USA versus China trade war concept. Statue of Liberty and Chinese Dragon prepared for battle. National symbols show international relations.
Vector illustration in comic style.
February 22, 2023
As China grows and prospers many in the US want us to believe that China will follow the same path that the US itself pursued- global military aggression, the overthrow of numerous governments around the world and persecution of minorities at home.
But the record so far suggests that China is different.
As former US senior diplomat Chas Freeman in Brown Political Review of 14 March 2022 put it, China does not have a Monroe Doctrine like the US and does not think and behave like the US.
There’s not much evidence of China wanting to replace us. They are displacing us in some spheres because they’re big and growing and successful. Do they want to take on our global dominion and hegemony role? No, but we assert that they do. We posit that China thinks and behaves like us: “We had Manifest Destiny and it took us across the Pacific to the Philippines. Therefore, China must have a Monroe Doctrine and Manifest Destiny in mind.” This is wrong. Things don’t work like that. So I would argue that we have inhaled our own propaganda, and we are living in the appropriately stoned state that that produces. If we have sound policies, we can out-compete anyone. But we’re not looking at sound policies; we’re looking at pulling down our competitor.
Read Freeman’s full interview: The Foreign Service, Diplomacy, and the US-China Fight for Primacy: An Interview with Chas Freeman
The US’ record of aggression
‘Our dangerous ally’ has been addicted to war and violence at home and abroad for centuries. It sees war as a means of holding and if possible enhancing its power and authority. War and the threat of war have been continuing features of US policy.
Apart from brief isolationist periods, the US has been almost always at war.
For over two centuries, the US has subverted and overthrown numerous governments. It has a military and business complex – a state within a state – that depends on war for influence and enrichment. Many of its Generals are out of control with their fear-mongering.
Michael Pascoe: Why the fearmongering about a China-US war is over the top
The US assumes a moral superiority it denies to others. It is blinded by its own self-righteousness. It believes in its ‘exceptionalism’ – the ‘chosen people’ with a ‘manifest destiny’.
Often the US leadership looks quite unhinged. It even blamed the Russians for blowing up its own Nord Stream gas pipeline to Europe.
Seymour Hersh points out that ‘America Took Out The Nord Stream Pipeline.’ At the time the White House said that blaming America ‘is false and a complete fiction’. The CIA said ‘this claim (of blaming America) is completely and utterly false’. This pattern of denial is commonplace with most Western media accepting the Washington view as holy writ. The NYT called the destruction of the Pipeline a ‘mystery’. And as usual Australian media then meekly followed along… nothing to see here!
I have drawn attention repeatedly to the risks we run in being “joined at the hip” to a country that is almost always at war. The facts are clear. The US has never had a decade without war. Since its founding in 1776, the US has been at war 93 per cent of the time. These wars have extended from its own hemisphere to the Pacific, to Europe and most recently to the Middle East. The US has launched 201 out of 248 armed conflicts since the end of World War II. In recent decades most of these wars have been unsuccessful. The US maintains 800 military bases or sites around the world, including in Australia. The US has in our region a massive deployment of hardware and troops in Japan, the Republic of Korea and Guam.
The US tried to change other countries’ governments 72 times during the Cold War. Many foreign leaders were assassinated. In the piece reproduced in this blog The fatal expense of US Imperialism, Professor Jeffrey Sachs said:
“The scale of US military operations is remarkable … The US has a long history of using covert and overt means to overthrow governments deemed to be unfriendly to the US … Historian John Coatsworth counts 41 cases of successful US-led regime change for an average of one government overthrow by the US every 28 months for centuries.”
The overthrow or interference in foreign governments is diverse, including Honduras, Guatemala, Iran, Haiti, Congo, Indonesia, Japan, Vietnam, Chile, Iraq, Afghanistan and most recently, Syria.
And this interference continued with the undermining of the pro-Russian government in Ukraine by the US-backed Maidan coup in 2014. Gorbachev and Reagan agreed that in allowing the reunification of Germany, NATO would not extend eastwards. But with US encouragement, NATO has now provocatively extended right up to the borders of Russia. Not surprisingly, Russia is resisting.
The US encouraged the recent “democratic” insurrection in Hong Kong. It almost succeeded. US hostility towards Hong Kong exposed for all to see.
See earlier comments of mine on ‘Our dangerous ally could drag us into war with China‘.
China’s record is different
China has not engaged in military activity outside its borders for 40 years. It does not project military power around the globe like the US. China does not have a Monroe Doctrine and shows no interest in one.
China has neither the intent nor the capability to attack Australia or the US, for that matter. It does not have a history of military aggression beyond the defence of its own borders. It has only one foreign base in Djibouti, mainly for anti-piracy purposes.
Not surprisingly, China is determined that it must have the military capability to defend its homeland against the US and its allies.
The US would have hysterics if Chinese vessels patrolled off the Californian coast and the Florida Keys. Or if China had B-52-type aircraft based in Mexico!
The US has been responsible for the death and dislocation of tens of millions of people in the Middle East. But our White Man’s Media looks away from US aggression and violence but incessantly finds fault with China in every possible way. Anti-China racism runs deep.
China has a large and diverse population in areas such as Xinjiang, Tibet, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. It has land borders with fourteen other countries. Not surprisingly, China focuses on domestic issues and the protection of its borders.
If China was an imperial power, it would have swallowed up defenceless Mongolia long ago, a democratic, mineral-rich state on its border which is more than twice the size of Ukraine.
See comments by leading writers on China’s military intentions here. China has neither the intent nor the capability to attack us.
The US believes that China will act aggressively around the world as it has itself over centuries.
It parrots on about a Rules-Based International Order but breaks or ignores the rules when it suits like the Law of the Sea, the invasion of Iraq and the occupation of Diego Garcia.
To avoid facing up to its failing society and economy, the US wants to attack and cripple its competitor by goading China into war over Taiwan, a province of China.
In WW1, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan, we tagged along as loyal colonials. It was almost risk-free. There was no real threat to our homeland.
That has now changed as we have progressively ceded our sovereignty to the US. It began seriously with Julia Gillard agreeing to Marines in Darwin. That has been followed by Abbott’s Force Posture Agreement in 2014 and, more recently, B-52s in Tindal, the fusion of our RAN with the US in AUKUS to attack China, to say nothing of the ‘interoperability and interchangeability’ of much of Australian defence forces with the US.
Acting as a proxy and spear-carrier for the US against China makes us a target for attack for the first time in our history.
Defence Minister Marles is out of his depth in talking about safeguarding our sovereignty. He lacks any sense of curiosity. He has been on the Washington drip feed for too long.
He says that AUKUS ‘would boost Australia’s sovereignty’. Is he serious?
Both Albanese and Marles are following in the footsteps of Morrison and Dutton with it all choreographed by Washington.
Does the Cabinet or Caucus care about what they are doing?
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John Menadue is the Founder and Editor in Chief of Pearls and Irritations. He was formerly Secretary of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet under Gough Whitlam and Malcolm Fraser, Ambassador to Japan, Secretary of the Department of Immigration and CEO of Qantas.