Webdiary - Independent, Ethical, Accountable and Transparent
header_02 home about login header_06
sidebar-top content-top

Aiding the Javanese Empire

At Margo's suggestion, this contribution to Richard's Aid for Who? piece is worth a separate debate / conversation ...

by Ian MacDougall

In AusAID’s latest annual report (05-06) [pdf or HTML] under ”Tsunami Financial Assistance and Australia-Indonesia Partnership Bill 2004-2005 – adjustment determined by the Finance Minister” (p.207) we read that total assistance given Indonesia by the Australian taxpayer was $1,000,830,000. This figure does not include voluntary donations given the victims by Australian donors to charities.

On p. 18 of the same report we read that AusAID ”is structured to meet two outcomes.” These are:

Outcome 1: Australia’s national interest advanced by assistance to developing countries to reduce poverty and achieve sustainable development.

Outcome 2: Australia’s national interest advanced by implementing a partnership between Australia and Indonesia for reconstruction and development.

In other words, Indonesia is a full half of the policy objectives of the whole Australian overseas aid program, and a major financial recipient. Australian development, reconstruction and above all, military aid has been all about trying to buy the friendship of Indonesia, particularly of its ruling elite, and especially of that section of that ruling elite made up by Indonesia’s military caste.

The major contradiction in all this, of which the present NSW coronial inquiry into the Balibo events is merely the latest expression, is that the actions of the Indonesian military since 1965 have been an ongoing outrage to the sensibilities of the civilised (never mind just Australian) world. The massacre of about 1 million Indonesians in the course of the events following the dubious Untung coup attempt of 1965; the long drawn out genocide in East Timor following the invasion of 1975, of which the Balibo events form just one tiny part, and which involved the deliberate killing of around a third of East Timor’s 650,000 people, can never be erased from world memory. They will remain forever, just like Hitler’s Holocaust.

Australian drug mules remain imprisoned in Indonesia, some facing execution, while war criminals drenched in blood ride freely through the streets outside. Justice has neither been done there, nor seen to be done there.

All governments in Indonesia since Suharto’s have avoided punishing anyone responsible for any of the huge number of outrages and war crimes committed by the Indonesian military since 1965. In this act of omission they have been tacitly supported by successive Australian governments of both persuasions, which have bent over backwards to curry favour with Indonesia, apologised for and excused its military, and have fooled nobody but themselves in the process.

At the same time, we Australian taxpayers have supplied Indonesia with generous military aid, including training of their murderous Kopassus units. We have massively boosted the Indonesian air force by giving it all the Australian Air Force’s French-built Mirage fighters when they became surplus to requirements. Etc.

Yet despite all that, buying Indonesia’s friendship has not worked, and the relationship remains fragile. It only takes a single court inquiry to provoke a major diplomatic row.

In yesterday’s Australian we read that “retired Lieutenant-General Sutiyoso, who is the Governor of Jakarta, and was a member of the commando squad believed responsible for the deaths of the Australians is outraged at being requested to give evidence to the NSW coronial inquiry… The police were acting on a subpoena issued by the Glebe Coroners Court, which is investigating the death of Brian Peters, one of five Australian-based newsmen killed at Balibo in October 1975.”

This “prominent Indonesian politician who is tipped to become the country's next president” has “demanded an apology from Australia after police barged into his hotel room in Sydney.” The report adds:

I want a formal apology from the Australian government," said the Governor, who is in his second term as head of the city of 14 million people and who has deep-rooted political support in Indonesia.

"If not, is there any point continuing the relationship between the two countries?"

Allowing for the rhetorical flourish, one is none the less inclined to agree that he asks a valid question. If Indonesian friendship is so fragile and comes so expensive, he is probably right. One would think that, with all the aid and support that has been given over the years, Australians as taxpayers would be treated with a little less contempt by Indonesian officialdom. Never mind the legal concept of justice. A visiting Australian politician politely requested to give evidence under diplomatic immunity to an Indonesian court would comply without any fuss. If not, Downer would demand to know why.

We could save ourselves an awful lot of billions of dollars, and arguably put them to far better use, than investing them in this ‘relationship’.


Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

A bit of unmelodious curry from Melody

Melody: In political discussions, when one speaks of ‘Indonesia’, ‘Australia’, ‘China’ etc, unless otherwise qualified, the terms usually mean the states of those countries. The Indonesian state, for example, is that part of the total Indonesian population that holds power and authority, however defined. So for example, I interpret a statement like the AusAID one quoted in my lead article: “Outcome 2: Australia’s national interest advanced by implementing a partnership between Australia and Indonesia for reconstruction and development” in that light. Perhaps I should have made that clearer.

We can place the terms ‘Australian state’ and  ‘Indonesian state’ at the upper corners of a rectangle, and ‘Australian people’ and ‘Indonesian people’ at the lower corners. The sides of the rectangle now give us the relationship combinations: Australian state – Indonesian state, Australian people – Indonesian people, etc. The diagonals give us the relationships between opposite states and peoples: Australian state – Indonesian people, and so on. More below.

“You omit any reference to the aid and encouragement given by Australians to the Indonesians to invade East Timor”. It depends on which Australians you are referring to. Much of what you criticise in regard to what you call “our” (Australian) policies on the invasion and takeover of East Timor by Indonesia in 1975 was actually Australian state activity rather than popular Australian mass sentiment, and driven by fears held in both Jakarta and Canberra of the regional influence of an independent East Timor, plus a desire by both to between them take control of East Timor’s oil and gas.

As for Kissinger, I am of the opinion that his rightful place is in the cell next to Milosovic’s. Many here in Australia think likewise, and also in the wider world.

The 1999 trashing of East Timor by the Indonesian military (after the plebiscite result it tried so hard to avoid) and its murder of several thousand men, women and children, appalled the great mass of Australians at the time. If you don’t believe me, read the mass-circulation Murdoch dailies for September 1999 (never mind Fairfax). The Indonesian military got a total bagging from papers that had previously tried to be as nice as possible to it. They had to go with mass sentiment, and The Australian, the one paper that failed to, has paid dearly ever since circulation-wise.

AusAID works within the Australian state – Indonesian people relationship, while the aid for the tsunami victims operated at the people – people level to a great extent; as does tourism. One important expression of this was support at the popular level in Australia of the Indonesian nationalists in their struggle with Dutch colonialism, and particularly the refusal in 1947 of Australian wharfies to load Dutch ships bound for Indonesia with war materiel.

So if  “Indonesians in the street are afraid of being invaded by Australia” and see me (not  you, as you haven't lived here for 20 years) “as very aggressive, racist, arrogant and a progenitor of regional colonial aspirations exemplified by the Australian colonial government in PNG,”  you might  ask them which local news outlets have been feeding them that propaganda, and remind them of the role played by the left of the Australian Labour movement  in support of Indonesian (and East Timorese, and West Papuan, and Vietnamese etc, etc) independence.  I am confident that you will express that to them in fluent Bahasa, and assertively. 

In short, you interpret what I wrote as an attack on the Indonesian people in general. I find that extraordinary, and in no way justified by the text. And though I too am a student of Asian culture, I have considerable difficulty with lines like: “the Indonesian culture is older and richer than ours.”  In fact our culture is just as old, going back at least to the Paleolithic. As for Indonesia's being richer;  well if I was not the charitable fellow that I am, I would invite you to prove it.

And as for the Cronulla riots you saw on TV while recovering from dengue fever, they involved a bit more than can be dismissed in one sentence, particularly since they began as a mass reaction against racist attitudes and behaviour; specifically as displayed by a small but vocal minority of (mainly Lebanese) Muslims. But while we’re on it, compare and contrast the Cronulla mob with the exclusively male crowd in this photo gallery, all of whom by some coincidence, happen to be of military age.

 With all that in mind, I would be obliged if you could expand on your assertion that my piece was “rich in fact but low on interpretation and … plays on all the neurotic tendencies held in the community that support the island fortress mentality.”  For the record, I thought it was fair, balanced, objective and above all, restrained.

Sambal lada udang keri.

Nasi goreng.

Selamat makan.

