Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
October 14, 2020

U.S. Fails To Find Allies For Waging War On China

The U.S. wants to counter China's growing economic and political standing in the world.

The Obama administration had attempted a 'pivot to Asia' by building a low tariff economic zone via the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP). It would have excluded China. The Trump administration rejected the TPP and withdrew from it. It launched an economic war against China by increasing tariffs on Chinese products, prohibiting high tech supplies to Chinese manufacturers, and by denying Chinese companies access to its market. 

It has also tried to build a military coalition that would help it to threaten China. It revived the 2007-2008 Quadrilateral Security Dialogue and rebranded it as the U.S.-Australia-India-Japan Consultations Quad. The aim was to turn it into an Asian NATO under U.S. command:

The U.S. State Department’s No. 2 diplomat said Monday that Washington was aiming to “formalize” growing strategic ties with India, Japan and Australia in a forum known as “the Quad” — a move experts say is implicitly designed to counter China in the Indo-Pacific region.

“It is a reality that the Indo-Pacific region is actually lacking in strong multilateral structures. They don’t have anything of the fortitude of NATO, or the European Union,” U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Biegun said in an online seminar on the sidelines of the annual U.S.-India Strategic Partnership Forum.

“There is certainly an invitation there at some point to formalize a structure like this,” he added.

But it turns out that neither Australia nor Japan nor India have any interest in a hard stand towards China. All look to China as an important trade partner. They know that any conflict with it would cost them dearly.

On October 6 Secretary of State Mike Pompeo flew to Tokyo for a meeting with the other foreign ministers of the Quad. He soon found that no one would join him in his militant talk:

In a meeting with foreign ministers from Japan, India and Australia in Tokyo, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo urged on Tuesday that they strengthen their quartet of democracies to resist an increasingly assertive China.
If, as it appeared, Pompeo was pushing other members of the Quad to take the U.S. side in a confrontation with China, he did not score any ringing public endorsements, and his remarks clashed with those of his host.

Pompeo aimed straight at the Chinese Communist Party in remarks before the four nations' top diplomats sat down to talk.

"As partners in this Quad, it is more critical now than ever that we collaborate to protect our people and partners from the CCP's exploitation, corruption and coercion," he said.

But Japan's chief government spokesman, Katsunobu Kato, insisted at a press briefing Tuesday: "This Quad meeting is not being held with any particular country in mind."

Australia and India were similarly reluctant to say anything that would potentially offend China.

Pompeo's initiative has failed. The former Indian ambassador M. K. Bhadrakumar explains why the Quad won't fly:

China cannot be beaten since, unlike the USSR, it is part of the same global society as the US. Look at the sheer spread of the US-China battlefields — global governance, geoeconomics, trade, investment, finance, currency usage, supply chain management, technology standards and systems, scientific collaboration and so on. It speaks of China’s vast global reach. This wasn’t the case with USSR.

Above all, China has no messianic ideology to export and prefers to set a model by virtue of its performance. It is not in the business of instigating regime change in other countries, and actually gets along rather well with democracies.
The US created the ASEAN but today no Asian security partner wants to choose between America and China. The ASEAN cannot be repurposed to form a coalition to counter China. Thus, no claimant against China in the South China Sea is prepared to join the US in its naval fracas with China.

China has resources, including money, to offer its partners, whereas, the US budget is in chronic deficit and even routine government operations must now be funded with debt. It needs to find resources needed to keep its human and physical infrastructure at levels competitive with those of China and other great economic powers.

Why on earth should India get entangled in this messy affair whose climax is a foregone conclusion?
China has no need to fight wars when it is already winning.

The U.S. also tried to incite its European NATO allies to take a stand against China:

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg warned Saturday that China's increasing influence had created a "fundamental shift in the global balance of power" that should not be overlooked.

In an interview with Germany's Welt am Sonntag newspaper, that was released in advance, the Norwegian official said that Beijing had the second-largest defense budget in the world after the United States, and was investing heavily in nuclear weapons and long-range missiles that could reach Europe.

"One thing is clear: China is coming ever closer to Europe's doorstep," he said. "NATO allies must face this challenge together."

