Prime Minister Scott Morrison was in New York last week for the UN general assembly. While there, he held US President Donald Trump’s feet to the fire, challenging his lopsided and reckless policies in various parts of the globe, including but not limited to: Venezuela, Iran, Syria, Yemen, Ukraine, Russia and China. Specifically, Morrison took Trump to task over his trade war of attrition with Beijing, which has sent shockwaves through global markets and which threatens to cause serious and long-lasting disruption to the world economy.
Wait—that’s not right. Let’s rewind and try again.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison was in New York … and licked the boots of US President Donald Trump. That’s better. Morrison not-so-subtly hit out at China and expressed support for the idea (promulgated by Trump) that China should be viewed by global institutions as a fully developed country, as opposed to a still-developing one.
For the record, China is far and away Australia’s number one trading partner, with Japan in a distant second place.
But that small fact—that China is critical to Australia’s economy—did little to quell Morrison’s urge to suck up to the US, which accounts for 3.6 percent of Australian exports, compared to the 29.2 percent accounted for by China.
Deputy Opposition Leader Richard Marles was less than impressed by Morrison’s performance. He said it was a “matter of fact” that, according to WTO guidelines, China is a developing economy. And he added:
“From an Australian point of view, that’s something that we should be negotiating and working through with China in a respectful way. Now, what we saw this week was the prime minister in the United States in the context of there being trade tensions between the US and China and from there taking pot shots against that.”
Australia is one of the most embarrassing, if not the most embarrassing, of the United States’ numerous toadies. Last year, following Trump’s lead, Morrison announced that Australia would illegally recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, knowing that a wave of anti-Australian sentiment would sweep across the Muslim world as a direct result. Hence, Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs immediately issued a warning to Australians travelling to Indonesia around that time:
“Exercise a high degree of caution in Indonesia, including in Bali, Surabaya and Jakarta, because of the high threat of terrorist attack. Pay close attention to your personal security at all times.
“Avoid protests, demonstrations and rallies, which can turn violent without warning. Demonstrations have been held in recent weeks around the Australian Embassy in Jakarta and the Australian Consulate-General in Surabaya. Protests may continue at the Embassy in Jakarta or at any of Australia’s Consulates-General in Surabaya, Bali and Makassar. Be aware of your surroundings.”
Evidently, some murdered Australian tourists is a small price to pay to curry favor with Washington. Good to see we have our priorities in order.