I found Ramesh Thakur’s opinion piece on Australia’s approach to its foreign policy with China interesting, though with questionable arguments (“Australia charts a flawed foreign policy course” in the Dec. 8 edition).

Correctly, Thakur notes that the U.S. has exercised coercive power far more than any other nation over the past several decades. Given Iraq and other misadventures it is difficult to dismiss this criticism; however, great powers historically have coerced other nations in their perceived self-interests. Who is to say that China would be any different?

An interesting paragraph reads: “The vision outlined is of the rear-view mirror of a world already fading from memory, namely the liberal international order created and underwritten by the U.S.-led West. This would deny China agency as the rising power to write global rules, and design and control the institutions of global governance. An editorial in the South China Morning Post, ‘Australia turns its back on the new Asia with white paper,’ correctly concluded that Canberra has chosen to stick to the U.S. line rather than recognize the reality of China, work to improve relations with Beijing and commit to global organizations.”

Seems to me that this simply reflects China’s desire to assert its dominance on the world stage and supplant the “West.” I have to ask, why is that a good thing if China rewrites the rules without compromise?

I trust that many of us wish for a prosperous, stable and secure China. This does not, however, require a China that rewrites the rules of global governance solely to its liking. China may have never been a “global power” during its history, but that is very likely due to limitations on its reach due to insufficient technology at the time. It has historically been a regional hegemon and has never shied away from force to achieve its goals and ambitions.


The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.