Over the years, the United States and Australia have been very closely allied. At times that relationship has gone under severe stress. For instance in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan Australia has participated in NATO exercises and endured that sacrifice. This has been tough on their population which doesn’t like the war, what society does? This isn’t the only challenge on the home front as China is also spreading out its tentacles, and putting in small satellite military installations at maritime choke points near Australia.
Much of Australia’s good fortune and economy belongs to its relationship in trade with China. Whereas most nations have a trade deficit, at times Australia has had a rather nice surplus. This is because Australia sells China raw materials, of which Australia has plenty. China is in need of all sorts of things such as food, timber, and fuel. Australia is rich in resources, and they’ve enjoyed exporting all of their excess to China and digging up more at breakneck speed. But that’s not all China wants to buy, they also like the military technology that Australia has, a good bit of it they have due to their relationship with NATO and the United States.
Australia is also building its own high-tech submarines, ships, and military hardware. NASA has satellite and space base station technologies in Australia. China wants to borrow infrastructure and information there in Australia to help track its own satellites, and the US isn’t so sure it wants to have all that technology, dual use technology, shared with the Chinese. Not that the Chinese haven’t stolen or rather borrowed that intellectual proprietary information from our defense contractors already. But in this case the system is already set up there, and China would like to use it, and learn all they can of course, lots of scary implications there, considering the proprietary information theft, hacking, and spying of the past couple of decades.
In World Affairs, November-December Issue there was an interesting article titled; “A Tilt Toward China? Australia Reconsiders Its American Ties,” by John Lee. In this article he makes a number of astute comments, and the United States must realize that China is a powerful economy, and Australia needs China to continue their solid GDP growth. Australia doesn’t want to cut off the hand that feeds them, but it also realizes it needs the US backing as well. Because of where Australia is located, they would be fools not to participate with China in economic trade.
The United States is wondering at what cost, especially as it has cost the United States a number of very solid industries, and a huge trade deficit, causing us to rack up huge debt. How long before China uses all that money they’ve acquired in trade deficit to buy our nation piece by piece? Likewise, when will Australia say “no, you can’t have that, or we won’t sell it to you, or that is proprietary and secret information?”