Pushing Australia into War with China

The U.S. establishment is so disturbed by the erosion of its “uni-polar world” domination that it is pushing compliant allies like Australia into potentially devastating conflicts, writes John Pilger.

By John Pilger

Australia is sleep-walking into a confrontation with China, not realizing that wars can happen suddenly in an atmosphere of mistrust and provocation, especially if a minor power, like Australia, abandons its independence for an “alliance” with an unstable superpower.

The aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson travels in the South China Sea, April 8, 2017.  (Navy photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Matt Brown)

The United States is at a critical moment. Having exported its all-powerful manufacturing base, run down its industry and reduced millions of its once-hopeful people to poverty, principal American power today is brute force. When Donald Trump launched his missile attack on Syria — following his bombing of a mosque and a school — he was having dinner in Florida with the President of China, Xi Jinping.

Trump’s attack on Syria had little to do with chemical weapons. It was, above all, to show his detractors and doubters in Washington’s war-making institutions — the Pentagon, the CIA, the Congress — how tough he was and prepared to risk a war with Russia. He had spilled blood in Syria, a Russian protectorate; he was surely now on the team. The attack was also meant to say directly to President Xi, his dinner guest: this is how we deal with those who challenge the top dog.

China has long received this message. In its rise as the world’s biggest trader and manufacturer, China has been encircled by 400 U.S. military bases — a provocation described by a former Pentagon strategist as “a perfect noose.”

This is not Trump’s doing. In 2011, President Barack Obama flew to Australia to declare, in an address to parliament, what became known as the “pivot to Asia”: the biggest build-up of U.S. air and naval forces in the Asia Pacific region since the Second World War. The target was China. America had a new and entirely unnecessary enemy. Today, low-draft U.S. warships, missiles, bombers, drones operate on China’s doorstep.

In July, one of the biggest U.S.-led naval exercises ever staged, the biennial Operation Talisman Sabre, will rehearse a blockade of the sea lanes through which run China’s commercial lifelines. Based on an Air-Sea Battle Plan for war with China, which prescribes a preemptive “blinding” attack, this “war game” will be played by Australia.

This is not urgent news. Rather, the news is the “threat” that China poses to “freedom of navigation” in the South China Sea by building airstrips on disputed reefs and islets. The reason why — the “noose” — is almost never mentioned.

Inventing Enemies 

Australia in the Twenty-first Century has no enemies. Not even a melancholy colonial imagination that conjured Asia falling down on us as if by the force of gravity can conjure a single contemporary enemy. No one wants to bomb or occupy Australia. Well, not yet.

Islands at the center of the territorial dispute between China and Japan. (Image credit: Jackopoid)

As Australian political, military and intelligence establishments are integrated into the war plans of a growing American obsession — the shift of trading, banking and development power to the east — Australia is making an enemy it never bargained for. A frontline has already been marked at Pine Gap, the spy base the CIA set up near Alice Springs in the 1960s, which targets America’s enemies, beckoning, of course, massive retaliation.

Last October, the opposition Labor Party’s defense spokesman, Richard Marles, delighted the U.S. admirals and generals at a conference in Hawaii by demanding that Australian naval commanders should have the authority to provoke nuclear-armed China in the disputed South China Sea. What is it about some Australian politicians whose obsequiousness takes charge of their senses?

While the coalition government of Malcolm Turnbull has resisted such a clear and present danger, at least for now, it is building a $195 billion war arsenal, one of the biggest on earth — including more than $15 billion to be spent on American F-35 fighters already distinguished as hi-tech turkeys. Clearly, this is aimed at China.

This view of Australia’s region is shrouded by silence. Dissenters are few, or frightened. Anti-China witchhunts are not uncommon. Indeed, who, apart from former Prime Minister Paul Keating, speaks out with an unambiguous warning? Who tells Australians that, in response to the “noose” around it, China has almost certainly increased its nuclear weapons posture from low alert to high alert?

And who utters the heresy that Australians should not have to “choose” between America and China: that we should, for the first time in our history, be truly modern and independent of all great power: that we should play a thoughtful, imaginative, non-provocative, diplomatic role to help prevent a catastrophe and so protect “our interests”, which are the lives of people.

John Pilger is an Australian-British journalist based in London. Pilger’s Web site is: www.johnpilger.com. His new film, “The Coming War on China,” is available in the U.S. from www.bullfrogfilms.com

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69 comments for “Pushing Australia into War with China

  1. April 12, 2017 at 5:02 pm

    Isn’t Australia, along with many Western powers, including the USA, on the OPCW’s Executive Committee which would conduct the inquiry into the recent use of gas in Syria, and the UN Security Council tried to get passed Russia which isn’t?

    No wonder Putin vetoed it, and the toady media never mentioned it.

    • Radguy
      April 16, 2017 at 2:16 am

      Wow, make it sound like Russia is opposed to an investigation. Funny that the text drafted by Fance, UK and the USA isn’t available.

      “emphasizing that the regime in Syria would be held to account, regardless of veto” That’s not the kind of statement one makes when investigating the truth.

      So it turns out you don’t know what you’re talking about unless you can site the exact text of the failed resolution 12791, which doesn’t appear to be viewable by the public.

      Logic follows that no conclusion can be made, however, look at the subtle messages. Some members who didn’t vote in the affirmative made the point that they agreed with the *language. So it sounds like there was some items within the text which were objectionable, such as questionable evidence.

