Before Prime Minister Anthony Albanese left for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) summit, he pledged his government’s support to the United States alliance and to the new “transformed” NATO in an interview with the Australian Financial Review (AFR).
Imperialism is getting its ducks in line and Australia is doing its damnedest to play its part.
Albanese said the invasion of Ukraine had brought democratic nations together “whether they be members of NATO, or non-members such as Australia”. The war had shown “attempts to impose change by force on a sovereign country meet resistance … The Chinese government [must] learn the lessons of Russia’s ‘strategic failure’ in Ukraine”, he argued.
The fact that Albanese was invited to the NATO meeting was significant. NATO, the global arm of US-sponsored militarism, is set to spread beyond the North Atlantic, a concerning development.
The AFR's Philip Coorey wrote glowingly of NATO’s decision to “formally classify China as a challenge to the organisation’s interests, security and values at the same time that it moves to a war footing in Europe”.
Albanese’s NATO address was predictable: he declared Australia shared a common purpose — supporting “democracy, peace, and security and upholding the rule of law, whether it is in this region or ours”.
“We recognise there is strategic competition in our [sic] [Asia-Pacific] region and Australia is not afraid to stand up with all the countries of our region for an open, inclusive and prosperous Indo-Pacific,” he said.
The Labor government has declared on the world stage it will follow the US, regardless of the cost.
This NATO summit moved the world closer to war. NATO secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg said on June 27 that the summit would be “transformative”, “with many important decisions” including a new “strategic concept” for a “new security treaty”. It would be “a fundamental shift in NATO’s deterrence and defence” to support Ukraine now and into the future.
“Well over” 300,000 troops will be mobilised as part of NATO’s “high readiness forces”, Stoltenberg said. This includes: “pre-positioned equipment and stockpiles of military supplies; more forward-deployed capabilities, like air defence; strengthened command and control; and upgraded defence plans, with forces pre-assigned to defend specific Allies”.
Not content with preparing for war in Europe, Stoltenberg turned his attention to the Asia-Pacific “and the challenges that Beijing poses to our security, interests, and values”.
China’s response was swift. Foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said on June 28 that as NATO is “a product of the Cold War”, its so-called new strategic concept is more of the same.
“It still has not changed the Cold War mentality of creating imaginary enemies and bloc confrontation,” Lijian said. NATO should “give up the Cold War mentality, zero-sum game mindset and the practice of making enemies”.
NATO sees Russia and China as a bloc that must be split. Russia’s conventional military forces have been degraded and its economic capacity, poor to begin with, has been decimated.
To weaken China, or to contain its growth, the US and its allies first need to convince the people that enemies exist and that they must be met with force, if necessary.
The propaganda war against China and Russia has been astonishing in its scope and success, as the latest Lowy survey shows.
Six years ago, 30% of Australians believed China to be their “best friend” in the region. That figure has dropped to 6%. Seventy five per cent consider it either likely or possible that China might become a military threat to Australia in the next 20 years. Fifty two per cent now support the dangerous AUKUS pact; 69% want sanctions against Russia, while 83% support, either strongly or lean towards, supporting Ukraine with military hardware.
The concerted effort to create an enemy has paid dividends. What happens next will shape all our futures. There is no longer any pretence at imperialism’s objectives.