Some of these themes are picked up by Paul Keating in an interview with Paul Kelly in The Australian to mark the publication of a book of Keating’s speeches. Keating reflects that, “What is happening in China knows no precedence in world economic history. Never before have 1.25 billion people dragged themselves from poverty at such a pace. China is now half the GDP of the US and incomes have risen by a factor of 10.”
In this spirit, I had told the Labor people in Bathurst and the Young Labor people in Sydney on the weekend that the force of globalisation was too phenomenal to be resisted by any Australian government.
I liked a couple of other observations from Keating.
He said that the euro should have only constituted Germany, France and the Benelux Nations, not the peripheral countries around the Mediterranean. He said Greece should never have been allowed in. The weaker economies were only given entry, Keating said, because President Mitterand and the French wanted more numbers to balance the power of newly united Germany. As a result, the eurozone was flawed from the outset.
Keating is absolutely right to talk about the blunder of extending NATO to the Russian border. Sheer recklessness, he said, “Sensible policy would have included a place for Russia in the new world order but that didn’t happen. So Russian liberals were pushed to one side by Russian nationalists. In a sense, the US has created Vladimir Putin.”
Clinton, Keating said, is responsible for this.
It was a major blunder of the immediate post-Cold War era.