A Sane Voice Amidst the Madness

Former Australian PM Paul Keating has eviscerated Australia’s deal to buy nuclear submarines from the U.K. and U.S., saying there is no Chinese threat to defend against, despite the war hysteria stirring in Australia, writes Joe Lauria.

Former Australian Prime Minister Paul Keating at the National Press Club in Canberra on Wednesday. (ABC screenshot)

By Joe Lauria
in Sydney, Australia
Special to Consortium News

Paul Keating, a former prime minister of Australia, has boldly contested the establishment consensus that Australia needs to spend A$368 billion to buy nuclear submarines as protection against a China Keating bluntly says is not a threat.

The former Labor premier has defied the conventional wisdom, saying the U.S. opposes China only because Beijing has committed “the high sin in internationalism – it has grown as large as the United States,” a fact the “exceptional state” can’t accept.  By subordinating itself, Australia is forfeiting its sovereignty to rely on Britain, which abandoned its former colony years ago, to build nuclear submarines that serve U.S. — and not Australian — interests.

“China does not present and cannot present as an orthodox threat to the United States. By orthodox, I mean an invasive threat,” Keating said in a speech to the Australian National Press Club on Wednesday. He said:

“The United States is protected by two vast oceans, with friendly neighbours north and south, in Canada and Mexico. And the United States possesses the greatest arsenal in all human history. There is no way the Chinese have ever intended to attack the United States and it is not capable of doing so even had it contemplated it. So, why does the United States and its Congress insist that China is a ‘threat’?

The US Defence department’s own annual report to Congress in late 2022 said ‘the PRC aims to restrict the United States from having a presence on China’s periphery’. In other words, China aims to keep US navy ships off its coast. Shocking.

Imagine how the US would react if China’s blue water navy did its sightseeing off the coast of California. The US would be in a state of apoplexy.”

Keating said China is integrated into the international system as a member of the World Trade Organization, the IMF, the World Bank, the G20 and other organizations and has a “vested interest in globalization.”

“China is a world trading state – it is not about upending the international system,” said Keating. “It is not the old Soviet Union. It is not seeking to propagate some competing international ideology.”

The former prime minister said “a sensible American” like Henry Kissinger or Zbigniew Brzezinski would celebrate the fact “you had turned up a co-stabilising power in Asia. … But no. China is to be circumscribed. It has committed the mortal sin, the high sin in internationalism – it has grown as large as the United States.”

“Nowhere in the American playbook,” Keating said, “is there provision for this affront to be explained or condoned for the exceptional State to be co-partnered, let alone challenged.”  Keating is merely quoting the Pentagon itself, whose strategy is to not countenance any power that challenges U.S. “primacy.”

Thus the U.S. didn’t “see itself as the ’balancing power’” in East Asia, he said, but the “‘primary strategic power’. Its geostrategic priority is to contain China militarily and economically.”

This means that if 1.4 billion Chinese do not keep their place, the U.S., “will shut them in – contain them … with the complicity of a reliable bunch of deputy sheriffs, Japan, Korea, Australia and India,” said Keating.

“We are now part of a containment policy against China,” he said. “The Chinese government doesn’t want to attack anybody. They don’t want to attack us … We supply their iron ore which keeps their industrial base going, and there’s nowhere else but us to get it. Why would they attack? They don’t want to attack the Americans … It’s about one matter only:  the maintenance of U.S. strategic hegemony in East Asia. This is what this is all about.”  

China’s new foreign minister, Qin Gang, warned this week the U.S. is heading for “conflict and confrontation” with Beijing because of America’s “suppression and containment.” China has “worked out what the U.S. game plan is,” Keating said. “So, the ball game has begun.”

Just like in Afghanistan and Iraq, if it all goes wrong, he said, the U.S. “will just pull out and leave the mess behind. They will go back to San Diego, 10,000 km, and leave us with the consequences.” 

Watch Keating’s full remarks from Wednesday:

Labor Party Not Spared

Keating went a step further, taking aim at his own party and its leaders. He said scathingly:

“The Albanese Government’s complicity in joining with Britain and the United States in a tripartite build of a nuclear submarine for Australia under the AUKUS arrangements represents the worst international decision by an Australian Labor government since the former Labor leader, Billy Hughes, sought to introduce conscription to augment Australian forces in World War One.

Every Labor Party branch member will wince when they realise that the party we all fight for is returning to our former colonial master, Britain, to find our security in Asia – two hundred and thirty-six years after Europeans first grabbed the continent from its Indigenous people.”

The Labor Party, he said, bought into a “unity ticket” with the right-wing Liberal Party that supports the U.S. “dominating East Asia – but not as the balancing power to all the other states, including China, but as the primary strategic power.” This happened not because the U.S. is “resident in the metropolitan zone of Asia but on a continent of its own, 10,000 kilometres away – the other side of the world.”

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese “thought a gigantic shift of this kind deserved less than twenty-four hours’ analysis – notwithstanding the huge implications for sovereignty, for the budget, for manufacturing and relations with the region – and of course, with China,” said Keating. He added:

“The Prime Minister is proud to buy submarines that will forever remain within the operational remit of the United States or now, of Britain – with technology owned and dependent on US management – in fact, buying a fleet of nuclear submarines which will forever be an adjunct to the Navy of the United States – whether commanded by an Australian national or not.”

Just dropping the word “sovereignty” into every sentence that Albanese utters “like a magic talisman does not make it real,” Keating said. There’s been no White Paper, no major ministerial or prime ministerial statement to “explain to the Australian people what exactly is the threat we are supposedly facing and why nuclear submarines costing more than any national project since Federation were the best way to respond to such a threat.”

