The Guardian • Issue #2097

OP-ED

Where is the Red Menace?

Asian child smiling with father.

Photo: pxfuel.com (CC0)

Australia’s political, military, and media elites and the Americans holding their leashes have been doubling and tripling down on China fearmongering in the last few years. Deputy PM Richard Marles has justified the recent expansion of Australia’s military budget with all too familiar tales of defending trade from our largest trading partner and deterring war over Taiwan.

“Now, we want to do everything we can to be deterring a conflict of that kind and we are working very closely with our ally, the United States,” Marles said in an ABC Breakfast radio interview.

How much do the claims of Marles and the other Australian and American war hawks stand up to scrutiny? China’s recent diplomatic efforts tell a very different story to the new Red Menace narrative, as does Australia’s involvement in stoking conflict around the globe.

From April 1 to 11, the former chairman of the Kuomintang party Ma Ying-jeou led a delegation of Taiwanese youth to the Chinese mainland. He met with Xi Jinping on 10 April, where the two discussed the importance of maintaining peace across the Taiwan Straits. Meanwhile, the US, Japan, the Philippines, and Australia have continued to go down the war path with talks of anti-Chinese encirclement. Australian media has had little to say about the landing of Green Berets in Taiwan, and has had nothing but venom to spit at our Pacific neighbours who refuse to cut ties with China.

More recently, in the wake of Israeli aggression against Iran and the bombing of Iran’s Syrian consulate, China took immediate action by sending their top diplomatic official Wang Yi to meet with his Iranian and Saudi counterparts. As the three nations have reaffirmed their commitment to diplomacy and the prevention of further escalation, Israel has expressed their continued drive for further aggression. The Australian response, meanwhile, has been to parrot the Israeli narrative of Iranian culpability. Albanese wasted no time in condemning what he calls Iran’s “flouting of international law,” all while continuing to obscure the true scale of Australia’s material and intelligence support for Israel’s ongoing project of genocide.

As Australia expands its own military budget and continues its support for allies engaged in conflict and genocide all around the world, as it redoubles its commitment to international espionage via the Five Eyes, and as it continues to bankroll the US’ war machine through AUKUS, Australian media and politicians have no shame in calling China the warmonger.

As Australian government, media, and even universities become increasingly AUKUS oriented, it is more important than ever for Australians to take a stand against the push for war. Challenging the China threat mythology is a crucial first step.

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