That initiative will sink in Europe just as fast as the Quad initiative has sunk in Asia and for the very same reasons. China is not an ideological or military danger to Europe. It is an economic behemoth and relation with it need to be carefully handled. They require respect and talks and not saber rattling.

China has overtaken the U.S. as the EU's biggest trading partner:

In the first seven months of 2020, China surpassed the United States to become the biggest trading partner of the European Union (EU), said Eurostat, the EU's statistics organisation.
The EU's imports from China increased by 4.9 per cent year-on-year in the January-July period, noted Eurostat.

According to the Federal Statistical Office of Germany, the largest economy in the EU, China, Germany's biggest trading partner since 2016, surpassed the United States for the first time in the second quarter of this year to become Germany's largest export market, and Germany's exports to China in July have rebounded almost to last year's level.

It is time for the U.S. to look into a mirror and to awake to reality. It is highly indebted country with a way too expensive but ineffective military. Over the last decades its economic role in the world has continuously declined. The constant militant positions and 'do as we say' attitude has alienated its allies. Without allies the U.S. has no chance to defeat China in any potential conflict.

What the U.S. still could do is to honestly compete with China. But that would require humility, a strong industrial policy and a well paid and competitive work force.

Neither of that is in sight.

Posted by b on October 14, 2020 at 17:07 UTC | Permalink

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Australian lady #69

M.K.Bhadrakumar is a high ranking Hindu whose father was a high ranking communist. He's been an ambassador so he knows the elites but his journalism is pragmatically grounded. He is what I'd call a "straight talker", and Indian Punchline offers a geopolitical perspective that has been invaluable to me for years. Above all his opinions are (historically/materially) regional and of some importance with regards to China.

Thank you and I join you in that description. I occasionally rankle at a phrase or two, but then I expect that. He is a great mind and articulate as well.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Oct 15 2020 11:23 utc | 101

As an aside to my above comment, it is British and American societies that seem compelled to go around the world "fixing" other peoples' cultures. Such puerile and ignorant arrogance. The Chinese are not like you.

Posted by: William Gruff | Oct 15 2020 11:24 utc | 102

Posted by: William Gruff | Oct 15 2020 11:24 utc | 103

British and American societies that seem compelled to go around the world "fixing" other peoples' cultures.

That would be fine if they did it for free ...

Posted by: Arch Bungle | Oct 15 2020 12:34 utc | 103

@vk | Oct 15 2020 10:57 utc | 100

So you believe scientism is no ideology, and cannot be messianic/utopian? (Or should I say still believe, as I also was much in line with that thinking the first 45 years of my life.)

Note that utopian in the original meaning is "heaven [can be] achieved on earth", so applied for scientism it means all human problems can be perfectly solved by technology/scientism.
You really believe that? So for example if I'm feeling 'alienated' and that my life has no meaning, technology (pharmacy?) will completely solve that, right now or in the very near future??

Posted by: michael | Oct 15 2020 12:38 utc | 104

@ Posted by: michael | Oct 15 2020 12:38 utc | 105

Scientism is a contradiction in terms. Science is a method, not an ideology. You don't "believe" in science, you use it.

Heaven is a religious concept, and has nothing to do with science.

If you "believe" in science, then you don't know what it is in the first place.

Posted by: vk | Oct 15 2020 12:57 utc | 105

I did nt honestly understand your point, mr Vk - is it for 'viking'?
-So western liberalism (is it meant on US common concept of liberalism or..?) is a messianic ideology. However, you imply Mr. Badrakummar is wrong to state that China has no messianic ideology.
First simple logic alone tells us to distinguish two possibilities in the Indian ambassador 's phrase; a) It doesn't have an ideology; or b) doesn't have a messianic ideology to e.x.p.o.r.t!
In the 70, 80ties South africa for inst., had a ferocious ideology but we never knew of any efforts to have it marketed beyond borders.
Of course every nation that counts in the world has a big or a few chunks of ongoing ideologies. It is part of their self consciousness.
But When it comes to turn 'messianic' then then preaching and shouting it over to whole world is what defines a Messiah, right?
But trying to convince others on it by any means of course is not part of Beijing' s line. The simple TRADE plus their mere and shining success for the last 40 years are nt they enough?

