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China, the United States, and us

Some people can easily remember what they were doing at the time of significant events. The shooting of John F Kennedy or John Lennon. Or The moon landing. Or what they were doing when the twin towers were attacked or the unlawful invasion of Iraq? There are others, of course.

The exactness of where l was and what l was doing at the time of any of the events mentioned above escapes me, but their importance doesn’t. In particular, l can vividly recollect 911 and its aftermath. On the Sunday morning following the horrific event, l was astonished when we attended our local church, and the youthful Pastor made scant mention of the shocking occurrence and the resulting lives lost.

When it became evident that the subject would be secondary to the Pastor’s prepared sermon, we left in disgust and went to another nearby church where we were confident the issue would get a fair airing.

We didn’t require an injection of American political propaganda or exceptionalism. We were more interested in the human aspects. Words that might provide some comfort together with our compassion for the lives lost and the families overwhelmed with shock and grief – words compelling us to think about the present and future consequences.

Take the following, for example:

“The American Revolutionary War (April 19, 1775 – September 3, 1783), also known as the Revolutionary War or American War of Independence, was the military conflict of the American Revolution.

American Patriot forces under George Washington’s command defeated the British, establishing and securing the independence of the United States.”

History further tells us that since 1776 the U.S.A. has been at war for 93% of the time it has existed.

And that:

“Incomplete statistics show that from the end of World War II to 2001, among the 248 armed conflicts that occurred in 153 regions of the world, 201 were initiated by the United States.”

These include the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Kosovo War, the Afghanistan War, the Iraq War, and the Syrian War.

“According to a report released in March 2021 by Code Pink, a U.S. anti-war group, the United States and its allies have consistently bombed other countries over the past 20 years, dropping an average of more than 40 bombs daily.

Statistics also show over the past two decades, the so-called anti-terror wars waged by the United States have cost more than 929,000 lives.”

It would be unfair to blame all these incursions on the U.S. alone. After World War 2, when the world was divided into East versus West, America became the cop on the beat or the policeman of the world, intervening in other country’s affairs when a threat of Communism loomed. Cuba is but one example, namely the Cuban missile crisis.

Often America has borne the cost in lives and money of these conflicts. However, with the demise of the USSR and the rise of China as a superpower to match the United States, we have a competition of philosophy.


American capitalistic democracy Vs Chinese capitalistic dictated Communism

In trying to determine right and wrong, two factors must be considered.

On the one hand, the erosion of western democracy has been deplorable since the end of the second world war. On the other, China’s rise (despite becoming a dictatorship) over the past 40 years has been extraordinarily impressive.

China has achieved this without significant conflict. So, China is planning to re-shape the international order resembling itself.

“China has broken new ground in its diplomatic endeavours amid profound global changes and turned crises into opportunities amid complex situations on the international stage. These efforts have resulted in a marked increase in China’s international influence, appeal, and power to shape.”

The decline in real American Democracy began with the emergence of the neo-cons and Ronald Reagan, which saw a rise in the influence of fundamentalist Christian religion. Reagan gave them a licence to become involved in politics, and a slow path toward Trumpism began.

The likes of Carle Rove influenced the born-again Christian George W Bush, who had a distorted view of American exceptionalism.

I am often staggered with the vigour American atheists use to confront religion. However, when one examines the conduct of religious institutions in that country, I cannot say I am the least surprised.

In Australia, the LNP under John Howard began to rip our Democracy asunder. When they got the chance after a short break with Labor, Tony Abbott and Scott Morrison completed the job. Howard’s action in joining America in Iraq relied entirely on their evidence that it had weapons of mass destruction. It did not, and Howard never asked the question; “Please double-check your information.”

So when debating the rights and wrongs of purchasing submarines and being aligned with the United States and England, the average Australian has much to chew over.

Are we safer with the involvement of America and England and with ANSUS but without guaranteeing they would support us in times of trouble, remembering they have an America First philosophy? Or would it have been better to develop our relationship with China while maintaining those with the U.S.?

In doing so, nobody should ignore the thoughts of Paul Keating. He at least has the guts to put forward views that, whilst they may irritate, are worthy of consideration.

For Australia to blindly align itself with the United States when the possibility that Donald Trump’s madness might again return to lead the conservative party is coloured red with danger.

America is a precarious democracy, hardly able to manage its affairs, let alone anyone else’s.

America may be the most advanced technological nation on earth. However, its social progress on matters of great moral importance is still fighting its way out of the dark ages when mysticism was rampant.

If we had been trying to enrich our thinking and diplomacy with China instead of pandering to the United States, we might have been in a better strategic position.

Moreover, we wouldn’t be facing the conundrum we now are.

My thought for the day

Will we ever grow intellectually to the point where we can discern and understand the potential for the good within us?