Ian and Jenny

Ian and Jenny: Sorry this will have to be the last as I am going up north to the far reaches of Lao tomorrow ... apologise for typos I have too much to finish. A few tales, as it's getting very serious..

I agree that language does not cultural understanding make. I guess I worked in various communities and moved in for some time (See Arena for short story). My extending family includes members of many of those ethnic groups (I have a Minang 'brother' and a Bugis 'sister') As well, I was fortunate enough to be enlisted into various NGO's so that I was part of that multiethnic but ideologically parallel community. Munir was a dear friend ... as were many others killed. I have no love of the Indonesian Govt. At least Soeharto represented organised crime, SBY represents disorganised crime.

Aceh was and is a total balls up ... many still living without housing (if you send me an email address I can send you this weeks midwives report from there)  I have met too many disaster junkies in ET having got there while the bullets were still whizzing and was unimpressed. By in large they stayed inside, displaced the locals who had the last remaining roofs and ate remaining food, drove prices up and did not speak the language.
Acehnese complained that they had to go to aid workers rather than the aid workers going to them ... at a time when they were trying to get crops in the ground, were sick and tired, literally. Most of the wave damage was done in distant areas while aid workers stayed in the capital. The really good work was done by the tourist operators, surfers, and other long terms expats, who where in there fast and lived rough. The midwife was one of those and is still there.  It is so bad right now that my journo friend (see also Arena) predicts that this could lead to another war. Giving money is one thing, making sure it gets used wisely and more importantly participatively is another.  The Acehnese talk about Australians  and other aid workers in Toyota wagons with sat phones staying in posh hotels ... enough said ...

The riots outside the gate:

When I was working on a fishing project our pemabatu used to disappear each arvo. His wife was expecting a baby so he had another job - being paid to be a demonstrator outside the Oz Embassy by  the army/JI/police/political faction trying to curry favour you name it ... He got finally pissed off  when the quality of the food deteriorated as did the quality of the T shirts. Cepat robek he whinged. Its a source of food and clothing for the urban poor. You can see the anti oz T shirts on ojek drivers months later. Anyone watching the riots protesting the Australian interference in ET would have noticed none of the demonstrators were from ET except for one or two that may have been with M'bak Tututs Yayasan Tiara.. The rest were paid poor youth.

Ref young men in frocks:

Pemuda Pancasila was a body formed by Soeharto and had strong links with army and organised crime. They grew the dope, ran the hookers, and broke the limbs of anti Govt activists. When Soeharto stood down the PP had to disband.  They resurfaced as Jihadis but the objectives and Modus operandi are the same, just in different drag. They chucked out the orange camouflage jumpsuits and got into frocks and turbans.  Now they junk bars on the grounds of them being haram, but demand a touch of protection from future hits of morality. The journos new in town buy it as fundamentalism. As I said ... the JI has 900 members. I would hang my head in shame. Most Indonesian muslims are abangan or KTP muslims. Tho there is a rise which is fed by the perception of anti Islamic politics from the West.


I was driving through town a few tears ago and yelled at the project driver to stop. I had spotted a Media Indonesian headline in 40 point saying Howard Cium Pantat Bush ... lovely. Some of the recent leaders have been appalling when visiting and at home. Howard's insistence that he would stage preemptive strikes in Asia did not help. They report only what is said. I have a lot of respect for Indonesian media and on the whole find them more tajam dan berani than their Australian counterparts.. Even in the times of great oppression did they report between the lines/paragraphs /pages/ editions. Smart and brave.

To see a really good Ausaid project google LAPIS. It's a huge success and my son is the graphic designer.. so KKN lives..

Gotta  ago...


Melody: Many thanks for a most valuable, informative post.

Ian, I lived in Indonesia

Ian, I lived in Indonesia for 11 years, speak Indonesian and have worked in just about every province as an aid worker. Water and sanitation, occupational health and safety, safety and survival at sea for fisherfolk, and latterly evaluation of a terrific assistance program for Islamic schools. Military assistance is not the only definition of aid, and strictly speaking is not development assistance. I also have a Muslim foster son who is Sundanese. I want to distill that 11 year period into some observations pertinent to your article which is rich in fact but low on interpretation and which plays on all the neurotic tendencies held in the community that support the island fortress mentality.

