I just want to put on record that I think Greta Thunberg is a force of nature. Her passion, her determination, her stubborn insistence is an inspiration to the likes of me and many millions more, and a source of frustrated rage for millions of others.
By and large, she has the people onside. It’s a rare person these days who doesn’t believe in the fearful spectre of climate change. Unfortunately, many of those who oppose her are the dinosaurs that rule the world – mug leaders like Trump and Morrison, the right-wing media, not to mention vested interests, particularly in the fossil fuel industries. The rest are fools and reactionaries and the little men whose masculinity is threatened by a teenage girl with a mighty voice.
To see and hear Greta Thunberg speak at the UN yesterday was to witness a moment in history. How we look back upon it depends on how we respond now. It may be a turning point, but it may also be recorded the last futile words in defiance of a doomed fate. I tend to the pessimistic on this score – not because I’m a pessimist, but rather because self-interest and disorganisation are the ruling attributes of world polity in 2019.
Speaking of, our esteemed PM is in the states at the moment and making a right royal fool of himself. He’s cosied up to Trump and even attended one of his rallies – a bad look that betrays impartiality, and something that will badly both here at home as well as with the American Democrats. He was denied an invitation to the UN climate summit because of his government’s recalcitrant policies regarding climate targets and most recently snapped visiting a McDonalds in Chicago. Inspiration he isn’t. Embarrassment, definitely.
While much of this is cringe-worthy, there are consequences. Presuming Morrison is PM next year it’s more than likely he’ll have to do business with a Democratic government in the US. He’s started out on the wrong foot by appearing a Trump partisan. And in cosying up to Trump, he offers implicit support to the anti-China rhetoric coming out of the states. That’s how the PRC see it.
Let’s face it, Morrison is a buffoon, but surely he has an advisor smart enough to know the perils of his clownish behaviour? China is our biggest trading partner by far. We may have longstanding cultural links to America, but the days of American pre-eminence are gone, never to return.
Assuming there’s still a world in 50 years then the Chinese will be running it. Who would bet against their monolithic will when their ‘rivals’ are so disorganised and narrow-minded? And what the Chinese have is the long term view that no western nation can match. Democracy is a great thing, but populist electioneering that predicates short term goals undermine progress. It’s not democracies fault for it wasn’t always the case – only since politics has been corrupted by individualism. The ‘greater good’ exists but in isolated pockets in western democracies.
That’s very true in Australia also. The world may burn tomorrow but how good is it today? It’s a short term view that betrays future generations, not just in terms of climate change, but also economic prosperity. A truly wise Australian government would know it’s in our interests to stay close to the Chinese. Like it or not, our economic future is hitched to them. That’s not to say we should be compliant, as the Chinese will try and dictate. Retain our independence and use our currency wisely – not fritter it way in useless support of a Trump administration that may well be impeached shortly, and which in any case is corrupt and hopelessly inept.
One of these advisors needs to tell Morrison that ‘it’s not about you’. The bromance may flatter him, but the rest of us despair and the damage it’s doing may be terminal.