The actions of China are no different to that of the general human experience of relationships. Once the stronger party believes it has its foot on your throat, it will increase the pressure to increase its pleasure. The stronger party rarely acts as an article of benevolence. That is for religion to preach, though it rarely adheres to it.
The dominant party wants to assert its power in fact and in appearance. It wants acknowledgment of that power by the supplicant It will call them “partner” as it drives toward vassal.
The creation of a dominant and supplicant relationship is done by overt power, or as economist Henry Ergas referred to recently, by the actions of compradors. Compradors simply put are people who receive a benefit from the big fella pushing around the little fella even though they live in the little fella’s house.
The dominant party can rely on loyalty or at least advocacy from the comprador in what otherwise would be a broader deleterious relationship.
China is very well versed in how the actions of a comprador work. China suffered the duplicitous graft of agents for others when it was dominated and partially colonised by European powers at the turn of the twentieth century. China is not going to turn its back on its own history so as not to offend us.
Dominance in a relationship self-evidently does not accept equivalence. Dominance is not only felt, it is seen. China is making sure we see it. We are not in the chair beside them, we are in a chair below them.
So really the question is what is Australia to do? If you are prepared to hand over all that was ever fought for by this nation then, guess what? It still won’t be enough. A bully never sees itself as a bully. A thief never sees itself as a thief. A violent partner always has a reason why it happened and an alibi that they are misunderstood.
These are hard times for all of us because we must challenge ourselves, are we as earnest as our rhetoric? When it actually hurts, are you going to stand in the playground against the bully and say ‘that is enough?’ Are you prepared to accept what happens next and for the period of time it will hurt and cost?
The judgement of character is not to be part of the pile-on for when the position is self-evident. To be honest, the gratuitous singing to the choir is a sign of a saccharine search for relevance.