Posted by: augusto | Oct 15 2020 13:02 utc | 106

@vk | Oct 15 2020 12:57 utc | 106

Interesting you didn't answer my questions, but jumped at the first word you don't like.

Would "perfection" be acceptable to you, instead of "heaven"? Because to me they have the same meaning, only the location where it is achievable is different.

"Belief" covers everything where your knowledge and/or understanding runs out - so those areas even exist in science today!

For my understanding, would you describe yourself as an Sam Harris-style dogmatic atheist?

Posted by: michael | Oct 15 2020 13:05 utc | 107

William Gruff@101,

Thanks for the comments. That's very well said. It is my impression that the west started its advantage and widened the gap from elsewhere since the first industrial revolution. China was very behind in that aspect until late 20th century. Now, China has caught up in the last two decades and even leads in some areas. The west somehow has difficulty to adjust. amerikka and the west can't expect China to just makes clothes and toys for them forever. One Chinese scholar once said that China had to make 800 million pairs of socks to buy 1 Boeing commercial airplane before. Any sensible country/people will like to make themselves have a better living by developments. My guess is that the west is so used to treat the non-west world as inferior, consciously or unconsciously. Mutual respect seems not spontaneous for the west when they deal with the non-west world.

Posted by: LuRenJia | Oct 15 2020 13:25 utc | 108

@ Posted by: michael | Oct 15 2020 13:05 utc | 108

Science is not synonymous with truth. It's a method of investigation that approximates humans from the truth, but it is never the truth itself (thing in itself).

No scientist ever will claim to be the repository of the truth. A scientific fact is a scientific truth, not the truth itself.

Science is, wanting you or not, the best method humans have ever invented to get near the truth. It's not perfect, it cannot investigate everything, but it's the nearest from the truth human beings can get so far.

"Perfection" is also not a scientific concept. There is no belief system in science: you have a hypothesis, and you test the hypothesis. The hypothesis is then confirmed or debunked (or inconclusive). That's one of science's merits: it annihilates the concept of belief.


@ Posted by: augusto | Oct 15 2020 13:02 utc | 107

No. Bhadrakumar's wrong when he states the USSR had a messianic ideology. Not only it didn't have one, but it had the polar opposite of that. Not only that, but the Chinese ideology is directly descendant from the USSR ideology (if Confucianism alone was enough, then the Chinese would've stuck with Chiang Kai-shek), which, as he stated, is not messianic. Not only that, but he's adept of one of the most messianic ideologies ever invented: liberalism - which is messianic in its essence, as Losurdo demonstrated in his "Liberalism: a Counter-History".

So, what we have here is, in fact, pure projection: the liberal is projecting his own messianism on a non-messianic ideology (Marxism-Leninism/Soviet socialism).

But we must understand why people like Mr. Bhadrakumar has this position.

Like other post-war Indian intellectuals, Bhadrakumar probably has a position that ultimately is liberal, but which also is pro Third World self-determination.

This is due to India's independence history, specially vis-a-vis the rest of Eastern and Southeastern Asia. Modern Indians - specially the intelligentsia - are the sons of Nehru and Gandhi. The Indians have a kind of pride and identity on the fact that, contrary to the rest of Asia, India had a more typically liberal revolution, with a more direct Western pedigree. They consider themselves different from the rest of Asia for the fact that they had a more "Glorious" Revolution, more peaceful and more in tandem with the classical liberal thinkers. As a result, they pride themselves to be the only big nation in Asia to have "successfully" implanted the Western parliamentary model. They are still, in their heads, the "Jewel of the Crown", only this time spiritually. On the other side, the Third World reality ingrained in the Indian intelligentsia a strong anti-imperialist tone. This mix resulted in a toxic ideology, where the Indian intellectuals put themselves - even unconsciously - as the leaders of the Third World, the enlightened of the Periphery, as the "guys outside of the Matrix". Call it Third World snobbery, if you want.

Posted by: vk | Oct 15 2020 13:26 utc | 109

That's one of science's merits: it annihilates the concept of belief.

