Are Australians ready for war with China? This is a question that ought to be front and centre right now, but it’s not.
The reason being is we have no choice in whether our nation enters into a conflict with Beijing, because both majors have committed us to one and we, the people, have no say in it.
Four Corners reported last Monday that the US has drafted plans for an upgrade of RAAF Base Tindal, south of Darwin. Washington is funding the revamp, which includes an area to store six nuclear-capable B-52 bombers strategically positioned to threaten China.
A stark aspect to the leaked information is the way it’s being framed, as its the White House that’s made this decision to build a B-52 lot on Australian soil, not our nation that has offered it.
As one reporter put it to PM Anthony Albanese at a 1 November presser, “Can you confirm that the US is preparing to deploy six nuclear-capable bombers to northern Australia?”
The US Air Force actually told the ABC that its being able to deploy US bombers to a position in the north of this country and just south of China, “sends a strong message to adversities about our ability to project lethal airpower.” And this use of the term “our” does not include Australia.
Even when the public became aware it had entered the AUKUS pact last year, at least then PM Scott Morrison told us and explained that we’d played a key role in its inception. But with the B-52s, it seems Biden told Albanese what he’s resolved to do and then the PM forgot to pass it on.
“These B-52 bombers aren’t there for Australia’s national or strategic interests,” Australian Greens Senator David Shoebridge made clear. “They’re there to deliver for the United States strategic interests, and they want to embed Australia in any future conflict with China.”
“These actions by the Albanese government are not materially any different to what Dutton and Morrison had committed us to,” he told Sydney Criminal Lawyers. “We remain in the eyes of both Labor and the Coalition, as the United States’ unquestioningly loyal deputy sheriff.”
Of late, the US has taken on the public fronting main aggressor position towards China. But from the early stages of the pandemic until it got booted out, the Morrison government was at the fore of antagonistic posturing against the East Asian nation that is our greatest trading partner.
And this only intensified after Peter Dutton took on the defence portfolio in March last year. The minister went on to assert that we were already on something of an online war footing with Beijing, and he then committed the nation to follow the US into any conflict with China over Taiwan.
“There has been a slight moderation in the language used by the Australian government, under the new Labor administration. And that’s welcome,” Shoebridge continued. “But the core fundamentals of escalating military conflict remain exactly the same as under Dutton and Morrison.”
Subduing rhetoric, maintaining target
Morrison announced Australia was entering the AUKUS pact, along with the US and the UK, in September 2021, which is an alliance focused on “security challenges in the Indo Pacific region”, meaning China, and it further involves Australia investing in a fleet of nuclear-powered submarines.
While these underwater vessels are not capable of launching nuclear weapons, the fact that they’re propelled by atom-splitting technology means acquiring them would allow Australia to approach close enough to China’s sea border, so it could strike the mainland with cruise missiles.
On the day of the AUKUS announcement, the CCP’s mouthpiece, the Global Times, said in an editorial that it was clear Australia “has turned itself into an adversary” and is “escalating its confrontation” with China due to its plans to patrol waters close by with these submarines.
Dutton told the press the day after the announcement that there were also plans to rotate a rising number of US marines through the north of the country, while Morrison then headed over to the US to join a meeting of the Quad, another China-focused alliance that includes India, Japan and the US.
But since Albanese took the top job in May, he’s quietened the warmongering messaging of the Coalition, although his first act in office was to fly to Japan to join a Quad meeting. He attended a special NATO conference focused on Beijing. And he’s asserted China’s become more aggressive.
“International relations are definitely assisted by a change in diplomatic tone, but they’re ultimately determined by these material changes in resource allocation and resource posture,” said Shoebridge, adding that the nation is still committed to upwards of $170 billion for the subs.
“What is really troubling about Labor’s action is that they seem to view conflict with China as inevitable and that’s extremely dangerous,” the Greens justice spokesperson stressed. “And I would suggest a fatally flawed approach.”
Time to get your boots on
Since the end of the Morrison government, the US has been increasing its war posturing against China, with president Joe Biden repeatedly stating he’d enter into a war if the nation attacked Taiwan, while US house speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taipei in a provocative move last August.
But regardless of which nation is taking the lead position of attack dog in relation to China, Australia has followed the US into numerous flawed wars for bogus reasons since Vietnam. And there are ever mounting indications that our country’s leaders are fully committed to a war against Beijing.
“It will be a conflict that will be started without consultation with Australia, and on the current policy setting, will potentially see us enmeshed without any independent assessment of our national interest,” Shoebridge warned.
Indeed, Australia is along for the ride despite what final set of circumstances provokes the open conflict, as our nation feels much more comfortable in following the lead of the American Empire then trying to oppose its position and possibly having the superpower turn on us.
Just look at the complacency of successive Australian governments to the extralegal farce taking place in relation to Julian Assange, as the US and UK slowly torture the Townsville-born man using an illegitimate indictment, so as to send a message to all those who might speak truth to power.
“What we need is the Australian public to speak up and demand that our government act in our national interest rather than the national interest of the United States,” Shoebridge said in conclusion, “or whatever great and powerful friends that Washington has decided to hand control to.”