This week the Chinese community are celebrating the arrival of the Year of the Snake. This is, perhaps, appropriate because Australia’s business leaders and many politicians approach the nation state of China as a bush walker might approach a king brown curled up on a path in the Blue Mountains – with a great deal of caution. Many in our defence community would seem to take the same attitude – step aside, avoid confrontation less the snake strikes. Any suggestion that the United States might be seeking to contain China is met with harsh criticism, even though the Obama administration has insisted that is not the case.
Our distinguished speaker at the AIIA NSW on Tuesday February 12 – a distinguished former member of Australia’s intelligence corps – takes a rather different view. Writing recently in Quadrant magazine Dr Paul Monk argues that Australia should be pushing hard for political reform in China, rather than accepting the status quo.