Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
September 17, 2021

How Jake Sullivan Screwed Up U.S. Relations With France

After reporters in a news room have written up a story it goes to editors who check it, provide a headline and often also rewrite the opening paragraph(s). The piece then  gets published.

That process at times leads to headlines and/or opening paragraphs which contradict the rest of the story. This can happen because the editor is in a rush and has not had the time to really digest a story. At other times it happens because the editor lets his personal political leaning, or a special preference for an involved person, shine through.

This seems to be the case with a New York Times story about the U.S. induced Australian cancelling of a deal to buy French submarines.

The United States says it gave France only a few hours’ notice of defense deal that Paris called a ‘knife in the back.’
By Michael D. Shear and Roger Cohen

The United States acknowledged on Thursday that it only gave France a few hours’ notice of its deal to provide Australia with nuclear-powered submarines, a move that French officials have denounced as a major betrayal by one of its closest allies.

After the headline and the first paragraph any reader will assume that the U.S. indeed informed France a few hours before the deal became public.

That however is an outright lie as paragraph 11 and 12 of the very same piece provide:

Philippe Étienne, the French ambassador to the United States and the host of the party, said on Thursday that he learned about the deal from news reports, followed by a call from Jake Sullivan, the national security adviser to Mr. Biden.

A senior American official said that the Biden administration had made efforts to inform the French government about the president’s announcement earlier Wednesday morning, but had been unable to schedule the discussions with their French counterparts before the news reports appeared online.

The U.S. did not say "it gave France only a few hours’ notice". The U.S. did not acknowledge "on Thursday that it only gave France a few hours’ notice of its deal".

The U.S. did the opposite of what the headline and opening graph of the NYT story claim.

"A senior American official" acknowledged that the National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan screwed up and informed France only after Politico published the first report on the deal on Wednesday September 15 at 8:55 am.

Sullivan in fact cowardly avoided to tell France about the deal as a separate NYT piece by Roger Cohen provides:

France said it had not been consulted on the deal. “We heard about it yesterday,” Ms. Parly told RFI radio.

The Biden administration said it had not told French leaders beforehand, because it was clear that they would be unhappy with the deal.

The administration decided that it was up to Australia to choose whether to tell Paris, said a U.S. official who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to address the matter publicly.

Jake Sullivan screwed up. He was too coward to tell the French about the truck that would soon hit them. It was in fact likely he who 'leaked' the news to Politico before it was made official.

Lets remember that Sullivan's most recent big task - the coordination of the State and Defense Departments during the retreat from Afghanistan - also turned into a gigantic screw up.

France is deeply disappointed, not only about the deal itself, but about how it was handled. It will seek revenge for that betrayal.

Sullivan's involvement in the Australia deal has an interesting side note.

The Lowy Institute is ...

... at the centre of Australia’s foreign policy and national security debates. Every prime minister and foreign minister since 2003, when the Institute was founded, has spoken at the Lowy Institute. Our annual poll of Australian public opinion is cited around the world, our experts are sought out by the Australian media for commentary on breaking events, and our research – including our flagship Lowy Institute Papers, published by Penguin – helps set the national agenda.

As one of its 'experts' the Lowy Institute lists one Jake Sullivan as its "2017 Telstra Distinguished International Fellow".


Sullivan has only held one speech for the institute and wrote one lazy article for its website. One wonders how much he was paid for that 'fellow' gig. Whatever that was it made sure that some Australian insiders  have his number on speed dial.

The speech, held in June 2017, is to a large part about Trump's Asia policies. But it has significant bits about Sullivan's view on China and Australia:

