Hugh White makes a compelling case that we may have to choose between America and China one day, with that moment of choice decided by the two great powers.

Here is one small example where we could do something which might – just might – make it less likely that this moment of choice will come. At the moment the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade negotiations are going forward on the clear understanding that China will not be included in the talks. It's hard to interpret this as anything other than an element of containment. But what positive purpose is achieved by leaving China out of a trade club which, if it succeeds, will tie its members closer together, with good reason to get along with each other? Does the gratuitous slight serve to advance any security goal?

Australia might at least provoke a sensible debate on this issue by insisting on a different message being sent to our largest trading partner China: they would be welcome at the negotiations, with a realistic prospect of being inaugural members.

Photo by Flickr user Andrew Albertson