White Man’s Media: Anti-China media beat ups continue…May 16, 2023
This time over possible Chinese naval bases in the South Pacific.
The anti-China campaign never stops… Hong Kong; Xinjiang; debt traps; the tennis player Peng Shuai, who was ‘disappeared’; Covid policies that were too strict and then too permissive; a property collapse; a shrinking economy that is now growing too fast and renewed beat ups about Chinese military bases in the South Pacific.
The ‘experts’ in our white man’s media say nothing of course about the 800 US military bases around the world, including many that directly threaten China, or that in AUKUS we are cooperating with the US to make China more vulnerable to a US nuclear first strike.
In similar vein the US destroys the NordStream gas pipeline but scarcely a mention by our media except to run the thread bare US denial.
In our media there is the assumption, never spelled out, that China will behave as aggressively and violently as the US has done for centuries in endless foreign wars. But China is not behaving that way. It does not militarily threaten the US and its allies. However, it refuses to accept the world hegemony that the US insists for itself.
The current anti-China hysteria is that China could establish navy bases in the South Pacific…
Does any of this stand up?
But first some necessary background and context.
The West, including Australia has plundered the South Pacific for centuries.
As Jerry Grey described it in Nuclear testing and colonisation explain Pacific Island Nation’s alignment with China:
‘The region experienced 200 years of land theft, resource exploitation, cultural appropriation though the influence of Christian missionaries, civil disorder, discriminatory legislation, labour abuses including slavery, forced migration of islanders out of, and foreigners into, the region. Some might say the region couldn’t have been treated much worse; but they would be wrong.
When peace finally arrived after the Second World War, it was time for the region to start recovering… But France, Britain and USA had other ideas…
They each selected areas with local populations, thriving fishing industries and huge potential for future tourism. All three were devastated by the testing of new weapons. Some parts of the region became, and remain to this day, nuclear wastelands. From 1946 to 1958 the US exploded 67 nuclear bombs on islands such as Kiribati, Bikini Atoll and Enewatak Atoll, as well as several bombs simply dropped into the Pacific Ocean. The French focused on Moruroa Atoll until it became too contaminated for crew safety so they moved to Fangataufa Atoll. The United Kingdom, used a couple of Kiribati’s islands before focusing on Australia’s deserts and the Montebello Islands for their tests.
Some of the waste sites left behind pose severe risks. Nuclear waste storage dumps are deteriorating and likely to leak materials with, according to an Australian ABC report, a half-life of over 24,000 years’.”
The Western colonial attitude continues with soothing words but little real action on climate change and rising sea levels, problems caused overwhelmingly by rich countries such as Australia.
Climate change,not China is the real threat in the South Pacific.
We patronise the people of the region by calling islanders ‘family’ and the region as our ‘backyard’.
With their experience of westerners it is not surprising that many South Pacific countries seek improved relations with an emerging China.
The media beat up a few years ago was the Chinese debt trap in the South Pacific. It hasn’t happened despite Julie Bishop’s propaganda which was embraced by our anti-China media. If there are debt traps, blame must rest principally with the IMF and the World Bank for their failures.
In 2018, David Wroe in the Sydney Morning Herald (SMH) warned us about a Chinese naval base in Vanuatu. It didn’t happen. The Vanuatu Government said that it ‘was not aware of any such proposal’.
It seems that the Vanuatu Government was interested in a new wharf for cruise ships, so our pliant media assumed that this was a front for the Chinese navy.
With the same anti-China hysteria in May this year, Matthew Knott in the SMH told us without any hard evidence but a clear inference that ‘a base in the Solomon Islands or Vanuatu would bring the Chinese military within just 2000 kilometres of the Australian mainland and upend the current balance of power in the South Pacific’.
Matthew Knott’s claim to fame is that he was one of the seven who gave us the recent infamous Red Alert in the SMH and The Age.
But would the Chinese really want a military base in the Solomon Islands to threaten us? Did Matthew Knott ever think of asking himself that question instead of falling again and again for all the Washington inspired anti China hysteria?
In fact the threat to Australia would be minimal because China would not be able to defend the 7000 kilometre long supply line back to China. And in between are two very large US bases in Guam and the Marshall Islands. Facts and logic count for little with Matthew Knott.
The worst that could happen is that China sees a military base in the region as a signal that the Pacific is no longer a US lake. But the military value to China would be minimal.
Independent countries in the South Pacific must find some satisfaction in playing China off against the US and Australia with their dubious records in the region. Think of our slave trade in bringing Kanaks to Queensland.
The best way for Australia to establish legitimate influence in the region is not by acting as a proxy for the US military but by negotiating with some regional countries entry rights to Australia for their nationals for study, work, residence and to become Australian citizens. That is something that we can do and China and the US would find very difficult.
As Percy Allan put it in Winning hearts and minds in the Pacific Islands:
“The best way for Australia to convince the Pacific Islands they are part of our family is to sign a Compact of Free Association with those too small to be economically viable and not aligned to the USA or France. Such a Compact would give their citizens special entry rights to Australia in return for them not accommodating foreign military bases or security guards.
That is something China could not match since indigenous islanders don’t aspire to live in Asia. On everything else – aid, investment, security forces, gratuities, etc., China can outbid us. On bribes, both China and Taiwan competed for official recognition and so ensnared Islander politicians in graft and compromised good governance.
There is nothing we can do to keep China out of the Pacific Ocean. It has freedom of navigation rights just as we insist our navy does in the waters off China. We do not recognise the East and South China Seas as belonging to China’s sphere of influence so we cannot expect China to accept the Solomon and Coral Seas and beyond as part of Australia and New Zealand’s ‘patch’.”
David Wroe and Matthew Knott and others should seriously rethink what they are writing.
The Royal Commission on the media called for by Kevin Rudd, Malcolm Turnbull and now by Senator Hanson Young is long overdue.
And it should not be just about Rupert Murdoch. The parlous state of Australian journalism and the Canberra Press Gallery should be high on its agenda.