Keating said: “Signing the country up to the foreign proclivities of another country – the United States, with the gormless Brits, in their desperate search for relevance, lunging along behind is not a pretty sight.”  He called Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong and Defence Minister Richard Marles “unwise ministers” for going along with the bi-partisan submarine scheme. 

Australia was playing the sucker regarding that agreement, said Keating.  Monday’s meeting of the U.S., British and Australian leaders announcing the submarine deal was a “kabuki show in San Diego,” he said. “There were three people there but only one payer: The Australian prime minister.”

Joe Biden and Richi Sunak “could barely conceal their joy with A$368 billion heading their way to their defence companies – in the U.K., BAE Systems, in the U.S. its east coast submarine shipyards. No wonder they were smiling, and the band was playing.”

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, U.S. President Joe Biden and British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak at a press event for AUKUS in San Diego, March 13, 2023. (DoD photo by Chad J. McNeeley)

The nuclear subs are designed to attack in China’s waters which are defended with the most sensors, Keating said. “No Australian nuclear submarine could have more than a token military impact against China, using as is planned, conventional weaponry,” he said. “In short, a plan to spend around $368 billion, for nuclear submarines to conduct operations against China in the most risky of conditions, is of little military benefit to anybody, even to the Americans.”

There’s nothing remarkable about Keating’s comments as he’s speaking the plain truth. But in the current political climate, it has unsurprisingly been condemned as heresy. 

Keating is speaking in a political culture in which people in public life aren’t required to find out what they really think about an issue and then express it, but only what is expedient to say to advance their interests and careers.  This defines what motivates the politicians and journalists who are condemning Keating. 

Attacks a Servile Media

In his hour-long interview Wednesday with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s presenter Laura Tingle, Keating personally attacked mainstream journalists at the press club who have been dangerously ratcheting up tensions with China. 

The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age this month ran a three-part series headlined: “Red Alert: Australia ‘must prepare’ for threat of China war.” Keating had called it “the most egregious and provocative news presentation of any newspaper I have witnessed in over 50 years of active public life.” It was based on the views of five hand-picked China hawks who are promoting a coming war with Beijing.  

One of the journalists of the Herald and Age newspaper series, Matthew Knott,  tried to ask a question from the press club to Keating who was in a studio in Sydney. “You have a tremendous skill for invective and criticism; could I ask you now to turn some of that to the Chinese Communist Party and its treatment of Uyghurs … and pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong. …  Will you be similarly critical of them as you are of your own party and journalists?” 

“After what you co-wrote with [Peter] Hartcher last week in that shocking presentation in the Herald … you should hang your head in shame,” Keating responded. “I’m surprised you even have the gall to stand up in public and ask such a question, frankly. You ought to do the right thing and drum yourself out of Australian journalism.”  He added: “The Sydney Morning Herald is a newspaper without integrity. If I were you mate, I’d hide my face and never appear again.”

Regarding the Uyghurs, Keating asked rhetorically what Australia would say if China asked about deaths in custody of aboriginals in Australia’s prison system. “Wouldn’t that be a valid point for them?” he asked. “Great power diplomacy cannot be about reaching into the low social entrails of these states any more than they can with us.”

He then laid into Andrew Probyn of the ABC, telling him: “You can’t impute threat, meaning invasion, with putting a tariff on wine, or maybe you are silly enough to think that? …  China does not threaten Australia, has not threatened Australia, does not intend to threaten Australia. You can have all the commercial rows you’d like.”   

He said Probyn’s question lacked context. China imposed tariffs after Marise Payne, the former foreign minister, whom he called “the great non-minister of our time,” said she wanted weapons-type inspections in the Wuhan lab regarding the origin of the Covid virus. “So you can’t put a question without context,” he said. “I mean contexualization may not be your long suit.”

Journalists questioning Keating from the press club in Canberra. (ABC screenshot)

Keating rebuffed a question from Probyn about China conducting cyber attacks. “What, you think the Americans and the Russians aren’t into cyber attacks? Who in the world is not into cyber attacks? Or do you think we are not?” He accused the “dopes” in Australian intelligence of tapping the phones of Australian allies in Indonesia. “This is what states get up to if you let the security agencies, these ning nongs, get control,” he said. 

Olivia Caisley of Sky News introduced the idea that Keating was “out of touch” because “unlike present players” he had not had a military briefing on China since the mid 1990s and didn’t see China’s intimidation even when he was in office. “Why are you so sure China is not a military threat to Australia?” she asked.

“Because I’ve got a brain, principally,” Keating responded.

“And I can think. And I can read. I mean why would China want to threaten Australia? What would be the point? They get the iron ore, the coal, the wheat … why would China want to occupy Sydney and Melbourne? And could they ever do it? So you don’t need a briefing from the dopey security agencies in Canberra to tell you that. I know you are trying to ask a question, but the question is so dumb it’s hardly worth an answer. You know Sky News, you’ve got to dust up your reputation and you’re probably doing your best to do that.”

Ben Westcott of Bloomberg asked, “Shouldn’t Australia work with a partner like the U.S. to protect trade in the region?”  Keating told him the U.S. Congress has refused to ratify the U.N.’s Law of the Sea, “so that puts a pretty big hole in that question.” China can’t find an alternative supply of iron ore than Australia, he said.

“You think they don’t want that?  Do you think we need the American military at the Pentagon to make sure our iron ore boats go to China? It’s a wonder they don’t have a welcome for us every day when these damned things turn up. … Why would China want to interrupt their capacity to deal with us? Why would we need some donkey in Washington to help us?”

