The U.S. and Australia have had strong diplomatic relations for decades. Given their linguistic commonalities and Anglo-Saxon background such an alliance is only natural.
For 75 years, Australia has had diplomatic relations with the U.S. Additionally, the two countries have 100 Years of Mateship (Friendship) and have fought together in all of the U.S.’s major military conflicts.
Fast forward to 2020, the alliance is not only intact, but it could be strengthened even further in the wake of the Wuhan virus outbreak. The Communist Party of China (CPC) recently threatened to economically undermine Australia’s economy over the current government’s calls for a probe into the Chinese government’s handling of the Wuhan virus outbreak.
Sky News Australia reported that China threatened to block imports of Australian goods and prevent Chinese citizens from traveling to the country. “Ambassador Cheng Jingye on Monday said the push was ‘dangerous’ and could encourage Chinese citizens to not purchase Australian exports or travel to the nation,” Sky News reported. The Australian government views the Chinese government’s threats as an attack on their economy.
Foreign Minister Marise Payne criticized Cheng Jingye’s comments as an “economic hit.” The government however is not backing down from the call for an independent inquiry, with Foreign Minister Marise Payne criticizing the threat of an economic hit due to the push,” Sky added.
Ambassador Cheng Jingye claims that pushing for a probe would “encourage” China to not do business with Australia.
According to Sky News Australia reporter Tom Connell, Australian politicians are united in their push for a “global independent” investigation into the Wuhan virus.
The Chinese Ambassador to Australia actually conceded that China’s response to the pandemic has not been “perfect.” When asked about the matter of Australia taking sides with the U.S. on wanting to launch a probe into China, Cheng declared, “It’s a kind of pandering to the assertions that are made by some forces in Washington.”
“Over a certain period of time, some guys are attempting to blame China for their problems and deflect the attention.” Cheng added. “So what is being done by the Australia side? The proposition is a kind of teaming up with those forces in Washington and to launch a kind of political campaign against China.”
“The Chinese public is frustrated, dismayed, and disappointed with what Australia is doing now,” Cheng noted.
“I think in the long term… if the mood is going from bad to worse, people would think ‘Why should we go to such a country that is not so friendly to China?’ “The tourists may have second thoughts”, Cheng also remarked.
Neon Nettle recently reported that a Chinese-owned food company recently started to shut down slaughterhouses and processing plants across America, which has placed the U.S.’s meat supply in a considerable predicament.
America’s meat supply is on the ropes because workers at facilities have caught the Wuhan virus, which has led to closures all over the nation.
Neon Nettle highlighted the gravity of the situation:
Perhaps the most alarming fact to emerge from the news is that the largest provider of pork in the U.S. is owned by a corporation based in China. Popular meat brands Nathan’s Famous, Farmland, Eckrich, Armour, and Healthy Ones, to name a few, all fall under the umbrella of Smithfield Foods – the largest producer of pork products in the United States.
China poses a unique challenge to the free countries of the West.
The U.S. should strongly consider immigration policies that restrict Chinese nationals’ movement into the country.
Similarly, it should recommend the same to Australia which has both significant Chinese investment in the country and a large presence of Chinese nationals within the country.
Immigration restriction is a reasonable soft power approach to handling China.
China’s authoritarian legacy continues to live on. Even in its relatively re-branded state, the country poses a unique challenge to the West.
The Anglosphere can get the China question right by restricting Chinese migration altogether.
Silver Lining: Could COVID-19 Response Serve as Linchpin for Resetting U.S.-Turkey Relations?
Turkey’s delivery of medical supplies to the U.S. last week underscored the diplomatic opportunities of the COVID-19 era. The gesture was evidence that a reset in relations between these two NATO allies – who many believed had been breaking apart in recent years – is possible. It reminds us that both nations have the option of forging a path forward that focuses on shared interests rather than tensions. This gesture may prove to have been a first step, and if the process runs its course, both the US and Turkey could be better off — in terms of security, a merging of geopolitical influence, and economic opportunities, especially post-COVID.
The last several years have been marked by a string of missteps and misunderstandings in the American-Turkish relationship, most notably surrounding Turkey’s purchase of the S400 missile system from Russia in 2017. Many in the U.S. and Europe considered this evidence of Turkey’s realignment toward Russia, fraying its 67-year history as a NATO ally and longtime status as a trading partner with the US. The strain between the two countries accelerated rapidly after the purchase.
But earlier this year, the natural alignment between American and Turkish interests started to become evident, even amidst their disagreements. In January, the Munich Security Conference presented the opportunity for a resetting of the bilateral relations with the understanding that they face a common threat: China. The Chinese government’s support for the Assad regime in Syria is a direct threat to the strategic interests of both the U.S. and Turkey.
Bashar al-Assad’s Russian-led assault on Idlib last February created a security and humanitarian crisis that raised global alarm and threatened U.S. interests in the Middle East. Turkey stepped in to stop this horrific crisis next to its border.
In Libya, foreign-backed militias launched an offensive against the UN-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) last year, putting American energy interests at risk and creating potential ground for the re-emergence of terrorist organizations like ISIS, which the GNA defeated in 2016. But once again, Turkey supported U.S. interests by providing military backing to the GNA in direct opposition to Russia, which backed the opposing militias. Thanks to this, the GNA has regained control of key cities along the coast and consolidated its military advances pushing militias further to the East.
On trade, the alignment of interests is positioned to grow as the US seeks viable alternatives to Chinese manufacturing after COVID. China’s flaunting of World Trade Organization rules impacts both the US and Turkey in a direct way.
Turkey is a logical partner with a robust manufacturing sector and an already-in-place trade project with the U.S. For the last year, Presidents Trump and Erdogan have repeatedly indicated a public commitment to tripling the trade volume between the US and Turkey to $100 billion a year.
A Reuters story in March indicated that discussions between Washington and Ankara over the S400 issue were continuing, and in April Turkey decided to delay plans to bring the system online. These developments could well get the two over their last stumbling block for a relationship refresh. Last week’s donation of personal protective equipment and medical supplies may mark a new pattern of goodwill and cooperation.
To be sure, disagreements remain between the United States and Turkey. But today, more than any time in the last several years, it seems there is a chance to find a resolution for those disagreements. Perhaps there’s something to be said for both countries having bigger crises to manage at the same moment and acknowledging they benefit from collaboration over bickering. Turkey’s gesture of help, even as it deals with its own COVID outbreak, may go quite a way towards creating a path forward. These things tend to stick.
So, as the world looks to reset itself and assess what the new normal looks like post coronavirus, the U.S. and Turkey should think about what the new normal might be in their relationship, and in what capacity it will best serve them both.
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