Defence minister Peter Dutton continues to heighten the likelihood of warring on China with the US, as, over the weekend, he told the Australian that Beijing has been clear about taking action against Taiwan, and “it would be inconceivable” not to follow Washington into a conflict over the issue.
Taiwan split from mainland China in 1949, after the Chinese Communist Party defeated the Kuomintang (KMT) in a civil war. The KMT nationalist party, which had governed China over the Second World War period, fled to Taiwan in 1949 to form a self-governing territory.
Beijing continues to consider Taiwan part of China, and the last few years have seen tensions mounting.
The Biden administration has homed in on this as its main reason for potentially engaging in conflict with the East Asian giant. And our nation is obediently wagging its tail in agreement.
Dutton told the Murdoch press that it’s highly unlikely that Australia could successfully take on “the economic and military superpower” by itself but joining the United States would be different. The minister added that while there might be a reason not to follow it into war, he can’t think of one.
Morrison, Dutton and the entire federal Coalition cheer squad have been banging the drums of war against China all year. The defence minister declared we were on something of a war footing in May, but it was the PM’s AUKUS announcement in September that really raised the temperature.
As the acronym suggests, AUKUS is a trilateral pact between our nation, the UK and the US. And it’s Australia taking the lead. A nuclear-powered submarine deal that our country has entered into with the US was central to the international unveiling of this agreement.
However, this arrangement involved our nation reneging on a 2016 diesel-powered submarine deal with France. And the PM neglected to notify French president Emmanuel Macron that Australia was pulling out of the agreement with his country in an appropriate manner.
As Dutton pointed out over the weekend, Australia will be joining any US initiative to attack China, and it can be assumed that the nuclear submarine deal might have been instigated by Washington for its own geostrategic purposes.
Yet, since Australia has been spearheading AUKUS on the global state, Biden has seen fit to publicly apologise to Macron over the submarines, claiming he thought our nation had informed France prior, while Washington and Beijing last week made a very public joint agreement on climate.
A bipartisan approach
“War would be devastating, there’s no question about that,” Dutton recently told Sky News. “Even a conventional war, let alone a nuclear war, would be devastating. That’s why all of us need to take every action we can to prevent that from happening.”
Meanwhile, former PM Paul Keating explained that Australia isn’t required to follow the US into a war with China over Taiwan, as our nation has never recognised Taipei and the ANZUS treaty requires that we support the US in the case of a war against it, but not when it wars on others.
“Eight submarines against China in 20 years’ time will be like throwing a handful of toothpicks at the mountain,” Keating said before the National Press Club last week. He further acknowledged China’s authoritarianism and its human rights abuses, but said the country is too big to be ostracised.
But the sobering words from the former PM aren’t indicative of the outlook of the party he used to lead, as Labor’s Anthony Albanese responded to Keating’s sentiment stating that China has changed, as it’s become “far more forward-leaning”, and the opposition continues to support AUKUS.