ERIK PAUL. Resurgent racism in Australia’s foreign policy.

Australia’s banning Huawei points to a resurgent racism in foreign relations. Australian foreign policy should disengage from the military alliance with the US and adopt a more sustainable economy and independent foreign policy. 

Australia’s Five-Eyes Western spying agency is targeting China as the greatest emerging threat to the neoliberal world order. Australia’s intense political campaign against Chinese telcos Huawei and ZTE providing 5G technology became policy when Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on 30 October 2018 banned both companies from the 5G rollout.

Banning China from supplying equipment for the next generation of the Five-Eyes nations is widely viewed as part of a global struggle among great powers for the control of markets and technology. The economic war being waged between the US and China in the growth of global markets and infrastructure is a clash of capitalisms, hiding the rise and struggle of great and nationalistic powers.

Western political and intelligence elites argue that China is a threat to world peace because it is hostile to freedom and democracy. The view that China is a danger to the US and should be dismembered is embedded in Washington’s policy to confront and control any power perceived as a threat to its national interest.

China’s rising global economic and military power, with a population of more than 1.3 billion, is a clear challenge to the US-led neoliberal global order. China will be the world’s largest economy by the end of this decade. What China wants is recognition of its rightful place in the world order as an equal power to that of the US.  US rhetoric is that it must maintain unilateral global power because of its ‘manifest destiny’ to bring freedom to the rest of world.

Australia’s confrontation with China is reminiscent of earlier times when Japan’s bid to include a racial equality clause in the Covenant of the League of Nations was defeated by the Anglo-Saxon solidarity of Britain, US, Australia, South Africa, New Zealand and Canada. Japan’s demand for racial equality at the 1919 Versailles Peace Conference was thwarted by US and Australian racism to support European allies’ colonial empires. Nationalist Party Prime Minister William Hughes’ deep hostility towards Asians publicly humiliated the Japanese government and the Chinese delegation at the Paris Peace Conference and played a significant role in Australia going to war against Japan.

The victorious Allied Powers’ peace terms of economic immiseration for Germany and a reordered world political map were precursors to World War II and some 50 million deaths. What fraternized these countries together was their incestuous fixation on ‘whiteness’ and their rights to dominate and exploit others. William Edward Dubois, a black American sociologist and human rights activist, described ‘whiteness’ as a new proprietorial religion, claiming ownership of the earth.

Both world wars and the cold war were indispensable catastrophes to construct a US empire of more than 1000 military installations spanning the world. Since President George W Bush declared war ‘on terror’, an Anglo-American solidarity is being reaffirmed in an increasingly bitter conflict with China. Brexit suggests a pronounced shift towards the US while Australia is more firmly configured in the US military alliance to defeat China’s existing regime.

While race has been toppled from its earlier eminence by the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, its toxicity is being reasserted in rising inequality between nation-states. Symptomatic of the conflict is the US military coalition with Britain and Australia to recapitulate an older Anglo-Saxon solidarity, reshaping the Middle East and planning for war against China.

China is an economic superpower and has gained a strategic right to oppose US containment policy in the South China Sea and elsewhere in the Asia-Pacific region. US opposition to China’s demand for equality in world affairs is reminiscent of US racial discrimination before World War I. President Trump is widely viewed as a white nationalist intent on furthering US military global dominance, confronting China as an evil nation, and redrawing the map of the Middle East and the rest of the world.

Huawei’s drama signals Australia’s forceful engagement with the US policy for regime change in China and to dismember the country. The national culture war being played out in the media is a call for patriots to prepare for war.  Australia denies the right of China to share power with the West and remains committed to US global hegemony.

The US democratic regime is deeply flawed and its integrity increasingly corrupted by vested interests. Many US influential voices have been highly critical of US foreign policy in recent years. Chalmers Johnson, scholar and former national security adviser, wrote extensively on the threat of US militarism and imperialism to the republic and the world. He argued that a US imperial presidency was gathering strength ‘at the expense of the constitutional balance of governmental power as militarism takes even deeper root in the society’.

The US-China struggle for power is the epicentre of a world crisis. Globalisation has stalled, the global market is fragmenting. US democracy is not working for the public interest, and the biosphere’s condition for human existence continues to deteriorate. Climate change threatens the sustainability of global capitalism and the Australian neoliberal economy.

Australian foreign policy should disengage from the military alliance with the US and adopt a more sustainable economy and independent foreign policy. US unilateral power imposed on the rest of the world leads to corruption, racism and imperialism. There needs to be a concert of major powers, bringing together China, India, Russia and the EU, to balance the role of the US as the sole world power. A collaborative partnership is required to balance power and address the common threats to humanity.

Erik Paul is at the University of Sydney in the Department of Peace and Conflict Studies. He is a researcher specializing in Australia’s relations with the Asia-Pacific and issues of regional and world peace. His latest book is Australia in the US Empire, published by Palgrave Macmillan, 2018.


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6 Responses to ERIK PAUL. Resurgent racism in Australia’s foreign policy.

  1. Erik, You have a point on racism. The North Atlantic establishment of Washington, Paris, London, Harvard, Oxbridge is used to controlling the world and will not let go. Globalisation is breaking down and Australia is badly placed because of four fundamental mistakes — losing BHP as an integrated iron and steel producer, selling the Commonwealth Bank and Telecom Australia and failing to put the mining tax in place in 2010.

  2. Hal Duell says:

    The recent banning of Australian coal at a specific port in China will prove, I hope, to be an effective little jab causing Australia to think about it. Is there anything we sell to China that they can’t buy elsewhere?
    And the whole Huawei thing on security concerns is nothing but the pot calling the kettle black. Does anyone think our current system, and whatever system is coming, is not seeped in surveillance technology?