      So tell me Trow, why is it that you agree with questionable statements being presented as fact?

      https://www.un.org/press/en/2017/sc12791.doc.htm

  2. mike k
    April 12, 2017 at 5:03 pm

    The US Empire is like a drunk in a bar who lurches to his feet and demands incoherently, “Anybody wanna FIGHT!” We are on our last legs, and the would be hegemons know it. This is their last ditch demand that, “Everybody do as we say, or we’re gunna start shootin!” Losing in every other quarter, all we have left is our weapons.

  3. Sam F
    April 12, 2017 at 5:32 pm

    It is difficult to see any real threat to Australia from China. China has no history of aggression there, and there are over 300 million Muslims in Indonesia in the path of any expansion. The entire US concept of “encirclement” and “domino theory” that led to the wars in Korea and Vietnam proved to be false. It is clearly nothing but a bully tactic.

    It is the bully-boys who rise in business and gain power in the US because its former democratic institutions were unprotected from economic power. They become classical tyrants over democracy, as Aristotle warned, creating foreign enemies so as to pose falsely as protectors, and accuse their moral superiors of disloyalty.

    The proper use of bully-boy warmongers is to dig ditches in developing nations, as part of a re-purposed US military, sent off to make real improvements to US security by helping the unfortunate instead of murdering them. This can be their life sentence, after imprisonment and conviction for treason.

    For it is treason to bring the US to foreign wars, for which there is no federal power under the Constitution, and no power other than under treaties, which since WWII have only been abused by warmongers to rationalize aggression.

    But it will take superior force to imprison and convict them.

    • mike k
      April 12, 2017 at 5:41 pm

      Runaway climate change may prove to be the superior force needed. A higher power to the rescue? Are we in a race between nuclear war and extinction by massive climate change?

      • Sam F
        April 12, 2017 at 6:04 pm

        No, climate change and religion are propaganda distractions to divide and entangle liberals, and I refuse to discuss them. Let us stay on the subject.

      • SteveK9
        April 12, 2017 at 7:23 pm

        Some perspective? We can certainly work around climate change. The United States would not survive a nuclear war.

        • Irene
          April 13, 2017 at 8:32 am

          How do you work around mass extinctions and the loss of our food supply?

          • Sam F
            April 13, 2017 at 12:32 pm

            Irene, that is totally unrelated to this issue. Although I respect your concern, one-issue people must stop interfering with political discussion. Please go to your favorite climate change website for that information..

          • Dax
            April 14, 2017 at 10:22 am

            You are not looking at the real research that scientists are adamant it has been a scam since Rio in 1992.

          • Radguy
            April 16, 2017 at 2:44 am

            Dax below, there is about 150ppm CO2 in the atmosphere that we put there. If you could compress this into a layer as dense as glass, how thick would it be and what would be the optical properties of this layer compared to the typical atmospheric gas mix?

            My calculations put it about the thickness of a thin pane of glass – about 2.5mm.

            So the “scam” you’re claiming is that in reality the optical properties of CO2 are no different to the optical properties of the typical atmospheric gas mix.

            Back to school with you Dax.

            Sam, while you have a point about sticking to the topic, climate change isn’t a topic the divides liberals. It is an issue that has been subverted by pretty much the same people who are hell bent on destruction and endless wars.

            Now that it has been revealed that Trump is in their camp, it is even more important to present the facts to his electors. Many of them truly are attracted to the idea of decentralisation which renewable energy empowers. Adaption doesn’t require devastating the economy, I’d argue that any cost is insignificant and that far more consequential economic policies have been enacted for better or worse without such a concerted effort by old money to keep their privilege.

            That being said, Irene’s comment doesn’t really take us anywhere.

    • April 12, 2017 at 7:25 pm

      “Democratic institutions … unprotected from economic power … creating foreign enemies so as to pose falsely as protectors..”
      Thank you Sam F.
      Spot on.

      John Pilger

      • Sam F
        April 12, 2017 at 9:42 pm

        Thanks, John. I would much appreciate some perspective on whether the US right wing warmongers are succeeding in scaring up a similar faction in China, for mutual growth through mutual provocations. Both China and Russia seem to appreciate the unique disease of US government in being led by demagogic tyrants, and seem able take a wiser course.

        If right-wing factions there are growing in response to US provocations, this would be worrisome. If they are not growing, it would be very interesting to know how such distinct nations as Russia and China better avoid the tyranny of bullies.

  4. mike k
    April 12, 2017 at 6:31 pm

    We can leave the higher power joke out of it. And BTW Sam, I am not “religious.” However the two greatest dangers this administration is barging into are nuclear war and runaway climate change. Either one could wipe out our species in the short term. According to studies I have seen climate change is not either a distraction or a myth. I understand our military takes it quite seriously, and weaves it into their plans both abroad and in the chaos to come here at home. Sorry to disagree with you Sam. I learn a lot from you. You are a very knowledgeable commentator.

    • Sam F
      April 12, 2017 at 8:56 pm

      Sorry to seem a bit curt, mike k; I’m sure that we agree in general, and those are substantial albeit distinct issues. I appreciate your perspectives.

  5. Drew Hunkins
    April 12, 2017 at 6:32 pm

    “The United States is at a critical moment. Having exported its all-powerful manufacturing base, run down its industry and reduced millions of its once-hopeful people to poverty, principal American power today is brute force.”

    Pilger nails it here.

