OPINION: Bellicose anti-China and anti-Russian Rhetoric is Meant for Us, Not Them

As in the dystopian novel 1984, Western propaganda that seems aimed at Moscow and Beijing is really intended for the citizens of the so-called Free World, writes retired Australian diplomat Tony Kevin.

“There is a slow-motion Third World War underway between the US-centralized power alliance and the nations like China which have resisted being absorbed into it, and that war is being largely facilitated by propaganda. If one doesn’t wish to become a propagandist themselves, one ought to withhold belief from the stories they are told about the terrible, awful things the unabsorbed nations are doing which require extensive sanctions, subversion and interventionism in response.“ (Caitlin Johnstone)

By Tony Kevin
in Canberra, Australia

I have come independently to the same view as the writer Caitlin Johnstone. We are indeed now in the throes of a Third World War against China and its ally Russia. This war has been started by U.S. and the UK, supported by minor Five Eyes allies  Canada and Australia. They have chosen their preferred strategic fighting terrain to be information and sanctions warfare, because they know that on conventional military war-fighting terrain they would be unable even to begin to prevail over Russia and China.

So this is a war confined to hostile rhetoric, sanctions and subversion. It is fought with words by people like Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and his obedient American and British acolytes such as U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper, British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, Labour leader Keir Starmer and a myriad of indoctrinated Western news editors.

It features continued recycling of old discredited anti-Russian and anti-Chinese propaganda myths like the Skripals, Syria chemical weapons attacks, alleged Uighur genocide, and repression of human rights in Hong Kong.

Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne and Defence Minister Linda Reynolds have obediently joined in the anti-China push, and are now in Washington receiving face-to-face briefings and instructions from their imperial masters. And they seemed overjoyed to be on the big stage:

The Real Target

The target audience in this Information War is not the Chinese or Russian people. Our new warriors have long given up trying to influence either nation with their obvious lies.

No, the target is us.

As George Orwell foretold in 1984 : in Oceania’s never-ending, un-winnable wars against Eurasia and Eastasia,  the main theatre is propaganda aimed at we citizens of Oceania. We are the gullible recipients of false narratives. Remember the inflammatory newsreels, the five minute hate sessions as Orwell described them? We are there now, in much of our mainstream media produced by stenographers of the empire.

We are being subjected to constant indoctrination at various levels of subtlety. It is unclear now who are the perpetrators, who are the enablers, and who are the gullible recipients: The white noise of false narratives surrounds us and it becomes harder and harder to disentangle as the volume increases. Dissident voices are efficiently marginalised.

Russia and China are patiently avoiding being goaded by this new kind of world war started by the West into similar retaliatory actions on their part. They know they enjoy superior strategic deterrence, and are quietly sitting tight on their deterrence assets.

Meanwhile, they are also sticking calmly to the facts, and choosing the terrain on which they wish to engage physically with Western provocations. As China humiliated India with stones and clubs in the Himalayas it will in its own time find appropriate ways to humiliate U.S. and allied navies’ provocations in the South China Sea.

Iran humiliated America in its telegraphed non-lethal missile attack on the U.S. base in Iraq, after the U.S. had murdered Iranian General Soleimani in Iraq. Russia safely neutralised Ukraine’s foolish naval provocation at Kerch Bridge in Crimea, thereby sealing President Petro Poroshenko’s political demise a few months later. And so it will continue.

Australia is backing the wrong horse. We should be standing back from this new Third World  War. We need to rediscover the art of diplomacy. Present policies will not end well for the U.S. and its military allies.

Tony Kevin is a former Australian senior diplomat who was ambassador to Poland and Cambodia and was posted to the embassy in Moscow. He is the author of six published books on public policy and international relations.

The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.

