Daniel Woker responds to an item in yesterday's links post:

If I have understood Messrs Ruixue Jia et al right, China has found the perfect middle way to combine promotion by merit (past professional performance) and promotion by loyality (social connectivity) in a way to insure permanent growth without violent interruptions. This on the same day that we read about a Xi Jinping-authorised 'Document No. 9' advising all thus promoted that the party is always right, regardless.

You either have the right to freely speak about corruption and past mistakes (eg. of the Maoist kind) or you don't. No. 9 clearly says you don't. So leadership by fact and not gospel, and thus promotion by merit, is out.

Richard Broinowski also responds to an item that appeared in the links:

Richard Armitage criticises Australia for trimming its sails in 2013 because of a grumpy reception from Beijing about the Chinese threat outlined in 2009 Defence White Paper; also for cutting back on defence expenditure while accepting a free ride from America.

The article deserves a bit of critical context. Armitage first came into my consciousness when, as Australian Ambassador to Vietnam in 1985, I publicly contested his fanciful contention that the Vietnamese were malevolently keeping American POWs alive and hidden in Hanoi prisons instead of repatriating them to the US. The fact was that he wanted to punish Vietnam for winning the war.

He continues to take hawkish views about all aspects of American defence policy. He has consistently supported any argument for growth in the military forces of the United States, and its allies' purchases of American military equipment. During Clinton's administration, he called for a return to a Reaganite policy of military strength and 'moral clarity'. Even after perestroika, the fall of the Berlin Wall, and the dismantling of the Soviet Union, Armitage wanted substantial increases in US defence expenditure.

Along with other hawks such as Jeb Bush, Dick Cheney, Frank Gaffney, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, John Bolton and Daniel Pipes, Armitage was an original backer of the notorious Project for the New American Century that sought to maintain the United States' global military hegemony. Like them, he strongly supported President George W Bush's disastrous invasion of Iraq in 2003, which resulted in the United States losing its way and causing massive human misery which continues today.

His record would suggest that he would be the last one to support a policy of accommodation with China on any strategic issue. So why should Australians take seriously his perceptions about China and his patronising criticisms of Australia's defence policies?