What the rise of China, Putin’s Russia, America’s Donald Trump and Brexit mean for Freedom
As if the looming disasters of climate change and overpopulation aren’t enough we now face a huge challenge to our very notion of freedom. Although Xi Xing Ping’s China could hardly be called a socialist or communist society, it has a massive ideological agenda built around authoritarian power. This China could best be described as a state run capitalist oligarchy with loads of attendant corruption.
Recent history is likely to provoke ample alarm. From building military fortifications on an artificial island in the South China Sea to unilaterally claiming the Spratleys, China has ignored the other claimants to those regions and forged ahead in its quest to become the world’s greatest military and economic power, leaving any notions of freedom and human rights dead in its wake. Any vague notion of liberty for the billion odd inhabitants in that country was quickly dispelled with the advent of the new social credit system whereby the smallest transgressions against the state ideal can result in a person being unable to leave his or her home town.
The One Belt program has amounted to China making loans to poor countries in the Pacific and Africa and, when those nations are unable to repay they become vassals of China. It doesn’t take a genius to see where all this is going. If you didn’t like the USA’s behaviour when it dominated the planet you “aint seen nothin’ yet” as China’s ascendancy rises. Xi Xing Ping’s installation as leader for life (read absolute dictator) is the icing on the cake.
Australia is caught in an ungodly position. Our defence strategy depends heavily on the USA but our main trading partner is China.
The chair of parliament’s powerful Security and Intelligence Committee Andrew Hastie warned Australia against underestimating China and compared its rise to that of Nazi Germany and Stalin’s Soviet Union. Unsurprisingly, this didn’t go down well with China. How did this unfortunate position happen to Australia? It is fair to blame the Australian Labor Party. Bob Hawke began our Australia’s dependence on China and Kevin Rudd increased it. Under their policies Australia has experienced a huge increase in immigration from mainland China. The big problem here lies in the fact that many of these dual nationals consider that their first loyalty is to China. Xi Xing Ping has also stated that such dual nationals owe such first loyalty to China.
China’s strategic alliance with Putin’s Russia (another authoritarian state, although it denies it) presents major challenges to the Western countries which value freedom. Putin’s Russia is another nation hell bent on increasing its power at all costs. Its track record includes the annexation of Crimea, starting a war in the Ukraine, and direct complicity in countless civilian deaths, including children, in Syria. It is safe to say that without Putin’s intervention the war in Syria would have finished years ago. Strangely enough Putin is popular with the majority of Russians. Of course, like the Chinese, they probably don’t have much access to unfiltered or uncensored information.
The China-Russia duo is a massive assault on the West and its notion of freedom. This brings us to the Brexit debacle. Only by remaining united under the EU can Western Europe withstand the political and possibly military assault from the East. It has been established that Russia interfered in both the Brexit referendum and the U.S. presidential election which saw the installation of Donald Trump. The Cambridge Analytica saga demonstrated how cunning use of personal information can achieve political ends. It is true that Trump is challenging China’s unfair trade practices. However, he is doing it in the most foolish of ways. Instead of joining forces with the EU he insisted on America going it alone. He even imposed tariffs on steel from the EU along with goods from China. Trump seems to love the idea of Brexit. Along with fellow narcissist and ego maniac Boris Johnson, the new British PM, Trump projects an enormous optimism in the face of an ever increasing danger.
Once Britain leaves the EU Trump has planned a new trade deal between Britain and the USA. This trade deal would very likely involve a massive weakening of Britain’s National Health system and make health care as unaffordable for many as it is in the U.S. Donald Trump is obviously intending to challenge both Britain and the EU economically. Divide and conquer. Xi Xing Ping and Putin must be laughing themselves sick. It is small wonder that the USA hates Julian Assange and Wikileaks. The only reason that China and Russia aren’t after him as well lies in the fact that he wasn’t able to get his hands on any of their dirty secrets. Whistle-blowers are a rarity in those two authoritarian states as the penalties are so extreme that fear prevails.
The almost total loss of privacy doesn’t just exist in China and Russia. Social media invasions along with almost universal camera and detection systems are on the rise in the West. Under the guise of security, states around the world are increasing their control over their citizens. The use of algorithms doesn’t just mean targeted ads. It is also likely to mean extremely accurate predictors of human behaviour.
It would appear that the only thing George Orwell got wrong was the date!