Daily Bulletin

Daily Bulletin

The Conversation

  • Written by Michelle Grattan, Professorial Fellow, University of Canberra

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has sent an unusually pointed message to China about the importance of democratic institutions, in a speech also declaring that the US needs to play an even greater regional strategic role as China’s strength increases.

Bishop said that “while it is appropriate for different states to discover their own pathway leading toward political reform, history shows that embrace of liberal democratic institutions is the most successful foundation for nations seeking economic prosperity and social stability”.

“While non-democracies such as China can thrive when participating in the present system, an essential pillar of our preferred order is democratic community,” she said, delivering an address in Singapore titled Change and Uncertainty in the Indo-Pacific.

“Domestic democratic habits of negotiating and compromise are essential to powerful countries resolving their disagreements according to international law and rules. History also shows democracy and democratic institutions are essential for nations if they are to reach their economic potential,” she said.

Her comments come ahead of a visit to Australia this month by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang.

With uncertainty hanging over future US policy under the Trump administration, Bishop highlighted the expanding military spending in the region, and the inevitability of increasing tensions.

China was rising as “an economic partner and geopolitical and geostrategic competitor” with the US and other countries, she said.

“This brings with it its own challenges, not least because China is disputing maritime boundaries in the East and South China Seas as do a number of Southeast Asian countries with respect to the South China Sea”.

Bishop said she had recently discussed regional challenges and “constructive ways” for the US to become even more engaged in the Indo-Pacific in her talks with US Vice-President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster.

“Many regional nations are in a strategic holding pattern and waiting to see whether the United States and its security allies and partners can continue to play the robust and constructive role that they have for many decades in preserving the peace.

"If stability and prosperity are to continue, the United States must play an even greater role as the indispensable strategic power in the Indo-Pacific”.

Bishop said that ensuring peace and stability in a time of intensifying strategic competition was “at least as great a challenge as managing economic competition”.

“Strategic competition is occurring largely due to the dramatic increase in wealth occurring throughout our region”, she said.

“Rising prosperity means that countries naturally seek to expand their sphere of influence and to protect their growing interests.”

Military outlays in 2015-16 in Asia had grown by more than 5.5%, compared with a 1% overall increase in global military spending. By 2020 combined military spending in the Indo-Pacific would probably be more than $US600 billion – for the first time matching military spending in North America.

“Rising powers may exert newfound strength to challenge existing territorial or strategic boundaries or to impose their political will on others. This inevitably leads to rising tensions.” If these tensions led to conflict, this would disrupt the “great momentum towards greater prosperity”.

Bishop said that for our region the US “is a geographically distant power dependent on the acquiescence of Indo-Pacific states to host military assets and is obliged to use its power and influence to provide public security goods to the region and not simply pursue its narrow national interests.

"This provides reassurance to many countries closely observing how larger countries will seek to wield their power and influence in the region.”

The domestic political system and values of the US reflected “the liberal rules-based order that we seek to preserve and defend”, and the importance of these values and institutions should not be underestimated, she said.

“Liberal-democratic institutions such as rule of law rather than rule by executive privilege, civilian control of the military, independent and competent courts, protection of property and intellectual property rights from state appropriation or theft, and limitations on the role of the state in commercial and social affairs remain the prerequisites for stable and prosperous societies, as they are for the creation of a vibrant and innovative private sector.”

Authors: Michelle Grattan, Professorial Fellow, University of Canberra

Read more http://theconversation.com/julie-bishop-sends-sharp-message-to-china-about-democracy-74461

Writers Wanted

Schitt's Creek: the TV show has been showered with Emmys but is it worth the hype?


COVID-19 and small island nations: what we can learn from New Zealand and Iceland


'If JobSeeker was cut, the unemployed would be picking fruit'? Why that's not true


The Conversation


Did BLM Really Change the US Police Work?

The Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement has proven that the power of the state rests in the hands of the people it governs. Following the death of 46-year-old black American George Floyd in a case of ...

a Guest Writer - avatar a Guest Writer

Scott Morrison: the right man at the right time

Australia is not at war with another nation or ideology in August 2020 but the nation is in conflict. There are serious threats from China and there are many challenges flowing from the pandemic tha...

Greg Rogers - avatar Greg Rogers

Prime Minister National Cabinet Statement

The National Cabinet met today to discuss Australia’s COVID-19 response, the Victoria outbreak, easing restrictions, helping Australians prepare to go back to work in a COVID-safe environment an...

Scott Morrison - avatar Scott Morrison

Business News

Ten tips for landing a freelance transcription job

Transcription jobs are known to be popular in the field of freelancing. They offer fantastic job opportunities to a lot of people, but there are some scammers who wait to cheat the freelancers. ...

News Company - avatar News Company

How To Remove Rubbish More Effectively

It can be a big task to remove household rubbish. The hardest part is finding the best way to get rid of your junk. It can be very overwhelming to know exactly where to start with so many option...

News Company - avatar News Company

4 Tips To Pass Skills Certifications Tests

Developing the right set of skills is valuable not only to your career, but for life in general. You can get certified in these skills through obtaining a license. Without a certified license, y...

News Company - avatar News Company

News Company Media Core

Content & Technology Connecting Global Audiences

More Information - Less Opinion