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Greg Sheridan on the China Threat? What!? By James Reed
In the good old days, I could be sure that anytime I saw an article by Greg Sheridan I would disagree with it, and immediately would have copy, something to write about, someone to refute. But, then one day, maybe I changed, he changed, we both changed, or the world changed, and I could see that it was far too simplistic to view him as an enemy, but rather, he was a complex thinker, always with an interesting point of view, that sometimes was surprising. Take the rise of China for example:
“China’s President Xi Jinping never leaves you in any doubt what he thinks. So his warning is typically stark. Any effort to prise a region away from China will result in “in crushed bodies and shattered bones”. This is a very direct threat to the protesters of Hong Kong, although he has not addressed the Hong Kong disturbances directly by name. Nonetheless, the balance of probability would have to be that the mainland Chinese forces are not likely to undertake a massive 1989 Tiananmen massacre style intervention in Hong Kong, at least not yet. They will intervene if they feel they have to. Although any such intervention will be very tough, it will still likely involve a much more sophisticated and discriminate use of force than Tiananmen did. However, Beijing scored a big victory on Hong Kong recently. Donald Trump in announcing, prematurely, that he and Beijing have come to a trade deal, also remarked that he thought the troubles in Hong Kong were subsiding and the Chinese government would handle them fine. In one way, Trump’s remarks are prudent enough. International leaders should be very careful what they say about Hong Kong, because if Beijing does intervene there, not a single foreigner will go to help the local Hong Kongers. However, Trump was capable of applying some leverage to Beijing, and now he’s chosen not to. He hasn’t, as he did with the Turks, given Beijing a green light for action, but he has said more or less that he isn’t much concerned with what’s happening in Hong Kong.
Trump’s new priority, and the reason he apparently announced a trade deal when none has yet been done, is that he wants the Chinese to buy more farm produce from critical swing states in the US. Understandably, everything now for Trump is about next year’s presidential election. He claims the Chinese will buy $US50bn more US agricultural produce, an inherently implausible sum. But that would be the most important consideration for Trump, as well as showing that somewhere he can actually conclude deals as well as bluster about them. Given that Beijing would probably prefer Trump to lose next year’s election, their response, so far very cautious, will be fascinating. But Beijing would also be aware that any big crackdown in Hong Kong would almost certainly provoke severe sanctions action against China in the US congress, which would probably be bipartisan and veto-proof. In any event Trump would have to jump on any such bandwagon.”
I very much doubt it. Trump, the ultimate pragmatist, is focused now on political survival and the Hong Kong protesters will be allowed to burn, or as God Emperor Xi has said, will have crushed bodies and shattered bones. He is not fooling, and China does not have even a hint of the liberal weakness of the West, shown in “our” leaders, including dumb Donny Trump. Hong Kong will be made to bow to China, there is no way on Earth that this will not occur. The Hong Kong protesters are as doomed as anyone could be. Maybe the CIA can shuffle them out in time.