The ironic thing is that Indonesians in the street are afraid of being invaded by Australia and see us (well you, as I haven't lived there for 20 years) as very aggressive, racist, arrogant and progenitors of regional colonial aspirations exemplified by the Australian colonial government in PNG. 

I used to have great conversations with Jakarta taxi drivers and street vendors who were very well versed in Australian politics, and knew most of the national and many state leaders.  The reverse is not true. On the few occasions I have been back in Australia I am shocked at how poorly educated Australians are about Asian politics and am a bit tired of explaining where Laos is.

You omit any reference to the aid and encouragement given by Australians to the Indonesians to invade East Timor. The Indonesians were very reluctant to do so, and Kissinger was in country when it happened. The US exerted pressure on Indonesia and Australia to invade, as it was afraid that the Russians would develop a base in the vacuum created by the Portuguese departure. They were running their nuclear powered subs through the straits and were afraid that an independent or Russian influenced East Timor would sanction that passage from the Pacific. You also forget the assistance given by Woolcott and others in abetting Soeharto's bloody rise to power. He was supplied by both Australian and US intelligence with the names of thousands of so called communists. It then became an excuse to settle ancient village feuds and write of debts. Threats to Islamic lands by a land reform program developed by the Partai Kommunis Indonesia were anulled by multiple beheadings. In Bali alone 8,500 died. The Indonesians would say 2.1 million died overall. Soeharto unlike Saddam was not hanged nor did Australia call for justice and assist the human rights workers who tried to do so.   Australia instead was complicit. They have no reason to like us.

We also turned a blind eye to the worst of Soeharto's excesses during his kleptocratic reign that bled the country dry of its resources. Indonesia was oil rich, it is now oil dependent. It was wood rich, it will soon be wood dependent. The Indonesian military was involved and still is in the rape and pillage of resources. Our assistance to the Indonesian military is seen by Indonesians as assisting the rape of their patrimony and in the suppression of the Hunman rights and the poor.  Freeport paid Soeharto 3 kgs of gold per month to allow the murder of a pristine environment. Australia watched.

So who is culpable? Australia knew of the deaths of Timorese but did nothing and then took an aid worker to court (Lansell Taudevin), because he threatened to go public with the fact that he was asked to spy and that the government had neglected to act on his evidence.

Then there is rice. Indonesians have a saying: "kalua tidak makan nasi, tidak makan", which means if you haven't eaten rice you haven't eaten. Woolies would be cleaned out in 5 minutes. You cannot sustain an army of occupation without morale boosting food. Even Shane Warne will tell you that. Indonesia does not have the facilities to fly in rice.

But despite that the airfield planned for the Bradshaw base in NT in another pristine and ancient wilderness will point at Indonesia. Your wish is my command.

In all the time I was in Indonesia I did not suffer any racist attacks or insults. During my last sojourn I was stricken with dengue fever and while I was trying to uncross my eyes and get to my feet, I was sent multiple SMS'  and emails by my Muslim colleagues on the project wishing me well and wanting me back in the office. They sent food and coconut water and dropped by with looks of concern and small gifts. I switched on the TV to ABC Asia Pacific to see the Cronulla riots and noted the contrast.

Ian you cannot buy loyalty and respect or even a liking. The Indonesian culture is older and richer than ours, it places great weight on various elements of politeness and subtlety.  We are not John Howard's just as Indonesians are not all SBY's or Josep Kalla's. Most Jakartans hate Sutiyoso who is a thug and a villain but would greet him respectfully in public. We gain Indonesians respect and neighbourliness by our own interest and respect for this culture and assistance to the people not to the military. It might help for some of our politicians to be able to speak Indonesian, after all most Indonesian politicians speak English.

Terima kasih Pak MacDougall.

Dilihat dari jauh, Melody

Melody Kemp: While being close neighbours geographically, both Indonesians and Australians nonetheless see each other from afar in more ways than one, and that naturally can lead to all sorts of misconceptions, on both sides.