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  1. Stephengb

    J L

    Spot on the money !

  2. New England Cocky

    When you have the USA (United States of Apartheid) as an ally why do you need any other enemies?

  3. Jim Jacobsen

    What we don’t know are the other commitments that the Australian Government has made on top of the submarines purchase to the USA and UK and what counter commitments the USA and UK have made to the Austaluan Goverment. Further what other strings will be attached to them in this third rate game of global chess.

  4. GL

    And so the USA continues it’s slide into the darkness of rabid right wing religious lunacy.

    This is The Donald inciting the mob for another 6 January, 2021. Scary stuff, but not wholly unexpected.

    Holy crap! Boebert is a bigger raving nutcase than Taylor-Greene.

  5. Terence Mills

    When it comes to Taiwan, successive US governments, starting with President Nixon’s 1972 China visit, have adopted the position as outlined in the joint communiqué issued at that time :

    “The United States acknowledges that all Chinese on either side of the Taiwan Strait maintain there is but one China and that Taiwan is a part of China. The United States Government does not challenge that position. It reaffirms its interest in a peaceful settlement of the Taiwan question by the Chinese themselves.”

    We should always bear that in mind when the sabres start rattling !

  6. Clakka

    Things that make one go hmmmmm.

    In view of the major uptake and implementation of contemporary technologies and industrial processes in the progression towards and ultimately protect us all against the ravages of climate change, there now arises the inevitable review and recalibration of our understanding of what constitutes assets and liabilities and risks.

    To that extent we are emerging from the interregnum, ironically marked by the Covid pandemic, the surrounding few years of economic stagnation and geopolitical posturing and navel-fluff pulling. For tangible actions to be taken, many moves in unison have to be taken globally or we all would head from stagnation onto the slippery-slide to environmental doom.

    Without going through the alphabet soup of blocs, associations and pacts and the surrounding domestic and cultural ideologies and impasses, it seems fair to say everyone has sensed it was beyond time to stop shilly-shallying around. The mini-managed war between Russia and Ukraine provided the ‘shock and awe’ flash-point spectacle, and also a demonstration of the mechanisms available for the reorganisation of economic liquidity and release of stranded assets and reinterpretation of liabilities.

    To achieve decarbonisation, given the abilities of the Great Powers, and also those of thus far untapped but necessary resources, with China’s ‘Belt and Road Initiative (BRI)’ in the wings, a plan for the West’s full involvement needed to be initiated. And that initiation could well be AUKUS.

    There have been a smattering of requisite political trojan horses launched along the way, such as China / Taiwan, loft balloons and the like, but these are merely scene-setters to provide competitive chauvinistic narratives for domestic political purposes.

    In continental Eurasia, no-one has batted and eyelid, the requisite plans are proceeding, and as matters pertaining to the relaxation of hegemonic aspirations are finding an enunciation, those plans seem to be increasing apace.

    AUKUS along with the Quad / ASEAN provides necessary ‘democratic’ – ‘rules-based order’ narrative and vehicle to facilitate a securitised opening into China’s BRI and the West’s concomitant commitments. Australia’s role in AUKUS should not be underestimated as a mere regional lap-dog to the USA. Its geographic size, massive natural resources, location, significant brains trust, along with its trading relations with China are all critical to its participation, along with Oz growing tendency towards cultural neutrality.

    The massive amount of Asia/Pacific legwork done by the new Labor government (and business) could be seen as a very necessary piece of pump-priming for the massive changes coming in the next three decades. Oz just needs to keep thinking and being grown-up about it.

    It’ll be interesting to see when and where Xi takes Putin’s Russia, and what messages Kishida provides for the restructure of Ukraine.

  7. Paul Smith

    “History further tells us that since 1776 the U.S.A. has been at war for 93% of the time it has existed.”

    I’m brushing up on Hamilton the musical. In Act 2 Hamilton and Jefferson have it out about supporting the French against the British. Despite the decisive support of the French in their revolutionary war against the British, Hamilton says, and I paraphrase, “The USA should remain neutral because if we get involved in everyone’s wars we’ll never not be at war.”
    Aaron Burr may have more to answer for than he knew when he lamented killing Hamilton in a duel.

  8. Clakka

    Yes Paul Smith, well put.

    Perhaps after 250 years they are slowly learning about the cost – in every regard.

    Of late they have certainly been scuttling out of their various wars and insurgencies.

    I wonder whether they have the psychological grunt to turn their military industry to retooling to rapid decarbonisation.

    Of course that may take a lobotomising of the broken political process.

    But then they may have something to crow about on the world stage.

  9. leefe

    “America became the cop on the beat or the policeman of the world … ”

    And they do that the way so many cops deal with pretty well anything: shoot first and then there’s no point bothering with questions.

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