  3. Rex Williams, Australians for Justice says:

    If you are a rational thinker and read this fine article through and properly digest the content, you will realize that the path we have chosen to follow like a little lapdog, that is the path determined by the arrogant and imperialistic USA, at their beck and call every day of the week, is so very wrong.

    We are seen as having no independence, little credibility among respected nations and seen clearly for what we have become now, bordering on a second level developed nation with diminishing standards each year. We tolerated British control until 1945 and now dance to the US tune, having done so for 70 plus years and we will continue to do so.
    We have tolerated seeing Australia’s foreign policies written for years by the US State Department, and then issued publicly through the well groomed lips of people like Julie Bishop, seen by most Australians as a well-tailored US stooge, one of many in the history of this now sad country.
    Using the word ‘sad’ reflects the opportunities we have lost over time, the lack of real distinctive values, the erosion of our living standards, the differences between the rich and the poor, the way we are viewed by other nations and finally, the quality of those in Canberra who form the policies that impact and control our future. Nothing there to make one proud of Australia.
    Stated by the US, who are the unquestioned greatest threat to world peace, as “a threat to world peace”, China is represented that way daily in the pages of the corrupt western MSM. But China is the only possible threat to American power and a threat also to the US’s dominant position in world trade. Now that is the very same trade that the US use everywhere as a weapon of mass starvation by way of sanctions; medicines used with great effect in Iraq killing 500,000 children, now actively engaged in the same practices against Yemen, Venezuela, Iran, and a dozen more countries who years ago had relied on a USA that was then a respected country. No longer. Now a terrorist in thought and action unlawfully using violence and intimidation, especially against civilians, in the pursuit of their political aims.
    World domination, nothing less.
    China is “hostile to freedom and democracy”. according to the same media. Let us not mention the 81 countries that have experienced US intervention in their internal politics over many decades, multi-millions dead through wars of “democracy”, that is democracy as viewed by a hegemonic country dominated internally by the military-industrial complex and with a burden of having a cunning and parasitical Israeli influence included in every war-like decision made from both houses of government in Washington. What a handicap for any level of democracy.
    These are the facts, facts that cannot be hidden from an apathetic US population, slowly learning the hard way what they now have by way of a government. Hopefully they will see the need to do something about it, the next time around.

    Quoting such a great authority such as Chalmers Johnson, a scholar and expert on national security, adds serious credibility to Dr. Paul’s writings. Few have equalled Johnson’s grasp of the dangers of America’s directions and he wrote on them often, to no avail as it has turned out in 2019. His warnings of militarism have been proven correct. As well, Imperialism is alive and as a result, doing all it can to contribute to the gradual fall of US empire, as with Britain years ago, gathering speed downhill and with the fall of US empire, will be the fate of countries like Australia who have thrown their lot in with such an arrogant, power hungry country.

    One can never cease to be amazed at the tolerance of China and Russia. Month after month for all to see. Remember the embarrassing stage managed antics of the feckless Tony Abbott and his “shirtfacing” of the Russian President, cheered along by the likes of Julie Bishop, now thankfully soon to depart; the US efforts to have an Australian vessel confront China in the China Sea; US bases on our land on the increase to seeing the obvious control of this country by foreigners and then to expect to see a continuation of the out-of-balance trade relationships proceed without change, all based on obvious-to-all US dictates.
    The Huawei shambles, for example is so typically American in form.
    The US will one day be ‘hoisted on its own petard’, as time will tell.
    Because of government by amateurs, we will also pay part of the price in years to come.

    Thank you, Dr. Paul, a fine summary. Too many interesting points made on which to comment. There was a time in this country when your assessments should have been the path taken for Australia to have become a truly independent entity. It had a chance then. Too late now. Just look at the occupants of our parliament, one side mirroring the other. How many years will it take for Australian voters to see that the kind of people we have in power will never understand the direction in which we are being driven or adopt the values needed to make this country what it should have been, thirty years ago.
    Without major changes and a reassessment of firstly, our allegiances, then our priorities and values, nobody can have confidence in the future for Australia and Australians.

  4. Kien Choong says:

    Hi, I would say that Australia’s foreign policy is “parochial” rather than “racist”.

    Even if Australian policy is not wholly free of racism, I would argue that it is “parochialism” that is the key problem, not “racism”. Parochialism is a mainly psychological barrier. It is very hard to overcome parochialism, unless we are willing to look at a matter from the perspective of an impartial spectator (or from the “veil of ignorance”).

    In “Thinking Fast and Slow”, psychologist Daniel Kahneman observes that System 2 (i.e., our “rational self”) is under an illusion that it is free from psychological biases; it thinks it is in control.

    Our kind colleagues in the Security and Intelligence community are likely full of highly educated folks who think they are being wholly rational, and have difficulty noticing their own parochialism. In that sense, I often feel that parochialism (which go unnoticed) is a bigger problem than racism (which is easier to detect because of it is so blatant).

  5. R. N. England says:

    The crimes of the Anglo-imperialists (including the Americans) against humanity had to be justified somehow. The victims were not white, therefore “they deserved it”. This kind of logic appeals best to the uneducated, which explains why racism tends to be a disease of the masses. Though the uneducated were generally given the task of committing the crimes, the organisers and beneficiaries were those engaged in the struggle for property, the overwhelming obsession and fundamentalist culture of “educated” Anglos.

  6. Evan Hadkins says:

    What on earth is a ‘strategic right’? My cynicism tells me it is might makes right.

    And not wanting a foreign government able to spy on you due to what they put in their technology is not racism.

    Which is different to the existence of racism in the general population. It is surely there: most especially directed at First Nations People.

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