But Australians do look to the bloody history that marked Suharto's rise to power when, as one Indonesian writer put it, the rivers ran red with blood, and to the bloody history in East Timor and they draw understandable negative conclusions. Yet the Australian public is not out there en masse screaming insults at Indonesians outside the Indonesian embassy here.

It is interesting is it not that the massive aid that flooded from the Australian people after the tsunami seems to count for very little in the scheme of things. It only takes a minor incident over a certain Governor to have Indonesians screaming abuse en masse outside our own Embassy. Better that than at the thug himself it seems.

Such does little for relations between our two countries. And if those silly young people guilty of drug smuggling are shot, while a certain cleric who preaches hate was absolved of any responsibility over the Bali bombings and went free, then relations are only going to get a whole lot worse.

It is a bit confusing to talk about Indonesians, Indonesian culture and language. Speaking bahasa Indonesia does not necessarily open the doors to understanding all that far. As a student for four years of South East Asian languages and cultures, I was very aware that if one wants to understand the so called Indonesian people, then one should study at least Javanese and Minangkabau as well as the Malay based official language. And one should realise that the people of that archipelago, their languages and their cultural traditions are almost as diverse as the islands they inhabit, making for some very unhappy bedfellows.

Suppression of minorities does not go unnoticed here. If a country wants respect, then it has to demonstrate respect itself and it could start with some of those minorities.

I am not sure what you are thanking my other half (Pak Macdougall, and I like the Pak bit) for but I think you will find he more than anyone has had more than a bit to say about the role played by certain western governments in supporting Suharto, the Indonesian military and condoning the invasion of East Timor. Few issues have stirred him to more anger in the thirty years I have known him than the fact that that army has gotten away with mass murder in the way it has, and that successive Australian governments have a lot to answer for in that regard.

I would feel sure that many Indonesian generals have had cause to say: Terima kasih (thank you) Australia.

BTW: I think you would find that most Australians would extend the same care to an Indonesian needing help in this country as was extended to you. Most people in this country are not racist, and most people will extend a helping hand when they can and when they see a need.

 dilihat dari jauh - seen from afar for the benefit of Mr Downer and his ilk.

So why dont we just copulate

Roger: "... but when we are just an empty hole in the ground we will have no value to China or anyone else except as a large living area."

But wasn’t Ian’s point that Australia is a dry continent! If Australia with its large land mass had the equivalent river systems and water supply for sustainable large human populations, we could have been a country with a large population. So your logic does not work.

Lateral thinking

Alan Curran, what a great idea!  What about 10,000 or so US troopers as well? We could use a bit of diplomatic guile and say that  we're working together to protect Australian uranium from falling into Al Qaeda's hands.  I'm sure Jakarta will be thoroughly impressed.

We could put nuclear payloads into the Aegis missiles on the new warships... yeah, that'll show 'em who's the boss.

Dubya would only have to give us a couple of nukes, enough to see us through till we can use our "stringybark and greenhide" skills (and a General Atomics reactor) to make our own.

Now you are thinking.

Richard Tonkin, I thought you would like my idea, but I do not think we need the troopers. I think the missiles pointing towards Jakarta, would send the right message. To help get the message across we could get Iemma to invite a few of the Indonesians (at $500 per night, it's only taxpayers money) over here to have a look at the missiles.

And One More Thing

Alan, the point of having a weapons system is having the will to use it. Drop a bomb on Indonesia? You got to be kidding! Our prevailing weather all comes from the north. The nuclear fallout will fall on us. Also, you can't just drop one because that will not disable the Indonesian military. We would have drop the whole arsenal which would make us the biggest mass murderers in all human history.

Have you thought this through? It's not the plot of a Rambo movie. Drop a bomb north of us and we all die! 

Aid Chess

Ian, here's where it starts getting confusing... to me at least:

[Extract from US Wheat Associates website] 

In the summer of 2004, AWB sold U.S. soybeans to a private buyer in Indonesia and registered their sale for 65 percent risk guarantee coverage under the USDA Supplier Credit Guarantee Program (SCGP). We will refrain from listing commercially sensitive details, but suffice it to say that AWB subsequently notified USDA that their buyer was in default on the contract and asked USDA for reimbursement. It is widely accepted that AWB, in contravention to the program rules, recovered 100 percent of their losses from this default from various sources. American farmers and the rest of the U.S. taxpayers covered tens of millions of dollars in AWB “losses.”

