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The Forum > Article Comments > Indonesia and Australia in the 'Asian Century' > Comments

Indonesia and Australia in the 'Asian Century' : Comments

By Richard Woolcott, published 28/5/2013

The rhetoric and the 'spin' emerging from Ministerial offices, much of which finds its way into the media, gives a false sense of satisfaction at our progress.

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Presumably Thailand's integration in Asia is limited by the fact the state there is a monarchy.

On the other hand, according to Richard's logic, perhaps becoming an authoritarian state would help Australia's integration with Asia - it obviously worked for China.

Bit of spin there Richard?
Posted by Jardine K. Jardine, Tuesday, 28 May 2013 8:50:13 AM
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Richard Woolcott is a guy who, in 1975, encouraged the Australian government to support Indonesia's illegal invasion of East Timor because Australia could use the invasion to steal East Timor's oil resources.
In one of his cables to the Australian government at the time, he encouraged the Australian government to support Indonesia's claims about the situation "even though we know it's not true".

During Indonesia's 24-year-long, illegal, genocidal annexation of East Timor, Richard Woolcott regularly wrote op-ed pieces for "The Australian" newspaper in which he would describe anybody campaigning for human rights in East Timor and Indonesia as "racist". His bizarre reasoning was that, somehow, Indonesians and East Timorese were not entitled to the same human rights as Australians, and to believe otherwise is racist
Posted by fungus, Tuesday, 28 May 2013 11:32:22 AM
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Why FFS does Australia squander billions on whats easily the most corrupt country on planet earth ?? Surely no sentient being believes the money is actually used in some vaguely humanitarian venture. The argument that it provides an incentive for the lunatic islamics not to invade Australia doesn't hold water, when its all said and done, the vast majority of those meatheads believe their whole mission in life is exterminating infidels. We only need to look at recent events in the UK, europe & the US to see what islamics really think about those who bankroll them. Unfortunately the local do-gooder fraternity can't even see the writing on the wall when the clowns start doing what islamics are wont to do in the streets of Sydney. If indeed there are genuine refugees who follow the prophet or whatever, is it unreasonable to expect them to leave all the baggage behind when they come here ?? Australians have welcomed countless races who could have brought their problems but chose not to, why indeed should we make an exception for these lunatics ?? I suggest conditional citizenship for all people with islamic connection, welcome if you demonstrate a willingness to 'fit in' but rack off hairy legs the moment you start crapping on about exterminating infidels or sharia law or following certifiable idiot imams who rightfully should have been drowned at birth.
Posted by praxidice, Tuesday, 28 May 2013 12:20:55 PM
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Richard, states:

"There is currently a debate as to whether the United States is in decline or whether it will continue to maintain a strong involvement in Asia…”

I can only surmise you have failed to identify current US fiscal policy is driving the US into an inflationary spiral. Ben B, has failed completely to recognise you can’t print money, grow debt and have the remainder of the world sit around passively and watch as your wealth evaporates.

The US is soon to lose its coveted ‘reserve currency’ status, the evidence is clear if you want to find it. Once this occurs, the US will see inflation sky-rocket and all hell will break loose in a population that now has more than 15% of the population relying on food-stamps (yep, basic needs like food!). The IMF and other sensible countries realise the US is in a death spiral financially, they are making international financial agreements to circumvent holdings of US dollars, vis, the rise in commodities like gold, oil, copper, basic food products etc.

As to your conclusion the “The United States, traditionally a major importer of natural gas and coal, is now undergoing a great change. Its production of shale gas means that the United States will overtake Saudi Arabia as a producer of oil and gas by 2020. Problems which seemed insurmountable five years ago will now be surmounted. So although the United States faces considerable domestic financial problems it would be wrong to assume that it is in economic decline and will prove unable to maintain a strong role and presence in Asia.”

To you Sir I say BOLLOCKS.

You obviously don’t understand finance, economics, or most importantly physics. Please explain how the US, despite its coveted ability to print money, can, once its reserve status is removed, as supported by the IMF and too many countries I could list, can possibly cover its current let alone future debts, without spiralling out of control due to inflation that is coming, whether they like it or not.

Never mind Asia, fear the aftermath of US reserve currency loss.
Posted by Geoff of Perth, Tuesday, 28 May 2013 10:51:40 PM
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This is a thoughtful article which deserves a higher standard of comments than it has so far received. I’ll raise a few points.

With China, I have trouble working out what in practice we should be doing differently to “accommodate” their rise. I would appreciate some examples of specific action we should be taking.

I suppose we could co-operate less with the Americans militarily, but that co-operation is just as relevant to unstable countries to the west, such as Pakistan and Burma, where there could be a sudden change adverse to our interests. We already give China much of what it wants with trade. If “accommodation” involves turning a blind eye to them bullying their neighbours over uninhabited islands, then I don’t favour it.

With Indonesia, I couldn’t agree more that we need more interaction to expand mutual trust. I despair at how insular Australia is. Loads of people taking off for Europe and steadfastly ignoring our near neighbours. And I have failed to convince my son in year 8 to study Indonesian instead of French. Somehow we have to make Indonesia seem more interesting to the young - difficult, given they’re only interested in the internet.

On the monarchy, merely ditching the Queen is not enough. The benefits of a republic which Richard describes would be much enhanced if we took the opportunity that change offered to make our Constitution more democratic: see Then we would actually set an example for others in the region to follow. At the moment, no other nation would be mad enough to emulate our system.
Posted by Philip Howell, Wednesday, 29 May 2013 11:18:08 AM
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Richard, this is an important article that raises a number of issues that need to be seriously considered. I had hoped that it might spark some intelligent dialogue, but with the exception of Geoff the other commenters have either attacked you personally for your alleged policy position 40 odd years ago, or totally missed the points you were making.

It is incontrovertible that Australia neglects Indonesia to its peril. It is our nearest neighbour of any consequence, one of the world's largest countries in both land area and population, and the world's largest Muslim nation. Like so many developing countries it has suffered at the hands of American intervention as William Blum points out in his latest collection of essays (2013).

I take a less benign view that you do about Obama's so-called "pivot" to Asia. American foreign policy since WW2 has been single-minded in its pursuit of power, resources and the installation of friendly governments. To challenge that power risks the wrath of American imperialism and Australia is not immune to that as the experience of 1975 and since has shown.

The policy of our present government and the likely winning coalition at the next election has a frankly schizophrenic attitude to Asia in general and Indonesia in particular. Australia cannot accept geographical and geo-political realities and unless and until it does we are doomed to become embroiled in yet another war(s) not of our making or in our interests.
Posted by James O'Neill, Wednesday, 29 May 2013 11:30:15 AM
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