Good to see you understand what science is. While you didn't mention it explicitly, I concur the Scientific Method is the crux of the matter.

Now once again, what do you do where the Scientific Method runs out, most commonly because the situation cannot be repeated exactly or close enough, to allow comparison of the results? (cough social "sciences" cough)
You allow for belief instead, or you go straight to "nothing can be stated about it at all"?

Do you agree that a lot of people these days take science to cover a much bigger area than that testable by the Scientific Method?
Would you allow for calling that stance 'scientism'?

Posted by: michael | Oct 15 2020 13:41 utc | 110

@ chu teh #26

"The professional military mind is by necessity an inferior and unimaginative mind; no man of high intellectual quality would willingly imprison his gifts in such a calling."
Ch. 40 (The Outline of History (1920) H.G. Wells

Posted by: Lawrence Miller | Oct 15 2020 14:34 utc | 111

vato @Oct15 10:28 #96

3 weeks to election: No 2nd household stimulus? No mass protests?

I've been saying for weeks that there would be no additional stimulus because a deep economic downturn could be used to intensify anti-China sentiment.

Hundreds of thousands of dead people (mostly old) is not enough. Only when everyone suffers (via financial hardship) is the proper RAGE against China generated.


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Oct 15 2020 14:43 utc | 112

Re: understanding "Socialism withhChinese characteristics".

The following account can help explain the successful evolution to modern China.

American journalist Edgar Snow wrote first-hand accounts of Mao's struggle to transition China from a colony stuck with foreign occupiers to a self-determined sovereign country.
Snow's Journey To The Beginning, wherein he relates his insight of that which seems to enable that transition in the midst of famine and helplessness. This episode occurs about 1931.

Snow has travelled to the remote end of the railway line with Washington Wu, a government official and translator who had studied in America. They are shocked by scenes of mass death and starvation and hopelessness in northwest China. Snow recalls this dialog:

[ Wu-]-- "Terrible! Terrible!" he suddenly muttered one day when we discussed what we had seen. "I had been in America so many years I forgot about things like this. What a miserable , miserable country our China is!"
[Snow]-- I felt a bond of sympathy with Wu when I first I heard him concede some evil in China apart from the sins of the white imperialists. His facade of arrogance and false pride cracked. There was a new spirit of protest against injustice in his voice, a new sense of humility and personal responsibility.
[Wu]--"We must, we must do something to save China--quickly", he said. "But how?"
[Snow]--"There you sit with 30 centuries of experience behind you," said I. "As an American, I can trace my origins a few generations. How can I answer that question for China!"
[Wu]--"There has to be a new birth," he said thoughtfully. "It can only come out of our own body--the body of our own history."
[Snow]--Wu was silent for a long time, locked by his thoughts, as I was by mine.

Shortly after that incident, Snow learned of a Mao Zedong character leading a small army of rebellion. This becomes Snow's Red Star Over China, in which Snow sneaks thru enemy lines to meet Mao in his Ba'oan cave, July 1937 .

And by the way, consider this: At the end of World War 1, the secret Peace Treaty of Versailles [secret until ratified by member nations] awarded the former German territorial colony on China's coast to Japan. Thus, protests began in China to prevent such from happening. One of the student leaders of the protests was named Mao Zedong! [This related by American journalist George Seldes who knew the truth of how the "secret" Versailles Treaty terms were scooped and made public prematurely, thanks to the representative from China . See Seldes' Even The Gods Can't Change History.]

Posted by: chu teh | Oct 15 2020 14:50 utc | 113

Any sensible country/people will like to make themselves have a better living by developments. My guess is that the west is so used to treat the non-west world as inferior, consciously or unconsciously. Mutual respect seems not spontaneous for the west when they deal with the non-west world.
Posted by: LuRenJia | Oct 15 2020 13:25 utc | 109

The USA has never been a sensible country.

Disclosure: I'm about as white-anglo as you can get, Scots-Irish-Welsh kind of family farmers and petit bourgeois, which is why I think I can speak. Lily white upbringing, met my first latino at 9, first black person at 16. My father was son of a Glasgow merchant, immigrated to Canada in 1908, worked his way to Vancouver on the Trans-Canadian rail line, fought with the Canadian Expeditionary force at Vimy Ridge in France, almost lost a leg, and lucky at that. Mother was a Henry George type pinko schoolteacher.