    The corporate media and their puppet masters in the militarist Wall Street oligarchy have hoodwinked good chunks of the population. Using fear, diversion and demonization they’ve successfully brainwashed millions to view the rest of the world through the prism of warmongering sociopaths.

    The good news is that many are starting to see the light. As the falling wages, home foreclosures, underemployment, healthcare crises and addictions mount up, more and more see the glitzy corporate world paraded in front of them on mainstream television and the yellow press as a ridiculous fantasy world, totally at odds with reality.

  6. SteveK9
    April 12, 2017 at 7:19 pm

    ‘Australia in the Twenty-first Century has no enemies. ‘

    More astonishing to realize is that America has no enemies either. We are working very hard to turn the Russians and Chinese into enemies. By ‘we’ I mean of course our wonderful rulers.

    • Kiza
      April 13, 2017 at 2:33 am

      The best comment yet.

  7. Joe Tedesky
    April 12, 2017 at 8:40 pm

    The best way to stop this run away train called America who is rabid with dreams of world hegemony, is if it’s little brotherly allies like Europe, Canada, and Australia were to tell big brother America to slow down, and knock it off.

    • Dennis Merwood
      April 12, 2017 at 11:02 pm

      Joe, as you know I am in New Zealand. All I see ad infinitum in New Zealand newspapers, and on all TV broadcasts is “America Good”, “Russia Bad”. The poor Kiwi people are 100% brain washed. I suggested to some quite well educated Kiwi’s that they might try watching RT on their TV’s for another perspective. I was crucified. “Don’t you know that that’s propaganda!” It’s exactly the same in Oz.
      Maybe worse. I despair. I am the same age as you and have frankly given up.

      • Dennis Merwood
        April 12, 2017 at 11:18 pm

        The other thing I did was print out a few copies of CN articles and try to encourage people to read them. Most recently addressing the Syrian False flag sarin gas attack. Trying to hand them out went down like a fart at a party. (excuse my French.)
        “That’s rubbish of off the internet! Everybody knows the internet is full of false information. We get our news from reliable sources like the newspaper and TV.”
        Holy cow….I’m not exaggerating. Also my hand outs were more than 1-page. A big mistake. If it can’t fit on a Japanese car bumper sticker, Kiwi’s won’t read it…forget it. LOL
        The New Zealand Herald newspaper website has an interesting feature. You can click on the whole story and read it…or on “Quick Read”. Clicking on “Quick Read” on any article about Syria brings up..” Assad is a murderous Dictator who just gassed his own people”…uh, Ok!

        • Joe Tedesky
          April 13, 2017 at 1:22 am

          Dennis I feel for you. Your desire to see the world become a peaceful place is inspiring. Trying to educate the misled citizens is a tough task. Even the largest advertising campaigns have relatively low thresholds of percentage as sales goal goes. What I’m saying is, you may have convinced four out of a hundred but 4% in the pop music recording business would be a huge success. So Dennis do what you must do to sharpen your pitch, but consider you are dealing in an atmosphere where you may not always know of your success. In my own lifetime and along the way strangers have spoken, or handed me literature, whereas they made me think, and think for the better, but these angels of truth who wised me up were long gone, and when I finally did open my eyes so I could not see them to thank these good messengers of the truth it made be sad..so I’ll thank you Dennis for the unrewarding work you do.

          • Sam F
            April 13, 2017 at 7:14 am

            Very well put and very true. Much of education merely maintains the small percentage of the educated, and usually bears fruit long afterward. But it also plants seeds that will grow more widely when circumstances change.

      • Liberal Realist
        April 13, 2017 at 1:54 am

        Dennis, I am also from New Zealand and second your opinion. Kiwi’s a blatantly brainwashed! Even some of my more worldly friends and colleagues still believe what they hear on the evening news.

        The sad thing about our media is that they take anything coming out of the US/Europe as sanskrit. If overseas western MSM say it happened like X, then it’s true. Zero critical analysis. Zero. From point of view, there is no such thing as investigative journalism left in NZ (with the exception of Nicky Hager).

        New Zealanders, in my opinion, are generally anti-intellectual in nature. They’re also, for the most part, not the slightest bit interested politics, at home and abroad. It’s all SPORT at 6pm, rugby this, cricket that then a small snippet of an international event which portrays the US/Europe GOOD, Russia BAD. It’s a circus and shouldn’t been called news!

        If you’re looking for a decent local debate and rational news I’d suggest a blog ‘thestandard’. The Standard, if you’re not familiar with the site, is mostly debate from the left. Anyone is welcome to comment as long as they stick to the rules. I’ve been following the site for many years now, some decent folk there!

        • Kiza
          April 13, 2017 at 2:36 am

          I thought you were describing the Aussies, but it is hard to tell them apart, except by the accent.

      • john wilson
        April 13, 2017 at 4:43 am

        Dennis, you should have asked them if they watch the BBC from England. If they replied “yes” you should then point out that the BBC is entirely state funded and the people are forced under threat of imprisonment to pay for it. Also, the people who run the BBC are appointed by the state and always show deference to the government. At least RT raises much of its money from adverts.