Jess Malcom of The Australian asked: “Who is being more provocative, Australia or China?”  Keating said: “What the Chinese do in building a fleet is not provocation. Why do you use the word ‘provocation’? That’s the wrong word to be using. They’re a major state, they have an economy bigger than the United States. … So why would you think it is a provocation for a great state like China to build a navy? The question is invalid.” 

The Counterattack

U.S. Secretary of State Blinken meets with Albanese and Wong in Melbourne Australia, on Feb. 11, 2022. (State Department/Ron Przysucha/ Public Domain)

In the face of his stinging critique of Australian leaders and journalists for putting the nation at risk with its ill-conceived submarine subservience to the U.S. and Britain, Keating sustained withering counterattacks.  Rather than listen to him as an elder statesman, the way most societies throughout history have listened to their elders, he was condemned as yesterday’s man who had lost touch with the world today.

Wong, the foreign minister, said: “Keating has his views, but in substance and in tone they belong to another time. We don’t face the region of 30 years ago. We don’t face a region that we hope we had. We face the region of today and we have to work to ensure the region we want for the future.”

In an editorial, the Herald likewise said, “The world has changed since Keating was PM. Unfortunately, he hasn’t.” Knox, the Herald journalist who received Keating’s withering criticism at the press club, wrote in an opinion piece that “Ex-PMs’ perks should come with a compulsory vow of silence.”

“I think it is unfortunate that Mr Keating chose such a very strong personal statement against people,” Albanese told an Australian radio interviewer. “I don’t think that does anything other than diminish him, frankly. But that’s a decision that he’s made.” Albanese dismissed as “absurd” Keatings charge that Australia’s sovereignty is at stake.

Another former prime minister, Malcolm Turnbull, thinks the submarine deal undermines Australia’s sovereignty too. “While this will, in time, enhance our naval capabilities it will be seen as making us even more dependent on the United States and now the United Kingdom,” he said. “Australian sovereignty will be perceived to have been diminished.”

Keating’s frontal attack against the government’s China policy is splitting the ruling Labor Party. The party’s branch in Albanese’s Sydney district has passed a motion telling the government to get out of the coalition with Britain and the U.S. “AUKUS undermines Australian sovereignty and our relations with our Asia-Pacific neighbours. Australia should also abandon plans for a nuclear submarine fleet,” said the motion.

Two Australian trades unions, the Maritime Union of Australia and the Electrical Trades Union, have come out against the submarine agreement as well.  

The fate of the deal may hinge on how the Australian public reacts to the inevitable austerity that will be imposed on it to pay for the submarines.

US & UK Media Reaction

Meanwhile, the establishment media in the U.S. and Britain has almost completely ignored Keatings’ remarks. The Washington Post ran an AP story, The Hill  ran a short piece quoting the AP, The New York Times did not publish a word.  In Britain, the BBC and Financial Times ignored Keating. Both The Daily Telegraph and The Times, unsurprisingly, focused only on his criticism of Britain. The Times wrote:

“’Signing the country up to the foreign proclivities of another country — the United States, with the gormless Brits, in their desperate search for relevance, lunging along behind is not a pretty sight,’ Paul Keating, the combative former Labor prime minister told the National Press Club. …

Keating described Australia’s new reliance on Britain and Sunak for its defence as ‘deeply pathetic’. The UK, he said, is ‘looking around for suckers’ to create ‘global Britain . . . after that fool [Boris] Johnson destroyed their place in Europe’.

‘We’re returning [to] Rishi Sunak, for God’s sake — Rishi Sunak — for Australia to find our security in Asia. I mean, how deeply pathetic is that,’ Keating, 79, added. … He ridiculed President Biden for ‘hardly [being able to] keep three coherent sentences together’.

He added: ‘Let’s remember about the British. They pulled their grand fleet out of East Asia in 1904. They witnessed the capitulation of Singapore in 1942. They then announced their east of Suez policy in 1968 — in other words, ‘You’re all on your own, you Australians, we’re leaving. We’ll leave you with Singapore, New Zealand and Malaysia’.

‘And in 1973, just to make sure we got the message, they say, ‘Bugger you, we are going into Europe? So no wheat, no wool,’ he added, with reference to exports from Australia.”

King of Barbs

Keating speaking at the 1992 Australian launch of the International Year of the World’s Indigenous People, Redfern Park, Sydney. (South Sydney Council/John Paoloni/Wikimedia Commons)

Keating has been known for his sharp wit and barbs against his political opponents since he was prime minister between 1991 and 1995.  While he loosened government regulation on parts of the economy during his premiership, Keating was progressive on other matters, including enacting a landmark Native Title Act to enshrine Indigenous land rights.  He also promoted republicanism by setting up the Republic Advisory Committee.

After more than two decades in the political wilderness, Keating reemerged a year and a half ago to upset the Australian establishment with blunt talk about what’s wrong with Canberra’s relations with China and with the United States.

Keating made his first public appearance in 26 years at the Australian National Press Club on Nov. 9, 2021 and proceeded to challenge conventional wisdom by portraying the United States as an aggressor; saying Taiwan is not “vital” to Australia; and that the media was essentially following the line of the intelligence services.

With tensions already rising between the U.S. and China over Taiwan, Keating boldly said, “Taiwan is not a vital Australian interest. We have no alliance with Taipei. There is no piece of paper sitting in Canberra which has an alliance with Taipei. We do not recognize it as a sovereign state – we’ve always seen it as a part of China.” The U.S. has also viewed Taiwan as part of China since 1979. 