I think it's the racism here, plain & simple, that's the whole point of it, you have no moral or ethical obligations to inferiors, it's a class system taken to the logical conclusion.

Why did the Brits find it so easy to take over India? They already had a rigid class system in India. Well, they brought it here too.

The easy way we were able to trick the natives and take their land became a habit. We became a nation of con men, far too many con men grifters and crooks. They came here from all over. And the continent was so rich, so untouched ...

We got close to something better a few times so far, but no luck yet.

I get pissed off every time I think about what they are doing to the ecosystem here. Cretins.

Posted by: Bemildred | Oct 15 2020 16:24 utc | 114

Et Tu @ 10 we need to run trade Kevin @ 4 We is not America it might be the Wall Street owned USA?

"the U.S. could .. honestly compete with China. <=NO NO NO the USA cannot honestly do anything, But Americans could and will compete just as soon as wall street and the USA get out of the way.

USA has helped it oligarch companies to out source labour, and remove from America the industries that make the Oligarchs wealthy Its not just labor wall street owned USA forced out of America, its the brain power, OJT experience and the quality of work epoch which made America such a great industrial powerhouse.

the USA will continue to de-industrialize as long as it keeps the title of financial vk 15 <=not sure Americans are going keep the USA..

The immediate and most solid market of any important nation<=is their neighboring countries. Agusto @ 16, in America, the only solid market is America.

To Hoarsewhisperer @ 18 Your idea short Wall street to unleash freedom in America?

(1970s) off shoring (even more important) productive know how, the stuff that is not written down anywhere, degradation of our workforce, debasement of our educational, health care, and social service institutions in the name of profit, in the name of "the market", was the STUPIDEST geo-political decision I've ever heard of. Bemildred @ 19 < yes, copyright, patent and privatization laws written by the USA against competition around the globe, allowed off shoring to happen the result of laws USA passed to allow Oligarchs to place a dagger in the heart and soul of Every American. Who needs enemies, we have the USA?

government's irrational destabilizing behavior Josh@25 <=showdown coming I think.

Since 1913, FDR bungled one opportunity to alter course, by: karlof1 @ 27 <= Roosevelt was part of it..course started 1787, not 1913, in the 2nd British Revolution, when federalism embodied in the constitution of the USA demolished the Democracy America had, and allowed all of the old Aristocrats to keep the massive swaths of property the kings and queens of foreign lands had given them.. Article VI and Article II, which denied any American a say by vote as to who would be the President and VP.

The only way to reverse the empire's demise is to restore America's globally overwhelming industrial productive capacity, empire c\n\b salvaged so long as it holds to capitalism, but capitalism is the entire raison d'être of the empire. That contradiction is impossible to William Gruff @ 38, <= since the day the US constitution came into play, it has been an up hill battle to keep capitalism in America.. beginning in 1913, the hill steepened considerably, and in 1974 the US Trade mark and Patent and copyright offices began open war on capitalism when they installed monopoly powers (in the form of copyrights and patents) created special courts, moved banking business to Wall Street, and moved all companies out of America, basically leaving creative, competing Americans with nothing to compete over and at the same time depriving Americans of the right to be a part of the productive world. Capitalism is still king, but greed disease turns it into monopolism.

The US has not had capitalism in a long time, soft fascism (neoliberalism) by: winston2 @ 41

note to Passer @ 49 no part of GDP is important to Americans [public relations ploy Passer @ 50 calls it], and they don't care about currency, just trade among themselves.. nothing foreign..

World war for the American Empire. by: Don Bacon @ 51 <=probably right, USA may find it first must fight Americans to wage war on the rest of the world. ..

You history of the war seems accurate <= Debsisdead @ 83 <=but the real reason for the wars was oil beneath the Ottoman empire. After WWI The Ottoman empire because British Palestine, and French Turkey nad Syria.. the oil companies needed a way to own the oil so nation states were created in order to have a recording office to record a claim of ownership in. Israel was the military based turned into a nation state.

