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Time to take a stand against the CCP’s economic warfare

By Graham Young - posted Friday, 22 March 2024

BHP's proposed closure of its Nickel West activities in Western Australia is the canary in the coal mine of the risk to Australia's prosperity and security posed by the Chinese Communist Party's (CCP) mercantilist strategy.

Pre-eminent 19th-century theorist of war, Carl von Clausewitz, said that "war is a continuation of politics by other means."

But economics can also be a continuation of politics by other means, and therefore economics can also be war.


That defined the international order in the 18th and much of the 19th century, and it is defining it now.

The West's naïve politicians didn't "get" this, and neither did their capitalists, and they have bound themselves to China, their major strategic adversary, by economic ties of trade.

To his credit, former U.S. President Donald Trump was the first world leader to blow the whistle on the CCP and initiate a decoupling from the Chinese economy, but that has since slowed down.

The Chinese regime is now in the process of utilising those ties in an attempt to break the United States's ability to dictate terms. This isn't a hot war, neither is it a cold one.

This should be most concerning for a country like Australia, stuck at the bottom of the Asian landmass, and heavily dependent on China for income and the United States for defence.

What should be even more immediately concerning is the degree to which our country is at risk from commodity prices and volumes, which are very much at the whim of China.


The defence of Australia depends on it having a robust economy, yet it has squandered the good years of economic growth built on mineral exports to China.

That easy prosperity is at risk, yet Australia's politicians are fixated on distributing wealth rather than growing it and securing it.

Crushing the nickel market

The problem in the nickel market, as reported in The Strategist, is that Indonesia has hugely increased its production from 200,000 tonnes in 2016, to 1.8 million tonnes in 2023 which has largely caused the price of nickel to plummet from US$50,000 a tonne in 2022 to US$16,100 now. Story continues below advertisement

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This article was first published by The Epoch Times.

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About the Author

Graham Young is chief editor and the publisher of On Line Opinion. He is executive director of the Australian Institute for Progress, an Australian think tank based in Brisbane, and the publisher of On Line Opinion.

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