In 1951, Australia, New Zealand and the U.S. signed the ANZUS Pacific Security Treaty, a mutual defense pact. Keating’s words about Australia’s obligations in the pact seemed lost on the mainstream media at the press club.

“ANZUS commits to consult under an attack on U.S. forces but not an attack by U.S. forces,” he said. “This is a very important point. My view is Australia should not be drawn into a military engagement over Taiwan, U.S.-sponsored or otherwise.”

The concept of the U.S. as an aggressor in a conflict with China is firmly outside the accepted parameters of Western establishment thinking.  It comes as a shock to a “public debate [that] is informed by the spooks,” Keating said. “Our foreign policy debate now in Canberra is informed by the security agencies, so you are not getting a macro view of China as it really is.” 

China wants its “front doorstep and its front porch, that is Taiwan, its sea. It doesn’t want American naval forces influencing that,” Keating said. “It wants access out of its coast into the deeper waters of the Mariana Trench in the Pacific. That’s what it’s about fundamentally.”

In any case, Keating did not see a military crisis over Taiwan. “The only time the Chinese will attack or be involved in Taiwan is if the Americans and the Taiwanese try and declare a change in the status of Taiwan,” he said. 

Nov. 2021 Press Club appearance:

Australia was in his day as prime minister a “go-to” nation in regional diplomacy, he said. But it had “lost its way” seeking to establish its security “from Asia” rather than “in Asia.” In other words, rather than being an independent player in the region, Australia clings to the U.S. 

Australia’s most important geo-strategic partner, he said, is Indonesia and its wide archipelago that arches across its northern approaches. Yet subsequent Australian governments abandoned the relationship with Indonesia to run after Washington, he said.   

Britain was of even less use to Australia, Keating added.      

Some members of the public applauded Keating’s remarks. One commenter on the Sky News YouTube channel, which posted the event, said:

“I feel sorry for Mr. Keating for wasting his time and wisdom to this brainwashed bunch. He was trying to educate the people of his country, but the US propaganda machine is too big and powerful, and has gained a powerful grip there, esp. the press, to the point that it is looking at things through US perspective instead of Australia’s … “

Keating acknowledged authoritarian aspects to Chinese leadership and said the U.S. should have some presence in the region. But it was hardly enough to blunt the furious reaction from the Establishment.

Peter Dutton, Australia’s extreme right-wing defense minister at the time, reacted harshly, and predictably, to Keating’s remarks. In time-honored fashion, Keating was lazily smeared as being unpatriotic for voicing a realistic and critical view of his nation’s foreign policy.

Dutton, who is now leader of the opposition Liberal Party, made an appearance of his own at the Press Club five days later in November 2021 to more fully respond to Keating.


Some of Keating’s smarter critics may well know that he’s right. All the more reason for them to attack him with “anti-Australian” or “pro-Chinese communist” smears, which are designed to protect their interests and not meant as serious points in a political debate. 

His voice is one of reason in a time of war fever. Given the extreme danger in which the world finds itself, with possible world war by the West against Russia and China, Keating cannot be not sounding the alarm loudly enough. 

Joe Lauria is editor-in-chief of Consortium News and a former U.N. correspondent for The Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe, and numerous other newspapers, including The Montreal Gazette and The Star of Johannesburg. He was an investigative reporter for the Sunday Times of London, a financial reporter for Bloomberg News and began his professional work as a 19-year old stringer for The New York Times.  He can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @unjoe  

44 comments for “A Sane Voice Amidst the Madness

  1. Vera Gottlieb
    March 19, 2023 at 12:52

    Brezinshki (spelling?) a ‘sensible American’??? Are you kidding? Didn’t he outlined how exactly Russia could be brought to its knees??? Already forgotten this? He was as Russophobe as all other Poles.

    • Consortiumnews.com
      March 19, 2023 at 14:20

      Does that one remark invalidate the vastly more important argument Keating is making about China and AUKUS?

  2. paul
    March 18, 2023 at 19:34

    The submarine deal is a combination of monumental boondoggle and monumental graft.
    Australia will pay out a mountain of money and get virtually nothing in return.
    A few clapped out second hand US submarines in the 1940s.
    And shell out $8 billion for a new US base in Western Australia.
    In effect, Australia is bankrolling the US anti-China build up in the Pacific.

  3. Em
    March 18, 2023 at 11:38

    For the curious!
    At least one Albanese, the UN Palestinian Rights official, Francesca Albanese – Italian national, appears to be on the right side of humanitarian history, unlike her namesake, Anthony Albanese, the Prime Minister of Australia, who is ignoring the illegality in the way supposed international law is being conducted.
    Just as there are Keatings who turned out to be good, in Australia, so too have there been bad Keatings, as in the past in America, who had no regard for the people he was defrauding.
    Making and breaking established law, and its direct effects on a journalist/publisher pursuing truth, in the best interests of global society, and a con artist abiding by his own law, affects all human beings beliefs in the concept of the ‘rules of law’.

  4. Elial
    March 18, 2023 at 02:10

    Brilliant piece. I am uplifted by Keating that there are still sane people in the West, and in fact may be in the majority.

    We are being lied to and misled by a very small Neo-con and neoliberal cabal who seek perpetual hegemony and Empire. They rely on slander, intimidation and fear to control us through the media and government agencies.

    Enough of this already. We need to raise our voices to stop this warmongering nonsense.

    To quote St. Catherine of Sienna, “Cry out with a hundred thousand tongues. The world is rotten because of silence:.