    • Phil R
      April 16, 2017 at 3:42 am

      Precisely! I sometimes think just how important America’s little friends are to them. We give them credibility and justification for their crimes though our support. They can point to us and say ” look, everyone that matters agrees with us ”
      Our media is a joke and our own tax payer owned Australian Broadcasting Corporation , or ABC is as bad as the rest. The ceo is for certain a CIA asset, wether he knows it or not.
      The proof is in the never endin , one sided pro America narrative. Russia and China are bad, America is right, bla ,blah ,blah.
      People like John Pilger , Robert Parry and Paul Craig Roberts are on the ABC’s banned list. They categorically will not allow any guest commentary from anyone who is going to criticise American foreign policy or challenge a standing narrative, for example the ” chemical gas attack in Syria conducted by Assad ”
      They only allow pre vetted American assets to comment and support the narrative.

      I’ve been conducting my own long running campaign of complaint through the ABC’s complains email section.
      I call them out over any of their online articles that I happen to see that show their clear and total bias.
      This bias is a breech of their own standards as stated in the operating policies section available to view on their website. At times , they are so bad that a case could easily be made that they are publishing war propaganda, which is a breech of section 20 of the international charter of civil and political rights .

      I live in hope that more people might join me and bombard the ABC with complaint, not only via email, but via registered print mail . To creat such a ruckus, including peaceful demonstrations outside the gates of their headquarters in Ultimo in Sydney, that they have to change their ways and also submit to independent investigation and review of their operating and editorial procedure. To create dissent within the rank and file staff by making them realise that they are in fact aiding and abetting a criminal campaign of fostering public contempt against America’s designated enemies and general support for war and regime change operations against those enemies.

      I live in hope that one day the ABC could be forced to conduct live via satellite interviews with the three men I mentioned above, and others, on the 7.30 report , where they can make mince meat of thes false narratives and back it up with their inside knowledge and their proven track records of accuracy and integrity.

      I guess I’m a dreamer

  8. April 12, 2017 at 8:57 pm

    Very good article, John Pilger. And good comments, too. But I have to respectfully disagree, Sam. I am currently reading Jerry Mander’s “The Capitalist Papers: Fatal Flaws of an Obsolete System”. It is an excellent read. All things are interconnected, even though our thinking may have trouble teasing out the connections.

    The bully boy, US, has only war-making to keep the superpower status it has held since the end of WWII. And it looks like it could be going down soon, so why not get other western superpower supporters involved in challenging our major opponents? Looks better that way, and they might even help. Never mind that we the superexploiters imperil even our sustenance, our resource base, Earth, in order to continue this thuggish behavior. My background is in ecology, and you would be amazed at the interconnectedness of things. Somewhat as the eastern mystics understood. Australia’s leaders would be fools to get drawn into conflict with China.

    • Sam F
      April 12, 2017 at 9:16 pm

      I quite agree that we must protect the ultimate resources of nature, and appreciate your background. That is a process as much in the hands of developing nations as the US, although certainly the developed world should be leading the way and is not.

      The problem is that many liberals see the climate change issue as a place to hide from the difficult political controversies, and many right-wingers raise the climate issue to bury all issues of political progress. We will not see much improvement of environmental policy until we have serious political reform, because in fact the right wing cares about no one but themselves, and can buy what they need when the rest of the world is starving.

      So it is really propaganda to turn critical political debates into fruitless redundant discussions of climate change. We need more discipline to get there. That is why I am offended when others attempt to change the subject into something that goes nowhere.

  9. Zachary Smith
    April 12, 2017 at 9:06 pm

    Last October, the opposition Labor Party’s defense spokesman, Richard Marles, delighted the U.S. admirals and generals at a conference in Hawaii by demanding that Australian naval commanders should have the authority to provoke nuclear-armed China in the disputed South China Sea.

    I know precisely nothing about this fellow, but his remarks make me wonder if he is Australia’s version of Hillary Clinton.

    www*smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/navy-should-be-authorised-for-freedom-of-navigation-in-south-china-sea-marles-20161007-grx553.html

    A frontline has already been marked at Pine Gap, the spy base the CIA set up near Alice Springs in the 1960s, which targets America’s enemies, beckoning, of course, massive retaliation.

    The mention of “Pine Gap” triggered a memory, so I looked it up. Turns out that author John Pilger was the person who educated me about the modern Colonial status of Australia. Currently the US seems to have control of the rope through Australia’s bull nose ring, but the UK continues to have the power to change the government of Australia at will. When will the Aussies truly declare their independence and start acting for their own interests?

    www*johnpilger.com/articles/the-forgotten-coup-how-america-and-britain-crushed-the-government-of-their-ally-australia

    While the coalition government of Malcolm Turnbull has resisted such a clear and present danger, at least for now, it is building a $195 billion war arsenal, one of the biggest on earth — including more than $15 billion to be spent on American F-35 fighters already distinguished as hi-tech turkeys.

    “Turkeys” really is an understatement. This worthless airplane is nothing more than a shiny new toy for the RAAF. Looking at both the map of the region and the extremely limited specs of this crap plane, I can’t imagine what else it will be good for. If I were an Australian, I’d be pitching for a “Switzerland” status. Very well armed, and extremely neutral. IMO they’d be better off with a dense air defense missile system bolstered by a 4++ generation fighter. Since the US won’t sell Australia F-22 fighters for defense, they might want to purchase functional stealth aircraft from either China or Russian if and when those nations get their versions up and running.

    www*theaustralian.com.au/business/opinion/robert-gottliebsen/time-to-drain-f35-joint-strike-fighter-swamp/news-story/771153b81b85c155849636eb35154b5f

  10. mike k
    April 12, 2017 at 9:49 pm

    Sam, the ecological and the nuclear are political issues. There are significant constituencies who vote and demonstrate because of their concern in these areas. If we are going the political route to remove Trump and his kind from office, we need these people to help with that. They don’t see these as side issues, this is the stuff that energizes them to become activists. Others resist Trumpism for social services reasons, We need these people’s energies to change America. How political is that?

