

    Actually it’s not. It’s called Hong Kong; endless sabre rattling over Taiwan; intimidation of various SE Asian nations – to the extent that even the Philippines, the Philippines for crying out loud are back to siding with the USA; vast amounts of industrial espionage; the Confucius Institutes and their poisonous propaganda, culminating with MP’s Raymond Huo (Labour) and Jian Yang (National).

    Supported those two and their relentless support for everything China, did you? I’d like to think not but looking at these comments there are any number of sad old “tankies” who’d support anything as long as it’s anti-Yank.

    • Hong Kong? What human rights violations?
      How many rioters have the cops killed in spite of huge provocations (such as trashing the legislative council etc). ZERO. If same protests had happened in US the cops would have killed protesters …oh wait…they did

  18. So long as Australia remains enthralled to American interests then we will be sure to follow and they truly are a little America these days.

  19. oh you mean they thoroughly rejected the ‘100 years of humiliation’ at the hands of colonial powers, what a bunch of bastards huh?

  20. WELL, THANK YOU, JACINDA! In just five years, you and your government have turned New Zealanders decisively against their country’s most important trading partner.

    Chuckle. I’d forgotten this recent tirade from US Leftie Matt Taibbi about another Great Leftist Hero, The Vanishing Legacy of Barack Obama:
    On the road from stirring symbol of hope and change to the Fat Elvis of neoliberalism, birthday-partying Barack Obama sold us all out
    AHAHAHA. Brilliant. More good stuff at the link. Now in no way can we equate Ardern to Fat Elvis, but there are other faded stars that could fit? Lindsay Lohan is my choice comparison.

  21. I don’t like China. I suggest less trade with it. Like every other surrounding country.

    It’s aggressive foreign policy lately is the only reason. Perfectly happy with Deng.

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