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Issue #1806      December 13, 2017


For those who arrived late

Welcome to the Cold War

The Australian government has sparked off a war of words with China, in part based on an attempt to manage the growing upheaval and dysfunction in government ranks, and in the larger scheme of things to carry out the government’s role as toady to the US in its strategy to “contain” China’s ever-expanding influence in world affairs.

The anti-China/Communist rhetoric has escalated in inverse proportion to the Turnbull government’s re-election strategy debacle. The jingoism comes with legislation claiming to “protect our way of life”, as Turnbull puts it. And into the mix of patriotic claptrap has been inserted the word “treason”: the war drums are beating.

The laws being introduced are also meant, among other objectives, to silence voices opposed to government policies, targeting GetUp! and other active groups, using as a pretext any financial support from overseas-linked sources.

These activities will be covered by a new offence, “intentional foreign interference”, “economic interference” (15-year jail sentence), and upgraded espionage, sabotage and treason offences that come with punishment that includes life imprisonment.

Of course, contradictions abound, including the foreign military bases around the country with the ultra-secret US Pine Gap spy base, and a growing foreign military force in Australia’s north. The wide net of accusation has caught various types, including former Labor Foreign Affairs minister Bob Carr, who is involved in a China-Australia group promoting business and trade.

Carr responded that there are think tanks promoting “consistently pro-American positions receiving funding from US companies including armament makers”. Carr also pointed to a former staffer of deposed PM Tony Abbott, who is “on the payroll of a US think tank in Washington, and gives regular advice for Australia to adopt a pro-US policy position”.

In fact the accusations and innuendo have very much the echo of Tony Abbott’s “Team Australia” – if you are not with us, you are against us. An important propaganda tool in the Cold War was the branding of people as “traitors” collaborating with “sinister Communist” forces. For those who arrived later on the scene, welcome to the Cold War.

As the Tudeh Party of Iran’s analysis on global developments notes in its greeting to the CPA 13th Congress (see Greetings from the Tudeh Party of Iran):

“What we are witnessing is the implementation of an openly aggressive gunboat diplomacy by the US administration and its reactionary allies in the region through the fanning of tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia – all under the pretext of ‘fighting terrorism’, with Iran being declared by Trump to be the main sponsor of that terrorism.

“Even though, on the surface, the policies and discourse of the Trump administration are often perceived to be unpredictable and chaotic, at their core exists a coherent trend towards the continuation and protection of US dominance.

“The fact remains that the foreign policy of the United States under Donald Trump has been designed to serve the interest of the oil and military cartels in USA supported by the most extreme circles of warmongering neo-conservatives – and to ensure that the energy resources and minerals from the Middle East are denied to Russia and China, the US’s chief rivals, regardless of any rhetoric to the contrary.”

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