Please Contribute to Consortium News’ 25th Anniversary Spring Fund Drive

Donate securely with PayPal here

Or securely by credit card or check by clicking the red button:


21 comments for “OPINION: Bellicose anti-China and anti-Russian Rhetoric is Meant for Us, Not Them

  1. August 3, 2020 at 02:00

    The “shared values coalesce around White Anglo-Saxon Supremacist, “Hittlerist” hankering for global dominance; where browns and blacks are drawers of water and hewers of wood. Our so-called global economic system (neoliberalism to be exact) is designed to consign such folks to the margins of “progress”, permanently I might add! The murderous campaigns against the Other are ratcheting up amidst the current confusions.

  2. peter mcloughlin
    July 31, 2020 at 09:27

    It is a relief that such prominent names as Caitlin Johnstone and Tony Kevin are calling the current crisis for what it is: “World War Three”. Too many commentators describe it as a new “Cold War”. This is a dangerous illusion because it assumes this “Cold War” will end like the first one. This mindset is stubbornly apparent among those who are marching us towards nuclear annihilation. My own twenty-year contribution to this debate is a free e-book and essay, on how “peace” did not dawn with the end of the original Cold War but instead heralded in the conditions that would lead us blindly to nuclear holocaust – if nothing can be done to stop it. (ghostsofhistory.wordpress.com).

  3. Zhu
    July 30, 2020 at 21:02

    A century and a bit ago, Jack London wanted to exterminate the Chinese people with germ warfare, replace them with White Anglo-Saxon settlers. Probably more than a few in the US, UK, Australia, etc., think along the same lines today.

  4. dean 1000
    July 30, 2020 at 12:36

    i believe Australia will chart its own course between two hegemonic countries that want more influence in Australia than they should have. No easy task given that the worst of Washington has too much influence now.

  5. Pft
    July 30, 2020 at 01:17

    Yes, exactly. Its a Fake War Every government needs external enemies so as to unite their base and keep them from directing their anger at those in power. As a 2 party state we have one party using Russia as its favorite external enemy supporting the other party, while the other chooses China its preferential enemy. Both parties have Iran as an external enemy because Israels backers demand it, and it justifies our presence in the Middle East. Indeed, the MIC which collects over 1 trillion a year in protection money demands external enemies

    For a time there a real panic was on after the Cold War ended. Clinton was balancing the budget, Taliban was eliminating the opium that fed the drug trade (proceeds filtered into the financial system). While looting the FSU provided many riches that were laundered into the financial system into luxury real estate, that was drying up as we approached the 21st century. What to do? A new enemy was manufactured from those we trained up in Afghanistan to use against the Soviets. The GWOT was on, a new enemy. Yay. OBL saved their bacon. Unfortunately, it was hard to sustain as the credible threat , especially after Obama announced OBL was dead. ISIS was weak sauce. We needed to prop up the MIC and its brother the newly created Security Tech Complex (STC), so we needed a more powerful enemy, preferably multiple enemies.

    Russia was brought in first, then Iran after Trump canceled the deal, and now China. But hey, we have to be more cautious with China because they clothe us, and make a lot of stuff we need including ingredients for drugs and vaccines. Plus China was basically Made in USA. Thats our baby. Going to be hard to sustain China as an enemy. So we partnered with them to give us a new enemy. A virus both of us have been working together on for years

    Yes indeed, a new external enemy, a virus. Now Big Pharma and the STC can partner together and usher in the 4th IR . But wait. What about the MIC, who will be their enemy ? We still got Russia and Iran, but we got room for more. How about we the people?

    Thats what the defund police is all about, we got the military to handle that. Also tech (drones, robots, tracking devices, digital currency, social credit scores, Barrs precrime) Bring the troops back from Germany and other bases and put them on city streets. Make sure people wear their masks and take their shots. Barrs precrime program allow pre-crime detention, so we can skip the judges and trials and jails and
    place people under house arrest with robot guards and drones, or just turn them into soylent green as we move to eliminate animal protein from our diets (fake meat or in this case real meat but not animal meat)

    And lets not pretend this is a 1 way street. It works equally well for countries like China, Russia and even Iran. They can point to evil America to explain their problems and unite their people. In China there is only 1 party so they need external enemies mire than we do.

