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24 November 2018

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This is an excellent, thoughtful and, from all I've heard from other sources, accurate article.

It is clear that, in dealing with other nations, the current government of China is, as the author says "pushy, insecure, out of control and with no desire to pretend anymore they will play by the rules the international community has been operating under for decades."

Unfortunately, this also describes Donald Trump. As he demonstrated in pulling out of the Paris climate accords and the Iran treaty, and refusing to sanction Saudi Arabia for the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, Trump's US is equally pushy, insecure, bullying, out of control, and absolutely committed to undermining all the rules that have nurtured the international community in the modern era.

The first issue to be confronted is: 'Why are some people surprised?' The seeds of this confrontation have been planted long ago and are now starting to mature.

Authoritarian regimes, whenever and wherever they evolve, can only behave in a similar manner lest they lose control.

That's the second issue: 'It's all about control.'

The Pacific Rim countries have automatically assumed that the status quo will continue and therefore, not bothered to pay attention to what was happening right under their noses. Whenever there is a perceived power vacuum, someone will always seek to take advantage and move in.

Until those who are suddenly concerned actually wake up and decide they have to make a stand, nothing will change. Perhaps the echoes of the initial starting bell have now actually been heard above the clamour for strategic influence? Many of us however heard it years ago.

Lastly, this isn't about the ethnicity or national aspirations. It's in essence about the control over resources (food, water and energy), and therefore the populations in our region.

There's an old African proverb that says: When elephants make love, the grass gets trampled.'

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