Posted by: jkirkby8712 | May 16, 2012

Wednesday, 16th May 2012 [Entry 2] – recovery stages, and ‘cold war’ hints!

A bit of a Face Book  message discussion with Ruth during the morning concerning my ‘friend’ in the Ballarat Hospital. I guess Ruth guessed!! Meanwhile, I was kept up to date with progress, and by early afternoon, the operation was over and Heather was out of recovery and into her ward, feeling rather miserable and ‘away with the pixies’ to quote her daughter.  I the meantime, I decided to get some flowers delivered – via White’s Florist in Ballarat, and I later learnt they arrived a few hours afterwards!

Throughout the day, I was kept updated on the recovery phases of Heather after this morning’s operation, by her daughter. In fact this evening, while I was eating, Heather rang me herself – just a brief chat, as she was rather hard to understand, sounding very groggy and tired, said she couldn’t stay awake, but she was clear enough to mention the flowers had arrived J  Told her I would be there tomorrow.

Other matters took a bit of my attention today, surprisingly – a visit to the Sunbury Library, where I met up with three other Family History Society committee members, and the George Evans Museum curator, Sue Sutton [a former member of the Society] to discuss the archiving of a number of boxes of old Shire of Bulla papers and records, which went back to the late 1800s. A mammoth job for a small group of volunteers but it seems like we are going to take it on. We also discussed some initial arrangements for a genealogical exhibition to be held in August within the Museum surrounds [which is located at the rear of the municipal library]. This would be followed up by the general members’ meeting tonight which included a speaker from the Commonwealth Bank, giving us a bit of a rundown on the kind of archives held by the Bank and/or it’s successor, the former State Savings Bank of Victoria. Quite interesting, and also short – which for me, meant an early night – not feeling that well, and would have preferred initially to have not had to go out. Also had to find time this evening to check the spelling etc, of yet another of my son’s university assignments!! The things I agree to do!! Haven’t finished the audit of those church accounts as yet however!!

On a different subject, there was I thought an interesting Editorial in today’s Age newspaper concerning the need for Australia to consider it’s role in a US military build up. I won’t comment on it, but include it here for the information and interest of readers.

‘JUST in case the Gillard government thought China had decided to overlook the deployment of 2500 US marines in Darwin, Beijing this week issued advice to the contrary. When the announcement about the marines was made during President Barack Obama’s visit to Australia in November, the response by a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman was diplomatically phrased: ”It may not be quite appropriate to intensify and expand military alliances and may not be in the interest of countries in the region.” But Foreign Minister Bob Carr evidently received a blunter assessment during talks with his Chinese counterpart, Yang Jiechi, and other officials in Beijing. Their view, Senator Carr said later, was ”that the time for Cold War alliances had long since passed”.

Few Australians expect or want this country to repudiate its alliance with the US, which is not only based on strategic necessity as it was understood during the Cold War and, earlier, during the war against Japan. The alliance also reflects deep cultural affinities, including, most importantly, shared democratic values. Acknowledging these things to be so, however, is not the same as saying that Australia’s national interest lies in closer military integration with the US as it shifts its global projection of power away from the Middle East to an emphasis on the Asia-Pacific.

In the context of that shift, the basing of US ground forces in Australia for the first time since World War II can only be seen in Beijing as a provocation. And the language used by Senator Carr to explain the marine deployment – ”an American presence in the Asia-Pacific has helped underpin stability there” – can only seem like weasel words.

The Gillard government likes to talk of the 21st century as the Asian century, and to portray Australia as especially well placed to participate in this global reorientation. Thus far, however, its actions have rarely been consistent with that rhetoric, for its inclination has not been to act independently as a middle-ranking power in the Asia-Pacific region. This government, like its predecessors of both political persuasions, has preferred Australia’s historically comfortable role of doing the bidding of a powerful protector.

No nation in the world can ignore the rise of China as a great power, and potentially a superpower. But China’s increasing reach, economically and strategically, holds different consequences for Australia and the US. For this country, China is the industrial giant whose demand for Australian raw materials has been the chief driver of growth. It would be naive to assume that this demand will continue indefinitely, but neither can Australia pretend that economic exchange is not fundamental to its relationship with China.

For the US, matters are more complicated. China is both the low-wage economy that has come to dominate global manufacturing and the expanding military power whose new assertiveness means the Pacific is no longer an American lake. And, China’s resistance in international forums to interventions aimed at protecting human rights in third countries is a constant reminder of its obsession with preserving its own creaking, authoritarian system. In all these things lies the possibility of conflict. Yet the fortunes of the reigning superpower and the contender are also entwined, for China is the biggest holder of US debt. As Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said, ”How do you talk toughly to your banker?”

When the marines’ deployment to Darwin was announced, The Age argued that if a military build-up in the Pacific by the US and its allies results in a new Cold War, the Obama administration and the Gillard government will have seriously miscalculated. Mutual hostility will not easily bring about a more open, less suspicious China, let alone a democratic one. This week Mr Carr got a chance to learn that directly.’



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