    “But it will take superior force to convict and imprison them.”
    Do you mean force of arms? If you are talking armed revolution, I don’t think that is going to happen. If you are talking nonviolent political action, then we will need all sorts of people with all sorts of agendas to pull that off.

  11. April 12, 2017 at 9:57 pm

    MADNESS,SOCIOPATHS,AND OUTRITE FASCISTS. SAD BUT TRUE WAKE UP WEST B4 ITS TO LATE. NUCLEAR WINTER IS JUST A HEARtBEAT AWAY. U think China and Russia r going to fall for this blatant extortion that the washington consensus mobsters and their minions r pushing. Think again. Russians and Chinese know their history and to that I will only add.
    YESTERDAYS NEWS GETS WRAPPED IN TODAYS FISH

  12. Nexus789
    April 13, 2017 at 12:12 am

    Australia government policy is moronic from a number of perspectives. Firstly, being party to starting a pointless war with your largest trading partner and secondly, wasting scarce treasury on useless weapons – the useless JSF, subs where China will totally out-build everyone and surface ships that will be sitting ducks for hypersonic missiles. If a global war breaks out it won’t be conventional so all conventional weapons will be irrelevant.

    The current Australian government is more intent on abusing the poor, disabled and other defenceless people in our community. I guess that is what psychopathic bullies love to do.

    • Phil R
      April 16, 2017 at 8:49 am

      Couldn’t agree more and I live in Australia!

  13. Realist
    April 13, 2017 at 1:18 am

    I know you Aussies are tough, but your population is only 23 million. The population of China is 1,357 million, or 1.334 billion MORE people than you have. They could give each of their women a spear and a row boat and it would be just a matter of time until they overran you blokes. Piece of advice: the U.S. is bad company to keep.

    • Kiza
      April 13, 2017 at 2:30 am

      The Aussie military think tanks are either milking the danger from China (more to US liking) or the danger from Indonesia. Neither are realistic and this is why I like your silly row-boat metaphor to illustrate how braindead such scaremongering is.

      The Indonesian Muslims are not highly organized and they are still more animist than Muslim, especially outside of Jakarta. Also, they are not terribly united, Indonesia being a nation of many thousands of islands. A few terrorist acts against Australian and other Western targets on their own territory do not indicate a possibility that they could ever invade Australia. In other words, they are fairly docile, non-expansionist people, although this could change in some long term future as Indonesia develops economically.

      The Australian imperial ambitions in the near-abroad are much more of a worry, especially considering PNG, Timor and similar. Simply, some Aussies may be trying to emulate US behaviour in their own neighbourhood.

    • Jack Flanigan
      April 13, 2017 at 3:03 am

      I believe that is true. Successive governments have left the country vulnerable there is no resilience in Australia.
      Our civilian communication systems are seriously compromised to beinghacked and shut down along with national electricity supply.
      We have only 90 days reserves in petroleum fuels and little capacity no capacity to refine fuel notwithstanding we are one of the biggest exporters of natural gas and an exporter pf oil.
      Something like 90% of petrol and diesal consumed in Australia is shipped in on foreign vessels manned by foreign crews via the Malacca straits and other vulnerable exposed sea routes.
      We not longer have a merchant fleet.
      We no longer have a manufacturing industry.
      We are losing farming skills and destroying our best farming land.
      We have lease out strategic ports.
      We have short stocks of medicines which have to be imported and the capacity of our pharmaceutical industry is seriously under resourced.
      Overall we have lost skills in many vital industries.Our military is absolutely useless

      I think the Chinese have long memories and recall the Opium wars involving the British and the Yanks.
      The irony is that we have sold off some of our critical assets such as water rights and farming properties to the Chinese government.
      In any conflict with China I would expect that it could justify an attack on Australia to protect its sovereign and its commercial interests.

      • Realist
        April 13, 2017 at 4:04 am

        All the most noteworthy American economic sicknesses. They must be catching. No wonder you’re feeling a bit bellicose towards the world’s other super powers.

      • Sam F
        April 13, 2017 at 7:38 am

        Most of your list are not realistic fears, and are not military threats:

        1. “civilian communication systems are seriously compromised to being hacked and shut down along with national electricity supply.” Yours are probably no more vulnerable than others, and easily made less so. Most control systems do not have any internet connection, and none of them need it, except as a field service convenience, which can be done with dedicated connections. These are not national security concerns: direct this concern to improving your designs if faulty.

        2. “only 90 days reserves in petroleum fuels and little capacity …to refine fuel notwithstanding we are … exporters of natural gas and …oil” That is plenty of reserve capacity, and you can refine if you need to do so, and you admit that you are independent of foreign supply. If you fear a shutdown, build some refineries and export the more valuable product. See that you import from a variety of sources with competing political interests.

        3. “90% of petrol and diesel … shipped in on foreign vessels … via … vulnerable exposed sea routes” But 90% of everything is shipped that way because it is cheaper, and there is plenty of competition so you are not vulnerable there. All you need is international agreement to defend freedom of shipping on international waters like the Malacca strait, which you already have. There has been absolutely no foreign threat to shipping because everyone knows that it would be defended. So there is no serious risk there.