    Vijay Prasad had a great piece yesterday where he quoted Maya Angelou The Rock, The River, and The Tree.

  5. Robyn
    March 17, 2023 at 20:08

    George Galloway rearranged AUKUS to USUKA – pronounced You Sucker.

    I urge all Australians against this damaging ‘deal’ to email their Federal MPs and let them know. A one-liner is all you need – they won’t read a long one.

    Paul Keating is a hero. Thanks, Joe, for this excellent article.

    • Eric Arthur Blair
      March 18, 2023 at 16:05

      USUKA is pronounced “you sucker”.
      Who is the sucker?
      The Australian taxpayer…. to the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars in the form of a blank cheque handed to the US military industrial complex… the greatest triumph of Scotty from marketing, who literally sold out his country. If that ain’t treachery in the service of foreign interests, nothing is.
      Scott Morrison = traitor

  6. RomeoCharlie29
    March 17, 2023 at 19:00

    This is a very good article. I worked indirectly for Keating when Labor was in government (1983 to 96) and liked him immensely. At the same time I had the same reservations as those of Chairman Meow, privatisations – the Commonwealth Bank, Qantas etc. though I don’t agree he is as much to blame as any conservative politician. As Lauria points out his core mess age here has been ignored by the mainstream media in favour of outrage over his ‘nasty’ jibes about reporters. There are some voices of opposition to this madness in Australia’s commentariat, just few getting coverage in the mainstream media. I believe the relatively new Labor Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese, has misjudged his population’s support for this sub deal, especially as it was done without reference to us, and just follows the lead of the discredited former government and its stupid leaders.

  7. George Philby
    March 17, 2023 at 18:55

    Hey, Albanese,

    If you want another war
    Like the US ones before,
    Criticize the Chinese every day.

    How will you finance your war?
    Just take money from the poor
    Like they do in USA, UK.

    There’s nothing wrong with our society.
    War criminals have a ball.
    There’s nothing wrong,
    But the rich, for too long,
    Let the weakest go to the wall.


    What of Australia’s children, the sick, the aging, the Aboriginals? To pay for the nukes, Australia’s schools and hospitals will be gutted like in America.

    But wait—here’s an idea. To pay for Australia’s nuclear submarines, raise the retirement age. That’s working well for Macron

    • David Verrall
      March 17, 2023 at 22:07

      AUS Media hears Duttons war cries everyday on AUS MSM more often than Aussies even see the Mattel “Albanese doll” obsequiously smiling at those wind up, rusted “Biden/Sanak dolls”. Comic, even in our disintegrating Tragedy.

  8. mgr
    March 17, 2023 at 18:16

    Thank you. How wonderfully refreshing. It’s like an all too brief reprieve from “la la land” in which we live. Hearing Paul Keating, we are re-awakened to the complete fucked-upped-ness of mainstream information. It’s quite a jolt.

    In addition and in a similar vein, if you would like to watch Scott Ritter in a truly no holds barred interview about the recent drone incident, Lindsey Graham and some great insights on the Chinese peace proposal that is being presented to Kiev and Moscow and that may offer an actual way to bring the fighting to an end, here is a youtube interview that I came across: hXXps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GjWqBnVLCC4

    Really good. Go Scott Ritter!

    • Valerie
      March 18, 2023 at 03:43

      That was a brilliant video mgr. The poor host looked a bit stunned after Mr. Ritter’s attack on Lindsey Graham. (But nothing said that Graham didn’t deserve)

  9. Theresa
    March 17, 2023 at 17:42

    Rest assured, this planned US military action will end badly for all but the .00001%. Except no one escapes if it goes nuclear.

    I just want to stay home and enjoy my modest post-retirement lifestyle. I’m really annoyed by the bipartisan push for this war.

  10. David Verrall
    March 17, 2023 at 17:28

    Fantastic report, mostly un seen in Australia by the public idiot who continues to obediently consume the predominant “News LTD” media that clogs 80% of all information in this country. The Dumb Public wander about feeling proud that they can barely read 8 word headlines from AUST journalists. Little effort for independent enquiry is made by an anaesthetised Australian consumer suffocated beneath that perpetual drone of deafening, repetitious one note AUS Main Stream Media journalism. Keating’s voice is such a relief. A beacon of hope that Australians might still be able to think at all. Sadly the Habitual Australian consumer does not realise they have been indoctrinated by the information media in this country, and they are still denied seeing or ever being given access to Keating’s passionate National Press Club talk. The single source Media only publishes the same rhetoric of Fear of China. Keating’s message has been eclipsed with little effort. Australian Consumers unconsciously still sing the same old song cos they’re just to stupid to think for themselves. The average Australian cant/doesn’t read, and has not even seen or heard Keating’s talk to the National Press Club. Keating’s talk remains buried under headlined criticism of Keating as if he is an old irrelevant voice, and the Australian clone consumer cheer each other on as reliable idiots. Australian consumers are a successful social disaster, proof of mass Hypnosis in the more than thriving British Colonialism’s suffocating legacies. Dutton gets more Australian Press than Albanese, which is a blunt sign that the Militarism of an idiot to lead Australia is already in process of numbing a reliably mute consumer into compliance. Dutton initiated “dissent” in Australia as an arrest able offence.

  11. bardamu
    March 17, 2023 at 17:15

    We don’t need to see China as altogether innocent to appreciate wisdom in the direction Keating takes here.

    What position does Australia vie for by purchasing subs–one corresponding to that of Germany, or one corresponding to that of Ukraine? Ukraine is straightforwardly sacrificed; Germany hamstrung by an unacknowledged act of war.

