The United States, war on two fronts and loss of empire

February 13, 2022
Defence Minister Peter Dutton (left) and US Secretary of State Antony Blinkin are singing from the same anti-China songbook.

The propaganda war against China and Russia got a whole lot worse in the past week. The very real danger of war either in our region, or in Europe, was made abundantly clear.

The United States is promoting conflict in Europe and Asia and war on two fronts is a very real possibility. For the US, loss of power, and the eclipse of its economic hegemony by China, looms large. Empires come and empires go, but never willingly.

The war on two fronts “logic” of the US was explained by the visiting US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, at the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad) meeting. Blinken and the other Indo-Pacific foreign ministers were sending a deliberate message designed to further escalate tension between states and to convince a domestic audience that the threat is real and that the enemies are real.

For the US, the ducks are now in line.

The meeting of the Quad group of countries moved us into ever more dangerous waters. It received the response from Beijing that the US and its allies desired. Any statement from China that is critical of the US or Australia is routinely presented as “proof” of hostile and aggressive intent.

On the sidelines of that meeting was Defence Minister Peter Dutton’s ludicrous claim of Chinese “communist” interference in the coming election in support of the Labor Party. Dutton’s outburst, alongside Blinken’s visit, serve to reinforce a sense of hostility towards China.

Of the two propaganda events, the Quad meeting is by far the more dangerous, although the red-menace nonsense of Dutton is worthy of note.

The Quad meeting ran along the usual lines: it re-affirmed its support for Taiwan; it promoted the idea of a “rules-based” order and pledged to ensure that the region remained “free and open”. The “rules”, of course, are the rules established by the US, for the US. Being “free and open” means allowing US capitalism the freedom to confront and contain Chinese capitalism because, despite the rhetoric, any threat emanating from China is to US economic power and has nothing to do with ideology.

The fact that imperialism is now openly discussing a campaign on two fronts, against both Russia and China, is being made deliberately transparent. Blinken’s message, as quoted in The Australian, was chillingly clear: “One of the reasons we are working so intensively to defend the core principles threatened by Russia in Ukraine, is because those very same principles are crucial to enduring stability in this region and every other part of the world.”

Those core principles boil down to the right of US capital to maintain, if necessary, at bayonet point, the right to control the capitalist world.

Blinken made the claim that China has an aim of economic and military domination of the world. He was speaking to like-minded foreign ministers, who were happy to accept the hyperbole and to forgive the hypocrisy. But economic and military domination has been the stock-in-trade of US policy and practice for the better part of a century.

The foreign ministers were of one mind in condemning China’s alleged aggression in the region and its threat to the security of us all. There are points that are conveniently overlooked in the drive to demonise.

China’s military spending is less than a third of that of the US. It has not sailed its fleet dangerously close to US territorial waters and nor does it have bases and missile barrages stationed off the coast of any of the Quad countries.

The US is hell-bent on raising tensions with Russia. At the same time, it has no intention of allowing tensions in the Indo-Pacific region to ease. Herein lay the significance of the Quad meeting: the US and its loyal lieutenants are being urged to fan the flames and present China as an imminent threat.

Even as the meeting was continuing, Dutton was busy playing his part. The stunt he pulled in seeking to link the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to the Labor Party via an alleged plot to influence the election, was crude. It evoked the worst memories of Liberal Prime Minister Robert Menzies and the red scare elections of the past.

It also closely echoed the witch-hunting exercise of June 2020, when NSW member of parliament Shoquett Moselmane’s home and office were raided by Australian Federal Police. He was accused of being used by the CCP. But no Chinese interference was found, despite the lurid headlines. Labor reacted quickly, and dumped him from the party. It took nearly six months for his party membership to be restored.

Chinese money was spoken of then and now. A Chinese businessman was named as the go-between. Dutton was looking to repeat the story. The ASIO report, which contained no detail, was eagerly seized on by Dutton and the media — its release timed to coincide with the Quad meeting.

Blinken congratulated Australia for “standing up” to China and his appeals for even greater belligerence, in the name of peace were warmly applauded.

As crude as the attacks are, they do serve a purpose. Apart from the attempt to weaken Labor leader Anthony Albanese’s campaign, yet another opportunity was seized upon to remind that China is governed by the CCP and is, therefore, seeking to dominate the world and take freedom from Australians.

Dutton’s comments in parliament received blanket coverage. His most lamentable line was that “the Chinese Communist Party, the Chinese government, has also made a decision about who they're going to back in the next federal election”. His purpose, primarily, was to keep the “China threat” at the front of our minds. By repeating the lie, the lie becomes, if not truth, accepted by many as truth.

Meanwhile, the big lie continues to be peddled: Chinese communists threaten our liberty; we must stand up to China; the US is the ally of the free world.

As the lie is repeated, the threat of a war to save US capitalism becomes ever more real.

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