Diplomacy in Beijing, war pact in San Diego – who’s the belligerent?

Mar 20, 2023
President Joe Biden meets with Prime Minister Anthony Albanese of Australia and Prime Minister Rishi Sunak of the United Kingdom.

Under the Aukus military accord, Australia and Britain are committing serious self-harm to defend the American empire in the Indo-Pacific.

The symbolism and timing could not be more striking. After Beijing brokered a deal to help Iran and Saudi Arabia resume diplomatic relations, Washington hosted the leaders of Britain and Australia at the Point Loma Naval Base in San Diego to cement Aukus, a military accord between the three Anglo-American countries to deploy offensive capabilities across the Asia-Pacific. Australia is especially tasked to pay for the development of British-American-built nuclear-powered submarines to target China.

One deal involves an Asian country projecting its power for peace in a different region. The other has the Anglo-American West asserting dominance in the East, a region that fought long and hard to free themselves from the yoke of foreign powers. Just who is for peace and who is for war? Who is threatening the stability of the region?

Unable to tolerate a rival anywhere around the world that might challenge its dominance, the American overlord has unceremoniously turned its two English-speaking allies into vassal states. For Australia, it means committing its defence posture to military nuclear technology at an extraordinary cost to its society, just so it can take on its largest trading partner that has helped its economy boom for more than two decades.

For Britain, it looks like history is repeating itself for another debacle when it went “shoulder to shoulder” with the US to invade and occupy Iraq. This time, though, the reluctant adversary really has weapons of mass destruction, as in nuclear-armed. Isn’t security on the European continent much closer to home? There is a hot war going on there.

It’s a complete absurdity that Britain and Australia should redefine their national security in terms of Taiwan. That does not make it safer for their citizens, but much more dangerous. Perhaps Beijing should help Argentina regain the Falkland Islands, by force if necessary, and declare its national security interests in the Solomon Islands; how about the entire South Pacific? That, of course, would be an absurdity. And yet, when it’s the other way around, it’s all normal, a foregone conclusion!

The only reason the two vassal states are committing such obvious self-harm is because Taiwan is a beachhead in the economic war and naval encirclement being waged by the US against China.

There is the ingenious argument that the best way to prevent a war is to prepare for it. Interestingly, gun rights advocates in the US also say the only way to deter criminals is for law-abiding citizens to arm themselves. Well, the entire world knows how that has worked out for the country. So what we see is the internationalisation of America’s domestic gun violence. When an entire neighbourhood is flooded with guns, the outcome is fairly predictable.

Now, the Aukus nations are ready to flood the Indo-Pacific with the world’s most advanced military hardware and turn it into a powder keg. That is supposed to make all of us safer! Sure, and I have a multimillion-dollar investment plan that is guaranteed to make you rich, sign here please.

Meanwhile, China has helped broker a major diplomatic breakthrough in the Middle East; it recently offered a peace proposal for the Ukraine conflict that was dismissed by Washington and Nato before the ink was dry. Never mind that the two actual combatants, Ukraine and Russia, both said they were willing to consider it.

Yet, the Aukus member states – along with their supposedly independent mainstream news media – say China is more dangerous to the world than Russia. Has China threatened to invade anyone in the Asia-Pacific? Is it trying to encircle Australia with dozens of military bases?

Oh, Taiwan, you say. That’s a legacy of the worst tragedy of the Chinese people from the last century; they will be better off to resolve it themselves.

Great power rivalry is inevitable. The hegemon acts the way it does, not because it must but because it can. Now if only it would spare us the gaslighting and sanctimonious posturing.


First published in The South China Morning Post March 15, 2023

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