    One cannot be ally to an “exceptional” state, the “one indispensable state.” Being dispensable, one can be sacrificed in one way or another, and not necessarily for any coherent national interest, either. Who has benefited from the coup in Ukraine, the various shellings of Donbass that followed, the provocation of Russian invasion, or the bombing of the Nordstream II pipeline to supply Europe?

    It’s not Europeans. It is not Americans. It does not even appear to be the security of Western hegemony, though I imagine it gets sold that way somewhere. The fact that US policy gets tipped this way and that by the highest bidder with no remaining democratic intervention makes the nation as such newly unreliable. Where policy depends on which individuals are cross-invested where, one cannot foresee policy even by the most cynical appraisal of “national interest”

  12. Joan Errington
    March 17, 2023 at 16:46

    Thank you Mr. Keating,

    This 76 year old, who lived through the horrors of having three brothers and a brother in law with the Aust. military in Vietnam (two as army photographers, one as a medic) whilst I was a member of the Moratorium demonstrating against that war, salute you.

    Our present leaders have chosen to stand on the side of the bullies, willingly providing them with vast treasures of our common wealth to purchase weapons, handing over our country as their military base and our defence forces as their cannon fodder…again….oh the folly and inhumanity of it all..

    You speak for us and we bless you for it….

  13. Capt. Kirk
    March 17, 2023 at 16:24

    The actual text of The Monroe Doctrine.
    ” In the wars of the European powers in matters relating to themselves we have never taken any part, nor does it comport with our policy so to do. It is only when our rights are invaded or seriously menaced that we resent injuries or make preparation for our defense.…

    With the existing colonies or dependencies of any European power we have not interfered and shall not interfere. But with the governments who have declared their independence and maintained it, and whose independence we have, on great consideration and on just principles, acknowledged, we could not view any interposition for the purpose of oppressing them, or controlling in any other manner their destiny, by any European power in any other light than as the manifestation of an unfriendly disposition toward the United States.”

    I’d agree with both staying out of European Wars, and of protecting truly independent nations from the designs of bankers, so this is why I say that I wish that America still had the “early 19th century mindset of the Monroe Doctrine.”

    The situation was something like this. Other nations in the Americas, had also rebelled against their colonial masters and achieved independence. But the European imperialists were scheming to over turn this, and the bankers were using their old method of ‘Debt’. They were threatening other the nations in the guise of being Repo Men coming to collect on debts. America in a revolutionary manner stood up and told the European Imperialists “Hands Off.”

    Yes, the Monroe Doctrine has been distorted far from its original purpose, and used in ways that the Americans who did have an ‘early 19th century mindset’ would have strongly objected to. The debate in America at that time was between the desire to help other revolutionary nations against the oppressive Europeans, versus JQ Adams and his speech saying that America did not go abroad seeking monsters to slay, and if it did so, it would risk its own liberties. But, neither side was suggesting an American imperial domination of the hemisphere…. that came later with the 20th-century American imperial mindset … bully, bully as Teddy would often say.

  14. Capt. Kirk
    March 17, 2023 at 16:04

    There is another interesting question that Aussies should be asking of their King … what good are expensive weapons systems that you receive only after the end of the war …. if ever.

    Biden and the Democrats appear to want to start the war with China before they get kicked out of office. They are staging escalation after escalation, for one example, the Chinese Weather Balloon Affair. They seem to be running around in a big hurry saying “I’m late, I’m late, for a very important date.” There is nothing coming from Emperor Joe that says America and Wall Street want to wait until 2040 to start the war that they want so very dearly.

    It makes no sense strategically. This is a Thucydides Trap situation, and the Wall Street Oligarchs have no intention of waiting until China becomes the most powerful economy in the world before they strike at it. They intend to strike as early as possible, against a China that ever year exceeds American GDP growth. The want a war for world supremacy, and they want it before China grows even stronger.

    So, what good are expensive nuclear submarines that only arrive long after the war? If at all…. I add that because both of the Anglo-Saxon powers will already be committed to this war, and empires at war tend to cancel weapon procurement orders for foreign powers. It would be highly likely that the submarines get cancelled when the war starts, or that either power might appropriate a completed sub for their own fleet during wartime. It has been done before.

    The subs are useless. But, what Australia is doing is making themselves a target by letting the UKUS coalition station nuclear subs and other weapons on their territory.

  15. KiwiAntz62
    March 17, 2023 at 15:32

    Garland Nixon summed this situation up perfectly? His YouTube Channel has numerous videos that perfectly describe the contradictions & hypocrisy of the US Empire that Paul Keating, the ex Australian PM laid out in plain language? And the truth is, despite American lie’s & propaganda to brainwash & gaslight Australians, China is no threat to anyone but it is a threat too US Imperial power & its waning Hegemony! In fact what we see with China is the exact opposite, anyone with half a brain cell can see that one Superpower, CHINA, is doing Business deals, Diplomacy & initiating Peace Deals between former adversaries as the recent events demonstrate with the Saudi/Iran Peace Deal to usher in a Fair World order between Sovereign Nations! Contrast that with the other Superpower, AMERICA, which tramples on other Countries Sovereignty, disregarding UN International Law in favour of its self proclaimed “Rules based Order” in which they make the rules everyone in the World must follow? Or else? The US acts like the Mafia & a Gangster, its using extortion, threats, bullying, violence, Chaos, Regime change, Proxy Wars, coercion & endless Warmongering in a futile attempt to hang on to its dying Unipolar World Order & Hegemony! There’s a saying as Garland says, children look at what their parents actions are & what they do rather than what they say in order to imitate them? Well the World is watching what America is doing in the World & they want no part of it because of their actions? Actions speak louder than words & the US is not a Nation any sane Country wants to imitate! America is a victim of Modernity, in the context that it still believes that it’s the 1990’s in which it’s still the big dog on the block in which it dominated the World as a unrivalled Unipolar power when the Soviet Union collapsed but now the World has moved on from this period, other competing Powers like China & Russia have risen & China will surpass America as the World’s Largest economic power by 2025! And America refuses to acknowledge this emerging Multipolar World, its hanging on to Time that has passed it? by Mr Keating states, China’s only crime committed is the Internationalism sin that they have risen to surpass America & the exceptional Nation refuses to accept this in a classic Thucydides Trap situation? And Australia take note, America treats its partners like Vassals not equals & has no qualms to attack its own Allies like when the US took out Germany’s NS1-2 Pipeline, the US committed a act of War against its own NATO Partner without batting a eyelid? With friends like that who needs enemies & having China as your Friend would be a safer & more prosperous option!