    The 21st century sure is all about FAKE.

    • Deus_Abscondis
      July 31, 2020 at 10:45


  6. Moi
    July 29, 2020 at 22:40

    Australians are willing to consume any false narrative along with their smashed avocado on toast. Indoctrination is not necessary. This makes them ripe for crap like this, from a couple of days ago, as presented by the Australian government’s MSM mouthpiece:

    “We would always like to see more like-minded countries participate because then it builds that international consensus and puts pressure on the PRC to conform to that international consensus,” said one senior US official.

    This manufactured “international consensus” is of course that day’s whim a la Uncle Sam.

  7. Tom Kath
    July 29, 2020 at 19:11

    As Tony and Caitlin keep pointing out, the MEDIA is the real enemy, not those poor lemmings who are fooled by it. It has been described for quite some time as the INFOWAR. I appreciate our warriors who defend themselves and shoot back!

  8. Deniz
    July 29, 2020 at 18:35

    The logical fallacy of claiming the CCP regime is one and the same as the Chinese People only serves to enable the impunity of the ruling class by claiming these are racial attacks. The CCP is certainly deserving of a great deal of scrutiny, the Chinese people are not. Should we not condemn China’s actions in Tibet, because that would be racist against the Chinese?

    • jd2021
      July 30, 2020 at 09:40

      Where was it implied that the Chinese ruling-class is one-and-the-same as the Chinese people? Of course China has it’s own internal problems and flaws like any powerful, inherently corrupt, heavily-populated, stratified nation. And no it isn’t racist to point any of it out. But this piece was not about that, and racism wasn’t inferred anywhere aside from your comment. So go ahead and condemn-away, but at this point Western nations, particularly US, condemning eastern ones over human-rights abuses is sheer hypocrisy, like giants sitting in glass-houses throwing stones….

    • Zhu
      July 30, 2020 at 21:09

      We Americans could be liberating the Hawaiians, returning thd Black Hills to the Sioux, etc., etc. But attacking other countries, killing them by the million, is so more fun.

  9. jo6pac
    July 29, 2020 at 15:01

    TK you nailed it.

  10. David Otness
    July 29, 2020 at 14:20

    Always a pleasure—and an edifying one at that—to hear from you again, Ambassador Kevin.
    I along with many others, applaud your wise counsel along with that of fellow Ambassador Craig Murray. Thank you, sir.

    • Bob Van Noy
      July 30, 2020 at 09:32

      “No, the target is us.” TK

      It’s a privilege to have reporters with a history of integrity such as Tony Kevin and Craig Murray reporting to us here at Consortiumnews. Their backgrounds of bureaucratic honesty add a significant contrast to present day dishonesty and deception…

      Thanks David Otness.

  11. Richard Lemieux
    July 29, 2020 at 12:30

    The behavior of the Anglo-Saxon countries in foreign affairs under the Empire has become highly irrational. It looks like the Empire is collapsing under its own weight and is throwing stones and showing muscles to cover the retreat. Most nations now expect a multipolar world run under a number of international institutions. The US is turning it’s back in a very childish way to those institutions. Is this behavior representative of what the Empire calls Liberty. As far as Democraty is concerned is the word even mentioned in the US constitution? I think that Australia and Canada would be better off by acting on their own and become more pragmatic in their foreign policies: politics is not about pseudo religious crusades as theses countries seem to believe but about connecting people together in their actions. That does not mean creating coalitions that will then act as mobsters against others though.

  12. Piotr Berman
    July 29, 2020 at 12:01

    “Australia is backing the wrong horse.”

    Sheep are still a majority in Australia. Economically, Australia has more to lose than USA and UK if anti-sanctions and counter sanctions escalate, they could learn from American soy farmers. But can China substitute intelligence sharing with USA?

    It is beyond my feeble understanding what makes the latter so precious.