        4. None of your concerns about dependence upon foreign manufacturing, farm production, port leasing, and imports are military concerns. A healthy domestic industry, employment, balance of trade, and alternative sourcing will address these issues without fearmongering about military risks.

        • Kiza
          April 13, 2017 at 8:55 pm

          Sam I do not quite agree with everything you wrote. You are underestimating the vulnerability of the communications and control systems in Australia. This is because they have been mostly designed by foreigners (US, British and German) with little care and with profit maximization in mind. Australian communications also extensively use the Chinese equipment (modems, routers, radio), which are likely to have back doors and similar. I feel that you are correct on all other points you made.

          But Jack reads very much like one anti-China think tanker, which is one of the most profitable professions in Australia. I had a hearty chuckle at his mention of the Opium wars, Jack obviously being Anglo-Irish with a suppressed sense of ancestor guilt. As to selling of “vital” properties to the Chinese, such as farms, they often offer 2-3 times higher price than any domestic buyer. That suggests that something is wrong with the domestic economy, not that the Chinese are bad. Personally, I am against selling strategic assets to foreigners (if farms as such), but how come the Chinese valuation is so different?

          • Sam F
            April 14, 2017 at 7:00 am

            Indeed there probably is vulnerable equipment “designed by foreigners (US, British and German) with little care and with profit maximization in mind” and some Chinese equipment with “back doors” that should be replaced. I have sought in vain to eliminate internet connections from control systems; it is the profit motive of the marketing department that seeks the fashionable new internet features. But it can be done.

            Utility companies can simply admit their mistake and get off of standard internet connections by using unique modulation, formats, and encryption schemes. Even over-simpified unique schemes are not guessed, and they can be varied over time to eliminate even that possibility. There is additional cost for physically private networks vs. VPNs.

            I don’t know the cause of stronger asset bids from China, other than the desire to diversify and buy assets that have definite value when market bubbles burst.

          • Kiza
            April 14, 2017 at 9:20 am

            It sounds like we may be professional colleagues, only I am close to retirement. Great chatting with you Sam, we are in pricipal agreement and I love reading your comments.

      • Phil R
        April 16, 2017 at 8:52 am

        All absolutely true!

  14. Kozmo
    April 13, 2017 at 1:22 am

    It’s more than a little ironic that the same Australia that decries its former colony status to the UK, and stokes a simmering resentment about being compelled to fight in Great Britain’s wars, would so willingly trade John Bull for domination by Uncle Sam and allow the US to lead Australia around by the nose into conflicts in which Australia has no vital interest.

    • Kozmo
      April 13, 2017 at 1:25 am

      Oh, and the US is also always eager to sell its weapons to its satellite states — boosting the profits of American munitions corporations seems to be the number one priority of American foreign policy.

  15. Kiza
    April 13, 2017 at 2:11 am

    Sorry guys but I would prefer to look at things from the most practical side. Let us step back from Australia’s role against China, which Mr Pilger’s article and your comments cover very well. Let us examine a global nuclear war of US against Russia and China, for which the US appears to be rooting, what would happen to Australia? This would be the end game in many escalation scenarios, including the one in the South China Sea.

    Although Australia officially does not have any US nuclear weapons on its shores, it has two important nuclear targets. One is the mentioned Pine Gap missile detection and navigation facility and the second one is the (nuclear) submarine base in Darwin (which may also secretly keep some nuclear weapons). Therefore, Australia would not “deserve” one of the latest MIRV ballistic missiles, two single-warhead missiles would suffice. We know that US nuclear target list includes targets in both Russia and China, because it had targets in Soviet Union and China before, during the stand-offs with Soviet Union. This was probably to prevent China coming on top if US and Soviet Union engaged in a nuclear missile exchange.

    I wonder what the depth of strategic cooperation is between Russia and China now. Would they be exchanging target lists of their missiles, for example, to avoid double targeting of US facilities in Australia?

    Finally, New Zealand is lucky that it does not have any US nuclear related facilities on its territory. This is why NZ is considered the most attractive escape pod for the rich and the powerful of the NWO. The NZ farms are in huge demand. After a nuclear exchange, and only if a nuclear winter does not turn out as bad as expected, the only places where human survival may be possible are: New Zealand, Southern tip of South America, Sth tip of Africa and Antarctica. In the rest of the world the living will envy the dead.

    • Realist
      April 13, 2017 at 4:12 am

      New Zealanders can go live in the mines of Moria until the weather clears, as the Dwarves have gone the way of the Elves of Middle Earth.

  16. Dennis Merwood
    April 13, 2017 at 3:05 am

    Evening Kiza, I wish what you said is true, but sadly it isn’t. New Zealand would also be on Russia’s “hit list” because of its involvement in the Five Eyes Electronic spying Program .(FVEY)

    The Five Eyes is an intelligence alliance comprising Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States. These countries, all Anglophone and ruled by a common law legal system, are bound by the multilateral UK/USA Agreement, a treaty for joint cooperation in signals intelligence.

    The origins of the FVEY can be traced back to the post-World War II period, when the Atlantic Charter was issued by the Allies to lay out their goals for a post-war world. During the course of the Cold War, the ECHELON surveillance system was initially developed by the FVEY to monitor the communications of the former Soviet Union and the Eastern Bloc. Now it is also used to monitor billions of private communications worldwide.