  16. delia ruhe
    March 17, 2023 at 15:04

    As I’ve had occasion to say recently, Washington’s desperate attempt to hang on to what’s left of its hegemony involves convincing the American public, US allies and other vassals that playing the necessary war games to achieve that is more important than annihilation by climate. In short, ruling class America would rather die than miss out on winning full-spectrum global domination.

  17. Korey Dykstra
    March 17, 2023 at 15:01

    Great article, especially for the Australian population that knows Keating and the rest of us that read consortium knews. A real eye opener.

  18. shmutzoid
    March 17, 2023 at 13:53

    You’d think more Aussies would look to how the US sacrificed its great ‘friend’ Germany by sabotaging the pipeline from Russia that supplied so much of their natural gas needs. The US certainly would not be any less considerate of Australia in moves aimed at ‘weakening’ China. …………… My sense is that US-aligned corporate news/propaganda there is as tight or tighter than here, cultivating widespread confusion and disorientation. …….. The bashing Keating is taking by a war mongering ‘news’ establishment tells the story.
    ……Then again, NO ONE with that kind of critique of US foreign policy would ever be allowed to even go anywhere near a corporate news outlet.

    • Rob Roy
      March 17, 2023 at 16:10

      Caitlin Johnstone’s recent article shows why Australia is so cowardly. The Australians are more afraid of the U.S. than they are of China. They know if they don’t go alone with the world’s biggest bully, they WILL be punished.
      Bravo, Mr. Keating.

  19. Robert Sinuhe
    March 17, 2023 at 13:45

    At last a voice of reason from down under. I hope, however, that the cards are not stacked against him as they appear to be. The anti-Chinese rhetoric seems to have garnered the upper hand. It seems that in times of war, the inertia of emotion seems to grasp the public instead of intelligence and reason.

  20. Arch Stanton
    March 17, 2023 at 13:03

    Bravo Paul

  21. JonnyJames
    March 17, 2023 at 12:46

    Refreshing to hear, as other commenters have already noted. Keating verbally slapped down the sycophant-stenographers’ ill-informed questions.

    In addition to the nuclear submarines, Australia will buy over 200 new generation cruise missiles from the US (made by Raytheon). Isn’t the US “Defense Secretary” a (former) Raytheon board member?

  22. Rudy Haugeneder
    March 17, 2023 at 12:45

    Darn good article.

  23. pasha
    March 17, 2023 at 12:38

    Keating’s remarks are welcome. Pity he didn’t say something similar (and take suitable action) when he was in office.
    He is incorrect to suggest that Dr. Strangelove and Rabid Zbiggy are/were sensible Americans. Both were American supremacists of the worst sort. Only now in extreme old age has the good doctor attained a small measure of sanity.

    • Michael Johnson
      March 17, 2023 at 15:07

      Thank you.

  24. JMF
    March 17, 2023 at 12:26

    FYI: Further revelations on “Newsguard” and other social media “gatekeepers”:

    xxx.rt.com/news/573145-pentagon-censor-misinformation-newsguard/” rel=”nofollow ugc”>Pentagon pays internet censors

    The US Department of Defense funds private internet monitoring firms NewsGuard and PeakMetrics, which then trawl the web for “misinformation” to censor and demonetize, conservative news site The Federalist reported on Friday.

    NewsGuard is a private company that rates news outlets by their “reliability” and reputation for sharing “falsehoods and misinformation narratives.” Before a Congressional hearing last week, journalist Matt Taibbi labeled the company a part of the “censorship-industrial complex,” publishing an image of a $750,000 grant award from the Pentagon to the firm. During the hearing, reporter Michael Shellenberger explained that NewsGuard uses its ratings system to drive advertiser revenue away from conservative sires or other “disfavored publications.”

    Aside from paying private companies to develop web surveillance tools, the Pentagon, along with a number of other government agencies and departments, directly engaged in social media censorship in recent years. Internal communications from Twitter published by Taibbi, Shellenberger, and other journalists, showed that the social media giant “directly assisted” the US military’s online influence campaigns and censored “anti-Ukraine narratives” on behalf of multiple intelligence agencies. The platform also received extensive lists of accounts to ban from the US State Department and associated NGOs.

    • Michael Johnson
      March 17, 2023 at 15:08

      thank you.

    • SH
      March 18, 2023 at 14:40

      So why does anyone pay any attention to Twitter?

  25. Cindy
    March 17, 2023 at 12:05

    Bravo Bright Mr Keating and thank you Joe Lauria and Consortium News for the savvy article.

