Kevin Rudd offered shield to Xi, against almost every allegation hurled at him.

The wise learn from others’ mistakes, fools from their own. Politicians, especially those of “liberal” disposition, never learn: they dogmatically persist with the policy of appeasement. Former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd is one of them.

In an article in a prominent Indian newspaper, former Australian PM Rudd practically absolves Chinese President Xi Jinping of all sins, holding “Xi’s own domestic political anxieties at home” responsible for everything.

Reading the article, one gets the feeling that Xi is like a certain kind of Hindi film hero of yore: a felonious protagonist with a heart of gold; his badness is not the result of his free will but of haalaat (roughly, socio-economic conditions).

The former Australian premier has done what the most disingenuous commentators of Global Times have been unable to do: offer a shield to Xi, the most dangerous leader of this century, against almost every allegation hurled at him.

The People’s Liberation Army’s aggression in the Himalayas: “In a perfect world, Xi would probably prefer a calm border and a more stable, positive relationship with India, given the many strategic challenges China now faces on all sides.”

But, Mr Rudd, who has made the world imperfect in the first place? Who unleashed the deadly coronavirus all over the world, thus killing millions, destroying economies and livelihoods, and adversely affecting billions of people? Who was the aggressor in Galwan?

The answer to all these questions is the Communist Party of China.

Rudd, however, continues to provide covering fire for the CCP: “Seen from Beijing, the strategic environment for China is beginning to worsen in South and Central Asia. As the US withdraws and the Taliban advances in Afghanistan, China fears the prospect of instability and an emerging haven for terrorism directed against its policies in Xinjiang.

This instability also threatens to disrupt China’s large regional investments made as part of its Belt & Road Initiative (BRI), a reality already highlighted by the growing threat of terrorism in Pakistan, where there have been multiple terrorist attacks on Chinese interests, including the July 14 bombing, which killed nine Chinese nationals…”

Empirical evidence doesn’t support such assertions. The worsening situation in South and Central Asia is the direct and indirect result of China’s actions. The only major dispute in South Asia is between India and Pakistan, and that is because of the latter’s continuous support to jihad in Kashmir and elsewhere.

China can very well persuade or coerce Pakistan, its satellite state, to behave itself but doesn’t. In fact, Beijing instigates Islamabad to promote terrorism in India, as evident from its veto on Hafiz Saeed.

Central Asia is troubled primarily because of turmoil in Afghanistan, which in turn is the result of the viciousness of the Taliban. It is a well-known fact that unlike a few decades ago when the Islamic warriors got huge support from the oil sheikhs today Pakistan is the main supporter of the Taliban.

According to Rudd, “Beijing continues to exhibit profound concern about the ever-present spectre of ethnic separatism inside China.” How liberal politicians distort language! Beijing’s genocide of Uyghur Muslims is dubbed as “profound concern”.

Such is Rudd’s own profound concern for China that he alludes to India being the instigator of the recent border problems between the two countries: “It is probably not a coincidence that Xi visited the Potala Palace in Lhasa only two weeks after Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi sent official birthday wishes to the Dalai Lama for the first time since Modi came to power in 2014.”

One has to be either ignorant or a sucker for Chinese propaganda to believe that India triggered the flare-up in the Himalayas. Jawaharlal Nehru went out of his way to keep the Chinese in good humour. He faced flak at home for placating Mao and Chou. He even gave up the offer of a permanent UN Security Council membership, which he insisted must go to China.

In 2003, Atal Bihari Vajpayee recognised Tibet as part of China. Prime Minister Modi met Xi 18 times and tried his best to improve ties with Beijing. The denouement: Galwan. Yet, Rudd seems to believe that India should have done more. Perhaps hand over whichever territory China claims to be its own.

Rudd is extremely considerate towards Beijing’s worries and concerns: “China is deeply worried by the re-emergence and strengthening of multilateral opposition to China, and the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (or ‘Quad’) between the US, Japan, Australia and India.”
Therefore, “Beijing has come to increasingly see itself as beset by threats on all sides—a predicament that China’s culture is deeply attuned to, given that being ‘ambushed on 10 sides’ is among the ultimate strategic dilemma recorded in China’s canon of military classics.”

This is contrary to facts: Quad is the consequence, not the cause, of China’s belligerence. But Rudd wants everybody to believe that Xi is playing the jingoistic card just to bolster his image as a true nationalist.

He writes: “In the fall of 2022, China’s Communist Party will hold its 20th Party Congress, when new ranks of senior leadership will be elevated, and where Xi is likely to be confirmed in power for another term and potentially for life. Until this occurs, all facts of political life in China will be shaped by Xi’s need to display absolute strength and resolve on all matters foreign and domestic. And for his subordinates to display absolute loyalty.”

In other words, the entire world should silently if sullenly suffer Xi’s rise to absolute power. Till that happens, we should let China harass its neighbours, slaughter the ethnic and religious minorities, and do whatever else it deems fit. Appeasement should know no limits. That’s what Kevin Rudd believes.

Author: Ravi Shanker Kapoor.