    In the late 1990s, the existence of ECHELON was disclosed to the public, triggering a major debate in the European Parliament and, to a lesser extent, the United States Congress. As part of efforts in the ongoing War on Terror since 2001, the FVEY further expanded their surveillance capabilities, with much emphasis placed on monitoring the World Wide Web.

    Edward Snowden has described the Five Eyes as a “supra-national intelligence organization that doesn’t answer to the known laws of its own countries”. Documents leaked by Snowden in 2013 revealed that the FVEY have been not only spying on Russia, but spying on one another’s citizens and sharing the collected information with each other in order to circumvent restrictive domestic regulations on surveillance of citizens.

    I think the hardware for this electronic spying is in the South Island of New Zealand, and the facility is off- base to any New Zealander.

    I don’t think little ole New Zealand will be spared. We would also be fried in the first few minutes. That leaves the Antarctic eh?

    • Realist
      April 13, 2017 at 4:15 am

      They say there’s a space alien base or city under the Antarctic ice sheet. If you ask politely, maybe they will admit you as a refugee.

      • mike k
        April 13, 2017 at 6:45 am

        Realist – Your realism is amazing! lol……

        • Realist
          April 13, 2017 at 7:14 am

          Just keepin’ it real, man.

    • Kiza
      April 13, 2017 at 6:14 am

      During the global nuclear war, which would not last long, the spying and listening facilities would not be the primary targets. The joint Defence Facility Pine Gap in central Australia, nominally under a joint US-Australian management, is a multi purpose facility. Its signals intelligence part for CIA and NSA is part of the ECHELON and PRISM spy programs. But it also performs a separate strategic nuclear missile monitoring and anti-missile navigation function. Regardless of who launches the missiles first (The First Nuclear Strike) the missile detection and and anti-missile navigation facility is strategically more important than any other target. Therefore, the Russians and Chinese would probably aim at such facility even before any other target, to prevent the destruction of their (first strike or retaliatory) nuclear missiles. Naturally, there should be at least two other such facilities around the globe to achieve 360 degree or 24 hour coverage of the planet: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pine_Gap/

      Although NZ is a member of ECHELON and PRISM spy programs and has one satellite station in South Island used in these programs, this facility is unlikely to be also a part of the US strategic nuclear forces like Pine Gap is. There is only a small chance that it could be a standby-backup facility for the strategic nuclear forces, in case Pine Gap is destroyed.

      Rest assured that the elite which is working on initiating a nuclear war would not be buying farms in New Zealand if it were not likely to survive: bank and hedge fund owners, Silicon Valley super-rich, politically powerful etc. Naturally, the names of real buyers are hidden from the public. Admittedly, NZ is a good place to escape social upheaval, revolutions and financial and economic crashes, without a global thermonuclear war.

      • Ian K
        April 14, 2017 at 1:24 am

        The super rich may think they are safe in their high country South island hide-away…but what happens when they run out of gin or tonic? This sort of speculation about what would be a safe space following a nuclear war is just that. Speculation. There may be a lot of aggrieved people , even in NZ, looking to find a scapegoat or a meal and anyone with wealth is likely to be a target.
        Avoiding nuclear war should be the priority, but most politicians in the west are toadies to the war mongering hypocrites in Washington, which ever country you are in, with some notable exceptions. Tulsi Gabbard springs to mind.
        As John Klasen comments below. It is high time NZ and Australia cut their ties with the USA. For their own good.

        • Kiza
          April 14, 2017 at 9:29 am

          Ian, I do NOT disagree that survivability of a nuclear war is pure speculation. What I wrote is the best personal guess based on my early scientific background.

          Unlike you, I do not expect people to work against the nuclear war, because people have to worry about putting the food on the table and about keeping up with the Joneses. But I am quite worried that most people say: nuclear war will never happen because it is not in anyone’s interest. Western people live in highly structured societies which do nit leave any room for irrationality, thus they underestimate own irrationality. I know from literature that before WW1 the Western people though exactly the same – it us in no-one’s interest, thus it will never happen.

  17. mike k
    April 13, 2017 at 6:58 am

    I am impressed by how knowledgeable some of you commentators are about many aspects of our global predicament and it’s probable outcomes. I wonder if you might turn your acumen to consider what we can do to get out of this colossal mess we have created for ourselves? I am quite serious. If we spend all our time on diagnosis and prognosis, we might never get around to treatment options. That’s the area where our discussions might have some relevance to the actual emergency that is unfolding.

    I am not ignoring the role of deeper understanding of our global malaise as a foundation for possible treatments, but perhaps it should not crowd out our constructive thinking on what to do?

  18. mike k
    April 13, 2017 at 7:28 am

    This essay in today’s Counterpunch spells out major dimensions of the US descent into tyranny. But again it begs the question, how are we going to change this fatal situation? Brilliant analysis but no prescription for cure.

    http://www.counterpunch.org/2017/04/13/trump-empire-and-our-long-retreat-to-tyranny/

    • Andreas
      April 13, 2017 at 9:51 am

      Mike, at this time nobody can give a prescription for cure, not even a forecast of what the world can expect in the near future. What is sure is that today’s scenario is Asia, tomorrow might be Europe, Africa or the Caribbean.

      .

  19. Andreas
    April 13, 2017 at 9:41 am

    Insanity is pushing the world into a global confrontation. At this time there is no clue as to who will fight who. On the verge of this struggle a nuke shadow may drive the world to unthinkable consequences nobody desires except the US corporate-government with the unconditional support of puppet leaders around the world.