  13. vinnieoh
    July 29, 2020 at 11:31

    Just so Mr. Kevin. I daily go to the VOX website to see what the status quo “moderate” Democratic pulse is like. Occasionally there are some articles there that are not completely over-run with propaganda and misinformation and DNC talking points. Yesterday however, there were posted two articles concerning the alleged Uighur genocide. That sent me on another research odyssey trying to get up to speed on the concept of Takfiri, Salafist madrasses (again,) the breakdown of the national origins of the foreign ISIS/ISIL/whatever fighters in Syria.

    Sufficiently armed I returned to VOX and re-read both pieces. Critical reading is a learned skill. What I discerned in both pieces was that “there is no there, there.” Innuendo and testimonials of vague accusations, none of which was corroborated beyond hyperbolic insinuations. Calls for greater use of the great US technological ability to spy from afar on what the diabolical Chinese are doing in Xinjiang. (/s) Portrayal of all the Uighurs in Xinjiang as “moderate” Muslims when much contradictory evidence abounds. Dismissal of actual Salafist terrorist attacks in China as “alleged.” In short, utter bullshit propaganda.

    So, there is the “opposition party” for you: Pompeo goes on a psychotic rant and a Democrat consensus manufacturing tool carries water for him. Reminds me of Disney’s Fantasia – MM as the Sorcerer’s Apprentice.

    At the height of the operations of the illegal invasion of Iraq as the W administration and the whole of the MICIMATT were delirious with their success in plunging humanity into another epoch of barbarism and murder, there were signs that that success had bred an excess of confidence , leading to over-reach. Recall that one of the projects of the necons/neolibs was to turn Iraq into a sort of privatization theme park. All of the former public institutions of Iraq would be taken over by private firms (owned by US “investors” and ME collaborators) and the wealth of that former nation would be siphoned into wealthy and ideological coffers (Betsy DeVos is the poster child.) That fantastic delusion was not for our sake; I believe that they actually believed it.

    The end of that project was signaled by the eventual story that broke: “US attempts to pay insurgents not to attack US troops.”

    Sorry for the dissociated rant; sometimes I feel overwhelmed.

    July 29, 2020 at 10:28

    I largely agree with the author, but I do think some of ugly noises from America and those under its thumb represent genuine resentment and hostility against Russia ans China, especially China whose rise is resented and whose ability to compete is feared.
    America’s power establishment, so long spoiled by extreme privilege, just can’t help being openly hostile about the changes underway.

  15. AnneR
    July 29, 2020 at 09:38

    Thanks for this summation, Tony Kevin. And for the reminder that Orwell had already warned us and did so remarkably precisely. (Is 1984 read any longer by anyone under 50? It needs to be.)

    Interesting how accurately she declares the US/UK/Aus/Can/NZ relationship: “The ???? relationship is built on shared values.” Indeed. And those “shared values” are deliberately cultivated ignorance, hubris, greed, profound belief in western superiority, eagerness to destroy the lands and peoples who present no “security” threat whatsoever. Together with a deep refusal to accept the reality, the truth, the need for the planet, the humanity of living alongside other peoples, cultures, societies, polities to some extent unlike one’s own. To, in other words mind one’s own business and ensure that one’s own population, environmental health and well being are the paramount focus.

    • Peterthepainter
      July 29, 2020 at 17:44

      Well said AnneR. This “shared values” thing has always bothered me. It’s another way of dehumanising the opposition/Chinese implying they are not like us because they don’t share our values. I would like to know what the Chinese values are if they so unlike us, I thought the Chinese/Russians were family oriented, loved their kids, wanted security, safety and to make enough money to achieve it all, just like people in the “free world”. But it doesn’t make any sense to the average person to make war on people who are the same as us so we only share values with our allies the yanks.

    • August 3, 2020 at 01:59

      The “shared values coalesce around White Anglo-Saxon Supremacist, “Hittlerist” hankering for global dominance; where browns and blacks are drawers of water and hewers of wood. Our so-called global economic system (neoliberalism to be exact) is designed to consign such folks to the margins of “progress”, permanently I might add! The murderous campaigns against the Other are ratcheting up amidst the current confusions.

Comments are closed.