It sounds like a scene straight out of a gangster movie. A new gang looks to take over a rival's territory. Thugs show up at a store and tell the merchant it'd be a shame if anything happened to his business but they can make sure he's protected - for a price. The shopkeeper, caught between two rival gangs, has to make a decision that might cost him his business or even his life.
This time the upstart gang is China and the territory is Australia. The none too subtle message is that it's time for Australia to find a new "godfather" and ditch U.S. protection for Chinese.
"AUSTRALIA must find a ''godfather'' to protect it and cannot juggle its relationships with the US and China indefinitely, according to a prominent Chinese defence strategist.
"The warning by Song Xiaojun, a former People's Liberation Army senior officer, comes after the Foreign Affairs Minister, Bob Carr, was told by his opposite number that Australia's close military alliance with the US was an outdated throwback to the Cold War era - an issue raised in two other meetings with senior Chinese officials.
'''Australia has to find a godfather sooner or later,' Mr Song told the Herald yesterday. ''Australia always has to depend on somebody else, whether it is to be the 'son' of the US or 'son' of China.
''[It] depends on who is more powerful and based on the strategic environment.'''
Mr Song said Australia was dependant on exporting iron ore to China ''to feed itself'' but that it had not done enough to engage with the middle kingdom.
'Frankly, it has not done well politically,'' Mr Song said."