Passerby @ 50 You are right, the EU and Russia are sheep in a casket..yet all over the EU the people are rebelling at government, I don't think Iran, Venezuela, China are.. casket material?

a deep economic downturn to intensify anti-China sentiment [to produce]RAGE against China by: Jackrabbit @ 114 <= yes sir, financial hardship is likely to incite the simmering American rise against the USA. to a full blown revolution..

Posted by: snake | Oct 15 2020 16:29 utc | 115

Thanks to all posters for filling in the many cracks in our knowlege of where we have been, with prognostications on where we are going. Debsisdead, I found your quotes on the confrontation between Hitler and Britain before war broke out between them very helpful. I will just add on the appeasement question that some of the back and forth in which agreements were supposedly put forward and accepted were done on the opposing side in the effort to gain time. Hitler was moving swiftly on a truly maniacal path, and that had to be apparent to those extending those palm branches or agreeing to what he was proposing. But not to agree would put them on a war footing before they had time to prepare.

In Putin's speech that is the strategy he tenders for Stalin's acquiescence, while still observing that Stalin was no angel and had been committing atrocities of his own internally. These actions of Hitler, his promises, his 'lures' must have been considered pragmatically in part, so that indeed when push came to shove some defense against it had been mustered. I don't pose this for England; I simply don't know. What Putin does say for the USSR was that it bought time to move its manufacturing structures and population eastward away from approaching conflict, and Britain of course had nowhere to go; it simply had to defend.

Your point, though, is sound. Things can get out of hand very quickly. I would like to hear somebody address the claim by both Putin and Lavrov that unlike the League of Nations, the UN has in its favor the Security Council veto. That, as they assert, in the critical aggressive moments that veto has kept the threat of world war at bay, because always it means that dialogue is necessary before such a climax can be reached; dialogue being the imperative solution by which it is no longer necessary to appease in order to forestall those apparent misapprehensions on the part of any lunatic power,as happened in the past. Such misapprehensions being, okay, the way forward is open, I've fooled them into unsuspecting my devious plan.

Posted by: juliania | Oct 15 2020 16:48 utc | 116

Paco @88--

That's an excellent song!! Usually Lavrov's interviews are easygoing and not very pointed. This one from the 14th with radio stations Sputnik, Komsomolskaya Pravda and Govorit Moskva was almost adversarial and IMO very important. They are basically asking why does Russia allow itself to be pushed around, particularly by the EU dogs. The following Q & Lavrov's A begins a very long discussion of where relations with the EU are going, and I urge readers to click the link and read it all:

"Question: You mentioned that if the EU doesn’t understand that dialogue with Russia can only be based on mutual respect, Russia could stop talking with them. What did you have in mind?

"Sergey Lavrov: That’s not what I said. I was saying that the point at issue is not whether there can be business as usual, but whether we can do business with the EU at all, which is not simply talking down to Russia but is doing so extremely haughtily and arrogantly, demanding that we answer for the sins which we are allegedly guilty of. I don’t think that we have to answer to anyone. We have our own Constitution, laws and other mechanisms."

It appears the Global Neoliberal Parasites have decided to work against the BRI and EAEU since they cannot control either and what we're seeing happen between Russia and EU is the beginning aspects of a policy Sea Change to be implemented after the POTUS Inauguration in January. IMO, it's the final doubledown the Outlaw US Empire will be capable of orchestrating, which also makes it the most dangerous.

Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 15 2020 17:55 utc | 117

Australia's relationship to China and the USA should not be treated as straightforward. The entanglement of our institutions, economy and culture with each is historically complicated. For example, Australia is currently undergoing a structural transformation of its university system for a tangle of reasons, many contradictory. Withdrawal of public funding for tertiary education (80% in 1980 > 30% in 2020) has corporatised universities who have made up the money by selling degrees to the aspirational Chinese middle-class. The result is that universities here have very close relationships with China at every level of dependence. The same is true of the resource sector and to some extent the FIRE sector too. Regionally and economically this makes sense: arguably these relationships insulated us from the effects of the 2008 GFC via the open pipeline of Chinese stimulus. The Covid-19 crisis, however, has been opportunistically exploited by the Coalition conservative populist govt to provide cover to 'decouple' universities from China, to defund them and shrink them further, to root out dissent (arts, humanities, environmental science recently hollowed out savagely). The population have approved because Australians are, at base, wannabe settler oligarchs, racist and anti-intellectual. In their view (one curated almost entirely by the Murdoch-dominated MSM here) universities should focus on creating 'job-ready' graduates, a narrow and ignorant view which opposes the idea of the university as a research institution since von Humboldt. So, local prejudice, which is anti-China all the way up to the senior bureaucracy, also merges with a deep entanglement with US cultural imperialism, a well from which Australians have drunk deeply since the end of the war. And yet, among the young, the USA is hardly a 'great ally' and memories of being 'saved' by Uncle Sam in 1942 have long faded. These young people—many of whom I teach—also want universities to be places of critical research rather than glorified training centres, and they don't mind close connections to China especially if it means well-funded local universities. We cannot therefore conclude that the landscape here is straightforwardly pro/anti China or US. It is fluid and dependent on local attitudes.

On top of this one must reckon with Australian cultural and political stubbornness as well as ingenuity—we are more of a wild-card than this forum imagines, as well as pragmatists. In spite of our parochial worldview Australia is a technological innovator and has shown glimpses in the past that it could and would go a third way given the right leadership (e.g. under Whitlam, 1972-75, brutally terminated by the CIA). Australia, in other words, should it come to the same conclusions that b has rightly drawn, might just as well close off its resources and deny access to its vast and unconquerable territory, and instead, e.g., become a renewable energy super-power (+ 40% of the world's yellow-cake).

In short, do not assume this country will always go the US way; it is going that way now, but that's because Australia's political and corporate classes are completely invested in the US-led financialisation phase of late capitalism. It's less ideological and more pragmatic, but that could change, and quickly. At the moment we only have holes (mines), homes (real estate), and finance. The assault on education-exports was driven by these interests. However, the demand for university education remains, and there are many others (like the Premier of Victoria) who see a future for Australia in a 'real economy' and want it to jump on OBOR to create a terminus whose opposite pole extends to Europe. When Australia sees this clearly it may drop the USA as quickly—and as unexpectedly—as it did Britain in 1942. At times I despair, but at other times I imagine we could be the Scandinavia of the Asia-Pacific. But not while Murdoch runs the country.

Posted by: Patroklos | Oct 15 2020 22:07 utc | 118

Patroklos @120:

Nice post. Gives me a view of Aussie that I was previously obscure to. Scandinavia of Asia-Pacific has a nice ring to it, and is a good target to steer toward :o).

Posted by: Oriental Voice | Oct 15 2020 22:57 utc | 119

Patroklos #120
At times I despair, but at other times I imagine we could be the Scandinavia of the Asia-Pacific. But not while Murdoch runs the country.

Murdoch is not alone. The latest measure of USA management of Australian politics is the pentecostal PM and the rapid growth of idiot churches in the past few decades. These are based entirely on the US model of building a religious right under the guise of 'modern church development'. Certainly Murdoch and his brigands of propagandists assist, but it is the global finance capitalists and their nation entrapment strategies that direct the abject politics and policies in the bunya nut republic.

As much as I, and many ozies and usians and ukians detest Murdoch, he is merely the ugly face of the rapacious mob and it is wise to focus on the background and not identify the foreground as evidence.

The effective media penetration of the hatred for China and Russia in the bunya nut republic is distressing in its puerile idiocy and shallow racism. This demonstrates the the danger of developing an under-education system that steers clear of inculcating critical faculties in young minds. That is the place where change is needed - not the eradication of Murdoch.

There are better things on our planet and that is some relief.

karlof1 - #119

Thank you for that transcript of Lavrov at the media interview. The UN Charter is the best thing developed yet in the history of mankind and we should stick to it and push back at every scumbag that sets out to undermine it and our trust in it.

