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Issue #1926      August 3, 2020

Resist the war drive

The trend of military build-up in our country has entered a new and dangerous stage. The signs are unmistakable: our government is preparing for war.

A war which does not need to happen, and is not in our interests. A war which could lead to death and destruction on a scale great enough to threaten human life as we know it, for which there is no possible justification. But capital’s hunger for it swells.

The 2020 Defence Strategic Update released by the Australian Department of Defence on the 1st of July states:

“This security environment is markedly different from the relatively more benign one of even four years ago, with greater potential for military miscalculation. This could conceivably include state-on-state conflict that could engage the Australian Defence Force (ADF) where Australia’s interests are threatened. Accordingly, Defence must be better prepared for the prospect of high-intensity conflict.”

It is no secret that the People’s Republic of China is being considered the potential military enemy here. The document states “Strategic competition, primarily between the United States and China, will be the principal driver of strategic dynamics in our region,” and specifically raises the possibility of “high-intensity military conflict between the United States and China.” Unsurprisingly but nonetheless disturbingly, the document promises that Australian Defence “will continue to deepen Australia’s alliance with the United States.”

That the government has committed the outrageous sum of $270 billion to military spending, at a time when nearly every other sector of our society is in desperate need of funding, shows that this intention for war is becoming less hypothetical. The deepening severity and pervasiveness of anti-China propaganda over the past few years is also a sign that the government and ruling class are taking steps to preemptively win public support for this senseless war.

All that’s needed to kick it off is a “Gulf of Tonkin incident”. Or a “USS Maine incident.” Or a “weapons of mass destruction-type” incident. The fact that the US imperialists lie to start aggressive wars is so well known by this point that it has become cliché. We all know for a fact they lie. Yet our government is still perfectly happy to believe them and remain their firm ally! It is happy to have them whisper in their ear, for instance via “trusted” think tanks like the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, which openly receives funding from the US government and US arms manufacturers.

Alternatively or in concert, the lie of “Uyghur genocide” or other claims of human rights abuses could be used to justify invasion. The outrageous likening of China to Nazi Germany, which informs and is informed by the construction of this myth, is a clear attempt to lay the ground for an ethical justification for initiating military conflict: one that is palatable both to those on the right and to those on the liberal “left,” who still retain some faith in the truthfulness of the information made most accessible to us, despite that we all know for a fact they lie.

The Australian people are being bombarded with lies that perpetuate the belief that China is the aggressor. If it were known clearly by all that China is not the aggressor, then it would also be clear that, in fact, it is we who are – and by “we” I am forced to mean “the US and its allies.”

If China set up military bases in Mexico, Cuba, Haiti, or any other country in that region, and conducted military exercises in the Gulf of Mexico or off the coast of California, it would be considered by most to be obvious aggression. However, they have done no such thing whatsoever. The US on the other hand has military bases and facilities in Japan, South Korea, Singapore and Australia, amongst several others. The US Navy shamelessly conducts military exercises along the coast of China, even going so far as to repeatedly sail military vessels through the Strait of Taiwan and call it “freedom of navigation operations.”

The main activity of the Chinese military (the People’s Liberation Army) that is pointed to as aggressive is military exercises in the South China Sea. Yet the fact that the US and Australian navies also conduct military exercises there is seen as somehow different, blameless. This can only be justified by a sense of moral superiority that has no basis in fact.

China’s claim and activities in the South China Sea are often called “expansionist,” a use of the word which renders it meaningless. Regardless of anyone’s opinion on the claim, the fact is clear that this claim predates the founding of the People’s Republic. Holding to the same claim (even reducing it by bilateral agreement with Vietnam in the early days of the People’s Republic) cannot sensibly be considered “expansionist”. The “Republic of China government” of Taiwan even makes the same claim and conducts its own military exercises in the Sea. Yet it doesn’t receive the same criticism in our media.

At no point in the past four years that the Defence Strategic Update identifies as a period of heightening of tensions has the Chinese government openly threatened to invade another country. The US, meanwhile, has openly threatened to invade multiple countries, including DPR Korea, Venezuela and Iran, as well as engaging in combat in many others after having actually invaded them, including Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria, in which Australian troops have also taken part. The US has also, unilaterally and without reasonable justification, initiated an attempt at economic warfare against China; a move destined to fail but with which the Australian government meekly and half-heartedly joined in, betraying the interests of the Australian people.

The US imperialists are lying about China, and the Australian government is shamelessly following the US in its lies and aggression along the road to apocalypse. The Australian people deserve better allies and a better government, and we deserve independence and peace. We must fight back against the drive towards war at all costs.

Next article – OP-ED – Cancel culture outrage much ado about nothing

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