Strategic analysis: Australia and the Chinese, past and present; and quarantine

In strategic analysis, peace and war, prosperity and decline, health and disease are always considered together as ever present possibilities, even if they are by definition complete opposites; the dialectical interplay between these opposites in politics, economics and public health (quarantine) are conceptually co-temporal and ontologically equiprimordial.

A strategic view in the national interests of Australia, then, does not answer the question whether Chinese immigration to Australia is in essence good or bad. Instead, the more meaningful question to pose is whether the implications of Chinese immigration are contingent upon China’s role and conduct relating to its power in the Asia-Pacific region, where Australia has become increasingly self-conscious of its inescapable geo-political place since the abolition of the White Australia Policy after World War II. For a Western society like Australia, this sense of place is potentially an uneasy one.

Strategically speaking, quarantine, to take one example, is morally neutral. It does not talk about good or evil; its main concern is the effectiveness in the identification, isolation and hopefully cure of dangerously diseased bodies, which, if left uncontrolled, can transform civilisation into death. The success of a quarantine is measured by the victory of a war against the holding sway and the expansion of untimely deaths by diseases in society. During an epidemic or a pandemic, quarantine acts as the fine line between life and death, or between society and burial sites (cemeteries as well as mass graves). When it works, quarantine is what stops fear and despair from exiling hope from the world of the living. When it does not, society falls into decline, accompanied by a chaos tinged with a mortal’s deep sense of horror.


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