  20. mike k
    April 13, 2017 at 10:59 am

    Predictions and prescriptions are certainly entering uncertain dimensions Andreas. But isn’t that what even physical science is all about, at least the creative edge of it. Only walking on the well trodden ground is easy and comfortable, but pioneers must try to find their way in darkness. The most essential challenges to explore are those which seem most hopeless of solution.

    As I recall the Seabees in WWII motto was: “The difficult we do right away, the impossible takes a little longer.”

  21. April 13, 2017 at 1:24 pm

    Sam F, I didn’t mean to sound uppity about environment as part of this issue. Climate change has definitely become a cliche. Earth always goes through changes. The biggest issue is overuse of resources, made much worse by competition between nations. In the US there’s never serious debate as to why so much money is spent on military at the expense of all else, which was true even before the ME wars. Inability to cooperate with other nations because of military men (and women, but they’re mostly men) is taking us to a very tight spot. If anything, Australia ought to cooperate with China, not get manipulated by US warmaking. Australia has lots of problem with drought from their position in the southern hemisphere.

    I saw John Pilger’s article here on Sputnik, I think, and I read some comments, many indicating Aussies are very polarized people in their opinions. Could any be more polarized than the US? I’ve never been down under but would love to see the marsupials (while they’re still here). If we all don’t get blasted off the face of the earth because of stupid “leaders”!

    • Sam F
      April 13, 2017 at 4:49 pm

      Very true; it is unfortunate that those who promote responsible environmental and development policies are ignored by much of the electorate as insufficiently militaristic to deal with fantasized enemies. So we need some true humanitarians who don’t mind posing as conquerors of monsters from time to time. But of course they would not be elected while elections and mass media are controlled by economic concentrations, so the real conquerors of monsters will have to take out the oligarchy first.

    • mike k
      April 13, 2017 at 8:50 pm

      “Earth always goes through changes.” Not like we are seeing now. Check out some real science, like David Wasdell’s group. We are on the way to a planetary disaster.

      https://collapseofindustrialcivilization.com/tag/the-apollo-gaia-project/

  22. John Klasen
    April 13, 2017 at 10:28 pm

    John’s quite right, it’s high time Australia cut it’s apron strings to all foreign powers and become independent for the first time in it’s history, we have been fighting wars with thousands of Australian lives lost on behalf of foreign powers far too long right from the Boer war till today and never was there one of those countries that had any intention of invading Australia. It’s time to stop this moronic cowtowing to foreign nations. and stand on our own feet.

  23. Ron Chandler
    April 14, 2017 at 12:55 am

    In all this mentioning of Pine Gap I read nothing of a far worse target — Garden Island near Perth. It is a US nuclear ammo base for attack submarines — perhaps the only atomic weapons storage this close to a major population centre on the planet.
    The American subs using it are those who will be attacking China, in a major war.
    Garden Island is 50Km from Perth, the capital of Western Australia, where roughly a million people live. Should it be attacked, a million people will be wiped out by the detonation not only of the incoming missiles, but the ignition of dozens of atom bombs.
    Pine Gap bombed? Who gives a toss — it’s all Yanks, in the middle of nowhere.
    Garden Island’s demise would remove 5% of Australia’s population.

    • Kiza
      April 14, 2017 at 9:49 am

      I was not aware of the nuclear component of the Garden Island, if there are missiles there then it is a target. Mind you, when this base was established Perth was a mining village (you know, the loneliest speck of light on the planet, as seen from orbit).

      But Pine Gap is not just all Yanks, Alice Springs is near by. Although casualties would not compare with Perth, they would still be significant. BTW, the Pine Gap base was placed in the middle of nowhere not to protect the population then to avoid radio-intereference from the main population centers. The second issue is the winds, which could bring the radioactive cloud from Pine Gap to one of the major cities (only one because they are well apart). Sydney or Brisbane would probably be the “lucky” winners of this lottery.

      Finally, my point was that Pine Gap’s nuclear monitoring and navigation function is so important that it would almost certainly be the first to be hit, active missile silos in the US and any detected submarines would be hit in the second salvo, whilst any nuclear missile storage facilities including those near Perth and/or Darwin would be the target of the third salvo.

  24. R Davis
    April 14, 2017 at 2:04 am

    I watched mainstream TV news, as then Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, no doubt looking in the direction of China in disgust & menace, said, to the effect that, China had better comply with Western desired cooperation, of demanded financial & economic practices .. OR ELSE.
    Implying war ..
    How’s that for a mindless act.
    Former PM Paul Keating gave away .. for free . all of Australia’s manufacturing jobs .. well over a million jobs to China .. FOR FREE MIND .. leaving over a million Australian people without paid employment & to seek financial assistance from the Australian welfare body .. CENTRELINK to survive.
    Australia depends & rely’s on China for most of it’s goods & produce .. we are going to starve to death if we alienate China .. & most certainly be in rags .. they make out clothes also.

  25. R Davis
    April 14, 2017 at 2:09 am

    If this incitement of China goes on .. next years cheap & nasty fashions will not arrive here .. then what ?

  26. Call A Spade
    April 17, 2017 at 5:00 am

    No mention of the position Russia would be in with any US lead attack on China it will mean engage or be next no other choice and we are left with a nuclear waste land I am sure that will change the climate.

  27. Call A Spade
    April 17, 2017 at 5:06 am

    John you should write an article on the US subjugation of Australia especially the mechanisms for the axing of Whitlam and economic take overs like that of the AWB ect.

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