The damage to the U.S. did not end with the U.S. taxpayer. Despite not having a single previous incident of default by Indonesia on U.S. commodity purchases guaranteed under the GSM 102, the AWB default was the major event that spurred the USDA shut down of all U.S. government export financing programs for Indonesia. 

Odd game of chess, this aid business. I wonder what the diplomatic background to this situation might have been?


The acquiesence of successive Australian Governments to Indonesian wishes is rooted in an indisputable reality. Immediately to our north, there lies an unstable and perennially hostile neighbour with a population of 245 million. The population will have reached 450 million by 2050.

Indonesian eyes are firmly fixed on Australia as "lebensraum". Official policy has tried to forestall the day when Indonesia will invade Australia.

Our protector has been ANZUS till now. In the next 10-20 years our protector will become China to whom we are becoming indispensible as a provider of power and raw materials. Eventually though, Australia will become either Indonesian or Chinese. We could well save our billions because none of it will help in the end.

Roger: I must concede to

Roger, I must concede to you that fear of the ‘Asian hordes’ has figured largely in Australian history. Nor is it unrealistic. Some years ago I asked an ex-AIF soldier if he thought Australia was at risk from Asia, and he said to me: “Just remember this son, the Japs had a bloody good go!” It is as good an answer as any, and although a bit out of place at the moment, worth remembering lest the times should alter.

It could well happen again. But…

According to your population pressure theory, the most aggressive country in the world today by far should be Monaco, followed a full four lengths back by Singapore. (See this source.) In that list of countries by population density, Indonesia ranks at No 84 out of 230.

The land area of Indonesia is 1,904,569 sq km.  West Papua is 22% of the total land area of the present Indonesia, yet has only 2.6 million people (2005 figures). As far as I am aware, all sorts of incentives are dangled before the masses of the Indonesian archipelago to get sufficient of them to transplant to West Papua so that they may swamp the West Pauans politically in their own country. This would help the elite Javanese overcome the major political problem they face there.

Despite this, most Javanese, Sumatrans and others prefer to remain where they presently are. Yet if West Papua were detached from the rest of Indonesia,  the overall population density would rise from 117 people per sq km to 150, giving it a population density comparable with that of Kuwait (No 67 in the list):  which in reality, most of it has already.

As I see it, Kuwait can sustain such a population density because of the wealth flowing out of the ground underneath it, in the form of oil. And if one asks why Egypt, China, India and Indonesia have such large populations, the answer is not hard to find. Herodotus rightly said “Egypt is the gift of the Nile”. Similarly, India is the gift of the Ganges and eight other rivers. China is the gift of the Pearl, the Yellow and the Yangtse.

I have crossed all three of China’s great rivers. They make crossing the Murray or any other river in Australia like jumping a puddle. In addition to all that fresh water for the agriculture that is the very source of its population, China also has huge mineral wealth.

Indonesia is the gift of the sky and the mantle. The relatively small islands of the archipelago normally get abundant rain, and their soils are primarily volcanic. Indonesian farmers tend small holdings of extremely rich, well watered soils, enabling them in turn to care for large and well fed families. We Australian farmers by comparison farm large areas of poorly watered and heavily leached soils. In the above list of 230, Australia comes in at no. 224 on population density (with Mongolia at 227). Australia might as well be a narrow chain of islands arcing around from Cairns to Port Augusta, and another cluster centred on Perth: because that is where the bulk of its people are. The rest is one goanna an acre country, or desert.

An Indonesian quest for lebensraum into Australia would be comparable to a Chinese one into Mongolia. Both the Chinese and the Indonesians have had plenty of time for it, but have found better things to do.

Macassan fishermen seeking trepang and pearls were trading with the aborigines of Australia’s north-west before Dirk Hartog or Captain Cook ever hove into sight of Australia. Despite (or because of) whatever stories they took home with them, no attempt was ever made by any Malay people to found a settlement here. It is not hard to understand why. A good country to visit, but you wouldn’t want to live there.