    R Buckminster Fuller said we don’t have enough wealth for the stuff and projects of killingry, there’s only enough wealth for the stuff and projects of livingry.

    Allowing unlimited personal fortunes means creating wealthpower giants who will always buy the media and devour government and operate its levers to advance their interests – which are diametrically opposed to everyone’s happiness and safety and survival.

    Will Humanity campaign for and impose a just cap on fortunes in time to reverse the colossal destruction of our chance to have a future??

  26. Marilyn Henighan
    March 17, 2023 at 11:53

    Keating is a hero. It is gratifying to know there is someone willing to speak out against the voices of the group- think robots who are currently pushing American’s narrative that China is a threat. It is also chilling that that there are so few voices calling attention to the reasons behind America’s paranoid narrative. This world class hissy fit, because their hegemony is threatened, unfortunately will have serious repercussions for all of us.


  27. Valerie
    March 17, 2023 at 11:50

    What a bloke. The National Press club interview was very entertaining. I like his honesty. He certainly wiped the floor with that Sly News reporter. And i have to agree with everything he said.

  28. Chairman Meow
    March 17, 2023 at 11:22

    Yes I’m glad for Keating b**** slapping the idiotic warmongers in Australia but straight off the bat he reveals his own ideological and analytical shortcomings with this howler,
    “The former prime minister said “a sensible American” like Henry Kissinger or Zbigniew Brzezinski would celebrate the fact “you had turned up a co-stabilising power in Asia.”
    Those who know Keating and his mentor, Bob Hawkes, history know that they were the progenitor of Tony Blair’s “Third Way”, deregulating the Australian economy, abolishing industry protecting tariffs, initiating the privatisation of government services, restricting the ability of trade unions to fight for their members and supporting the first Gulf War amongst other crimes. He is as much to blame for the current malaise afflicting Australia as any Conservative politician. Another example of Donald Horne’s quote from his book, “The Lucky Country” of Australia having second rate leaders “so lacking in curiosity that events often overtake them”.

    • SH
      March 18, 2023 at 14:56

      “Those who know Keating and his mentor, Bob Hawkes, history know that they were the progenitor of Tony Blair’s “Third Way”, deregulating the Australian economy, abolishing industry protecting tariffs, initiating the privatisation of government services, restricting the ability of trade unions to fight for their members and supporting the first Gulf War amongst other crimes.”

      Sounds like exactly what’s happened in the US starting with Clinton in the 90’s, and continuing on – perhaps Mr. Keating woke up a bit – I wonder if there is a US equivalent – deciding to tell the truth .., Hirsch, perhaps, or Kucinich

  29. A Concerned Westerner
    March 17, 2023 at 11:13

    Tremendous article showing clearly that Mr Keating is a statesman that puts Australia’s interests, and those of the entire world, ahead of the wrong-headed military adventures of the USA. It is clear the USA suffers from an early 19th century mindset of the Monroe Doctrine and now it intends to control the whole world with militarism. But it is always positioned as proxy-militarism. So Australia would be getting itself into the same situation as Ukraine has done if they accept this submarine treaty. All it is to Australia is a huge tax for nothing. Security of economic cooperation with China cannot be accomplished by taking an aggressive military approach against China. But it sure can fill up the coffers of the US and UK defense industries. The world outside of the West sees the USA as a mafia like organization that has a gun to your head saying choose me or you’re our enemy. That approach ensures you will be an enemy if you value your own nation’s freedom versus what the USA demands. Australia is stupid to get itself entangled in this deal. It’s far away from USA and it doesn’t need the USA for economic prosperity but it does need China. If Australia was Canada I can see how it would be extremely difficult to resist the mafia boss when he lives right next door. But the West has become an echo chamber of stupidity. Australia, you’re the next gun platform like Ukraine. And you see how well that’s working out for Ukraine right? You’re being positioned to be another proxy US combatant and that is a strategic existential threat against Australia as a nation.

    • SH
      March 18, 2023 at 14:47

      “The world outside of the West sees the USA as a mafia like organization …”

      Some of us inside the US feel the same way…

  30. Cynic
    March 17, 2023 at 11:08

    Wonderful article. I only hope that more people in Australia can get to read this. The current regime in Australia is insane. Spending $400 billion that Australia has better use for, to own 5 submarines (just 5 for that insane amount of money??) of which 3 are old and nearly to be scrapped, in order to send them over 5 thousand miles away to the South CHINA Sea (it’s called that for a reason, you know?) to defend a part of China against…. China!!! And in the process destroying any relationship with Australia’s single biggest trade partner: China!! All for what? Just to please the Americans masters?

  31. HelenB
    March 17, 2023 at 10:46

    Yep. It isn’t about a Chinese threat at all. It is about Western domination.

    • jo6pac
      March 17, 2023 at 14:51


  32. Bruce Edgar
    March 17, 2023 at 10:45

    Many thanks for an amazing article Mr. Lauria. Early in reading the piece, I wondered whether Keating’s comments would be available to Australians to savor without bias and pushback. Alas, it appears that the same information iron curtain (created by USA) has fallen upon Australia as it has upon virtually all main stream media. For the life of me, such censorship will be the end for all of us. Lauria answered all my questions and much more.

  33. Carolyn L Zaremba
    March 17, 2023 at 10:43

    All of these attacks on Keating from the ignorant baboons of the mainstream press in Australia only show how out of touch THEY are with the real world. “Because I’ve got a brain” was the perfect riposte from Keating to a bleating sheep question from a clueless idiot.

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