Australia Beckons A War With China
12/13, 2017 "Information
- Australia is sleep-walking into a
confrontation with China. Wars can happen
suddenly in an atmosphere of mistrust and
provocation, especially if a minor power, like
Australia, abandons its independence for an
"alliance" with an unstable superpower.
United States is at a critical moment. Having
exported its all-powerful manufacturing base,
run down its industry and reduced millions of
its once-hopeful people to poverty, principal
American power today is brute force. When Donald
Trump launched his missile attack on Syria -
following his bombing of a mosque and a school -
he was having dinner in Florida with the
President of China, Xi Jinping.
attack on Syria had little to do with chemical
weapons. It was, above all, to show his
detractors and doubters in Washington's
war-making institutions - the Pentagon, the CIA,
the Congress - how tough he was and prepared to
risk a war with Russia. He had spilled blood in
Syria, a Russian protectorate; he was surely now
on the team. The attack was also meant to say
directly to President Xi, his dinner guest: this
is how we deal with those who challenge the top
has long received this message. In its rise as
the world's biggest trader and manufacturer,
China has been encircled by 400 US military
bases - a provocation described by a former
Pentagon strategist as "a perfect noose".
not Trump's doing. In 2011, President Barack
Obama flew to Australia to declare, in an
address to parliament, what became known as the
"pivot to Asia": the biggest build-up of US air
and naval forces in the Asia Pacific region
since the Second World War. The target was
China. America had a new and entirely
unnecessary enemy. Today, low-draft US warships,
missiles, bombers, drones operate on China's
July, one of the biggest US-led naval exercises
ever staged, the biennial Operation Talisman
Sabre, will rehearse a blockade of the sea lanes
through which run China's commercial lifelines.
Based on a Air-Sea Battle Plan for war with
China, which prescribes a preemptive "blinding"
attack, this "war game" will be played by
not urgent news. Rather, the news is the
"threat" that China poses to "freedom of
navigation" in the South China Sea by building
airstrips on disputed reefs and islets. The
reason why - the "noose" - is almost never
Australia in the 21st century has no enemies.
Not even a melancholy colonial imagination that
conjured Asia falling down on us as if by the
force of gravity can conjure a single
contemporary enemy. No one wants to bomb or
occupy Australia. Well, not yet.
Australian political, military and intelligence
establishments are integrated into the war plans
of a growing American obsession - the shift of
trading, banking and development power to the
east - Australia is making an enemy it never
bargained for. A frontline has already been
marked at Pine Gap, the spy base the CIA set up
near Alice Springs in the 1960s, which targets
America's enemies, beckoning, of course, massive
October, the opposition Labor Party's defence
spokesman, Richard Marles, delighted the US
admirals and generals at a conference in Hawaii
by demanding that Australian naval commanders
should have the authority to provoke
nuclear-armed China in the disputed South China
Sea. What is it about some Australian
politicians whose obsequiousness takes charge of
the coalition government of Malcolm Turnbull has
resisted such a clear and present danger, at
least for now, it is building a $195 billion war
arsenal, one of the biggest on earth - including
more than $15 billion to be spent on American
F-35 fighters already distinguished as hi-tech
turkeys. Clearly, this is aimed at China.
view of Australia's region is shrouded by
silence. Dissenters are few, or frightened.
Anti-China witch hunts are not uncommon. Indeed,
who, apart from former prime minister Paul
Keating, speaks out with an unambiguous warning?
Who tells Australians that, in response to the
"noose" around it, China has almost certainly
increased its nuclear weapons posture from low
alert to high alert?
utters the heresy that Australians should not
have to "choose" between America and China: that
we should, for the first time in our history, be
truly modern and independent of all great power:
that we should play a thoughtful, imaginative,
non-provocative, diplomatic role to help prevent
a catastrophe and so protect "our interests",
which are the lives of people.
Follow John Pilger on twitter @johnpilger
views expressed in this article are solely those
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