Yet if push ever came to shove, and some Indonesian political demagogue arose with a message that the peoples of Indonesia could solve all their domestic problems by attacking their neighbours, we have all the uranium we need in order to start a bomb program of our own, as well as the (locally invented) laser enrichment technology. Were it not for the civilisation already here, China, India, Bagladesh, Pakistan or Singapore would colonise us tomorrow. We survive only by being too expensive to attack, and unoccupiable afterwards.

It's Not Fear

Ian, just to clarify, my comments are not made because of any fear of the Asian hordes. It won't worry me at my age. I'll be long gone by the time my prognostications will be tested.

I understand what your figures say and it's not just population pressure that drives an expansionary agenda. Indonesia has clearly shown that it is no respecter of sovereignty. It privately and sometimes publicly disputes our right to be in the region at all. We are an anacronism, a real reminder of a colonial past that took advantage of the military weakness of the South East Asian nations.

Your point that Asian nations have had opportunities in the past and found better things to do is not really accurate. Until the colonialism of SE Asia was dismantled in the last 60 years, these nations were not in a position, apart from the Japanese, to take an expansionary course. Now they can because of their growing wealth and military influence. There will be a whole new world dynamic in place by 2050 and our many cosy assumptions about how the world should work will be moulded into a different reality when Asia, led by China, rules the world.

China is indeed wealthy in the area of raw materials but its most pressing need is access to cheap power. We are one their main providers with a $25 billion, 25 year contract. We will provide even more including, eventually, uranium. But when we are just an empty hole in the ground we will have no value to China or anyone else except as a large living area.


Roger Fedyk,"Indonesian eyes are firmly fixed on Australia as "lebensraum". Official policy has tried to forestall the day when Indonesia will invade Australia.Eventually though, Australia will become either Indonesian or Chinese".

Surely now is the time for us to call in a few favours G.Bush owes us, we should ask him for a couple of dozen nuclear bombs (he has 100s to spare). We could then inform "our unstable and perennially hostile neighbour" that we have them and will use them. That would keep them quiet for a while. 

Not In This Universe

Alan Curran, only in an alternate universe would we be granted any favours. The US is a totally undependable ally, completely immersed in its own agenda and our friend only because we allow them unfettered access to Australian soil as a listening post in this part of the world.

Here is the no bullshit view of Australia. We are a pip-squeak, a non-entity, an economic midget, a bobbing cork on the sea of global finance. What we have of value is what we have in the ground, iron ore, coal, uranium, gold, silver, copper, diamonds and other other minerals. Sooner rather than later this will all be dug out and we will have nothing but lots of open, dry land. What is left of the carcass of Australia will be the spoils of the big bullies of the region, China, Indonesia and India. They will reverse the rivers, bugger the environment and pour hundreds of millions of their citizens into it.

Australia has no future as a white bastion in Asia, better get used to it because our grandchildren and future generations will have to bear it.

Without comment

I also recommend reading "Australian hospitality, a trick or a treat?" in the Jakarta Post today to readers, without comment.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
© 2005-2011, Webdiary Pty Ltd
Disclaimer: This site is home to many debates, and the views expressed on this site are not necessarily those of the site editors.
Contributors submit comments on their own responsibility: if you believe that a comment is incorrect or offensive in any way,
please submit a comment to that effect and we will make corrections or deletions as necessary.
Margo Kingston Photo © Elaine Campaner

Recent Comments

David Roffey: {whimper} in Not with a bang ... 12 weeks 6 days ago
Jenny Hume: So long mate in Not with a bang ... 13 weeks 12 hours ago
Fiona Reynolds: Reds (under beds?) in Not with a bang ... 13 weeks 2 days ago
Justin Obodie: Why not, with a bang? in Not with a bang ... 13 weeks 2 days ago
Fiona Reynolds: Dear Albatross in Not with a bang ... 13 weeks 2 days ago
Michael Talbot-Wilson: Good luck in Not with a bang ... 13 weeks 2 days ago
Fiona Reynolds: Goodnight and good luck in Not with a bang ... 13 weeks 3 days ago
Margo Kingston: bye, babe in Not with a bang ... 14 weeks 12 hours ago