There is no universe in which China’s attempted annexation of the South China Sea can be morally justified. Everyone knows that. Malcolm Turnbull knows it. Bill Shorten knows it. Hillary Clinton knows it. Donald Trump knows it. Xi Jinping knows it. And Sam Dastyari knows it.
That is why Sam Dastyari needs to resign from the parliament of Australia.
By supporting China in the South China Sea he did the insupportable, which gives rise to the unrebuttable conclusion that in return for Chinese money he was bought.
Sam Dastyari is the first of this generation’s Quislings. We can’t afford more of them, and both sides of politics need to send a clear message to potential Quislings, and to their overlords, that retribution will be swift, and ruthless.
China’s attempted annexure of the South China Sea is analogous to Germany’s annexation of the Sudetenland. They have excuses, but not reasons, and it is a test by them of how much other countries will tolerate.
Tolerate too much and the aggressive push continues. The aggressor thinks they are getting away with it, but all they are really doing is ratcheting up the pressure.
Then war becomes inevitable, but at a larger and more horrific scale than if it is opposed earlier.
That is the lesson of history.
This is serious business. US think tanks are already gaming a potential war between China and the USA and the costs.
Undoubtedly this is a jawing tactic to convince the Chinese to pull back.
The great foreign policy challenge for this government, along with other governments in the world, is how to manage to convince the Chinese to retreat in the South China Sea.
We do a lot of trade with the Chinese. That makes us trading partners, not allies.
We did a lot of trade with Japan before WWII. That did not make us allies, even though in WWI we had been.
China is an adversary, unlike the US, which is a competitor.
The Australian security establishment regards China as an adversary, and stopped the Chinese from buying New South Wales power assets because it was a security risk.
Australian Labor has a bad track record on national security, and is regarded as worse than the coalition in this area.
Ben Chifley was a great wartime leader, but that was then.
Doc Evatt’s staff was riddled with Communist sympathisers, and the Communist domination of sectors of the ALP led to the DLP split which kept them out of power for a couple of decades.
If Bill Shorten does not insist that Dastyari be expelled from the ALP, rather than just resigning from the frontbench, he will add to this reputation. In effect he will be saying to foreign governments that it is OK to buy backbenchers, you just must leave frontbenchers alone.
Australia has to be united to send a message to China. Soft power is one thing, but no matter how much money you donate, we can’t be bought. We do not accept your annexation of the South China Sea, and you need to prepare to retreat and find some way to save face.
Some people will say resignation from parliament is a high price for Dastyari to pay.
Should there be a full-blown war with China, then young Australian men will lay their lives on the line. If you could save one life by sacrificing his career, what would you do?
Monday’s Q&A heard questions about Shakespeare’s attitude to minorities and refugees. In truth he had little to say about either of those things. They weren’t issues in his day, and there’s no evidence, even were he alive today, he would see them as issues now.
He was more interested in treachery – think Macbeth or Iago; Goneril and Regan; Brutus; Hamlet’s uncle Claudius.
Dastyari cast himself as a refugee on Q&A when he asked Pauline Hanson whether he should have been allowed to emigrate.
His behaviour now demeans the status of all immigrants, and exacerbates tensions in the community.
As our research shows, the big question for most Australians is “Do they come to join us or to change us?”
Sam hasn’t chosen Jihad, but he hasn’t chosen Australia either.
Shakespeare knew what to do with the Dastyaris of the world – make an example of them. So did Dante Allegheri, who reserved the deepest reaches of Hell for traitors.
Bill Shorten doesn’t need to be a classical scholar to know what to do, but in the interests of all Australians he has to ensure that Dastyari’s career is dead, buried and cremated.
The situation with China is serious. We can’t afford Quislings. China will see the “For Sale” sign up on the country. There are worse things for us than farmland that they can buy.