The destruction of or withdrawal from the UN and its Charter will likely be Trump's and/or Biden's next trick depending on which dog gets elected. First the antagonists will set up a ruse to stage a walkout and maybe it will be the current hoax of a Middle East Peace Agreement that leaves out the Palestinian people. Time will tell.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Oct 15 2020 23:07 utc | 120

uncle tungsten @122--

Thanks for your reply! As you've seen me write, the Outlaw US Empire de facto withdrew from the UN Charter on October 23, 1945, the day after in came into force when it began its continual violation of the Charter AND its own Constitution. For me, it's that latter act that's most telling about the controlling Parasites--They observe only the Law of the Gun. And once Russian and China finally realize that fundamental horror, they'll be able to react appropriately.

Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 15 2020 23:23 utc | 121

As a stand-in for james (hi james!) let me say that this is the best thread I've read on MoA in recent times. Juliania, Debs, karlof1, Patroklos, Bemildred, vk, laodan, William Gruff, many others. It's wonderful when you give us the best of your insights and knowledge without stirring up the mud. Thanks!

Posted by: jonku | Oct 16 2020 0:32 utc | 122

@ jonku... lol... no need to stand in for me!!

@ Keith McClary | Oct 15 2020 4:02 utc | 78... i agree with you... canucks situation is not pretty either way..

Posted by: james | Oct 16 2020 0:41 utc | 123

Put away your handkerchiefs, and stop shedding crocodile tears for the EU. Remember how the ECB brought Greece to it's knees by freezing it's liquidity? Working class people had to barter with their possessions to buy so much as a loaf of bread.

The EU would have done the same thing to the UK if it didn't have it's own currency.

It was a sad day when Germany was reunified.

Posted by: alpha | Oct 16 2020 23:28 utc | 124

I'm no fan of Biden, having preferred Bernie Sanders, but it's comforting to know that Robert Gates and John Bolton, neither of whom will vote Trump, do not like Biden's policies especially foreign and defense policy and refuse to vote for him either. I guess they'll abstain.

Biden should wear war hawks Gates' and Bolton's repudiation of him as a badge of honor.

Here's the thing, it's not about Biden, interventionist one day, and non-interventionist another. He's a one-termer, so I don't give a damn, 'cause THIS ELECTION IS ABOUT GETTING TRUMP THE HELL OUT OF OFFICE!

That's all, people, that's all it is -- so, quit griping, quit fretting and grow up!

Posted by: Circe | Oct 18 2020 1:08 utc | 125

Okay, I messed up, that was meant for the Biden thread.

Posted by: Circe | Oct 18 2020 1:10 utc | 126

"But it turns out that neither Australia nor Japan nor India have any interest in a hard stand towards China."

That was also a problem underlying the TPP. The others did not want an agreement of the sort the US hawks wanted, nor of the sort US economic reformers wanted.

They wanted their own sort of agreement, and they had on board the US neo-liberals who had created our offshoring economic trouble. They wanted to dig deeper the economic hole the US was in, without confronting China as the US dreamed.

The "gold standard" agreement failed in everything except enriching the donor elite who'd been the insiders writing the secret agreement, the only ones who even knew what was being considered to go in it.

Posted by: Mark Thomason | Oct 19 2020 19:16 utc | 127

Posted by: michael | Oct 15 2020 12:38 utc | 104

@vk | Oct 15 2020 10:57 utc | 100

So you believe scientism is no ideology, and cannot be messianic/utopian? (Or should I say still believe, as I also was much in line with that thinking the first 45 years of my life.)

The Chinese could (Of course) become messianic pushers of their ideology, but they are not at the present and I see no sign of their becoming such. I think the Western idea that it is the white man's burden to go out and civilize the rest of the world, to "having shattered it in bits, remake it nearer to the heart's desire", grows out of Christianity's desire to save everyone else's souls, (coupled to a great desire to exploit the other chap's resources, whilst at it, as well!)

Posted by: foolisholdman | Oct 23 2020 19:59 utc | 128

michael | Oct 15 2020 13:41 utc | 110

Do you agree that a lot of people these days take science to cover a much bigger area than that testable by the Scientific Method?

I would say that a lot of people, including a lot of allegedly educated people, many western statesmen and politicians among them, seem to have no understanding of what science is. E.g. Trump and BoJo.

Posted by: foolisholdman | Oct 23 2020 20:19 utc | 129

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