Amidst this discussion of the U.S.-China relationship, let’s not forget that where China is headed at home remains a very real question mark.
And let’s also not forget the role of the rest of the region in responding to China’s rise. Do they essentially accommodate, or do they seek to work together, drawing in the United States to provide a durable counterweight?
I expect over time that our friends and partners in the region will become increasingly concerned about the possibility of a 19th-century-style sphere of influence in Asia, in which China slowly nudges the United States out and consolidates its power and influence in a way that will ultimately force regional countries to supplicate.
The erosion of our alliances would strike a brutal blow against American leadership in Asia. We should be doubling down on our alliances, making them more dynamic to face the threats and challenges of the 21st century.
Now, I should emphasize that this question of the future of a values-based community in Asia, doesn’t turn on U.S. policy alone. It also turns on whether our allies — our partners who share values of openness, democracy, and human rights — countries like Australia and Japan and Korea — step up and lead in defence of these values. I hope we will see more of that in the period ahead.
America has a remarkable capacity for reinvention and self-correction. There is still a strong foundation of support, in both political parties, for an active, engaged, dynamic role in the Asia-Pacific. And, I believe, there is still a strong demand signal in the region.

We’ve been in tight spots before. And we’ve come out the other side stronger and more dynamic. I believe that we will do so again.

And when we do, I know that we can continue to count on a vibrant alliance with Australia, working with confidence and common purpose toward a shared future.

The now announced increased deployments of U.S. military assets to Australia fits right into Sullivan's plans.

Australia will pay for the 'privilege' of thereby becoming a Chinese missile target by buying overpriced U.S. weapons.

That is how the world, from the view of U.S. empire minions like Sullivan, is supposed to be.

Posted by b on September 17, 2021 at 18:04 UTC | Permalink

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Posted by: MagdaTam | Sep 19 2021 12:56 utc | 210

While VK's claptrap evoke amusement, you turgid and squalid bombast , the constant incoherent and irrelevant trash, the farrago on nonsense, evoke contempt, residing on the fringes on lunacy may be exciting, endeavouring to convince your self that you are prey to secret suffering, due to an esoteric intellectual bent, is either sign of prodigious pride or pure implacability, so better leave VK, alone she is an attraction on this blog!

Posted by: Grishka | Sep 19 2021 13:19 utc | 201

France have their own intelligence services. They knew this AUKUS deal was happening.

That's why Macron would not accept a call from the Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison when he called up to cancel the Future Submarines contract.

As an Australian, I am still utterly gobsmacked by the servile, obsequious, sycophantic attitudes by my 'democratic' government towards our US uber-miesters.

Sco-mo is just another puppet, sucking at the teat, wanting to look like some-one more important than he really is. Like when John Howard shut down the Sydney Harbour Bridge for a couple of hours just so he show could his good mate (boss) George W. Bush what a lovely megopolis Sydney is. Had to back down hurriedly when he declared himself the 'Sheriff for the US', that didn't go down very well in Australia.

Binkov has it figured out. He/she says it's a sea change in western politics.

The US, as always, is shafting their traditional NATO partners for their own domestic and geo-political purposes.

Unlikely to succeed. Self-declaring enemies for subjective reasons only earns your own fails.

Posted by: Ant. | Sep 19 2021 13:23 utc | 202

Tom Pfotzer 213

Opinions of individuals are quite meaningless and no threat to any powers that be. Organized movements though can grow into a threat and are quickly destroyed.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Sep 19 2021 13:35 utc | 203

@ Posted by: ak74 | Sep 19 2021 5:31 utc | 183

The Americans are devious as they are cowardly.

Just as America hopes to hide behind the skirts of the Ukrainians, Poland, the Baltics, or other Europeans to wage a new Cold War against Russia, so too does America hope to behind the skirts of the Australians, Japanese, Indians, or Taiwan to wage a new Cold War against China.

Americans are not cowardly.

Ukrainians, Polish, Baltics, Europeans, Australians, Japanese, Indians, Taiwanese etc. are Americans. They're not American citizens, but they are American, they're subjects of the American Empire. So, the USA is using Americans - it's just a matter of fact that they're using second-class Americans first.

Many commenters here are European and Australian, so you tell the post-Soviet era from this point of view, i.e. that of a unified, peaceful liberal field, where absolute freedom of enterprise reigns, without ideologies. But that's not how the USA sees the world: they rightfully see the post-Soviet world as their world, because they won the Cold War, therefore the spoils are all theirs.

Just see the easiness with which even the biggest corporations from Western Europe and Japan are clamped down by the USA in favor of the American biggest corporations and you'll quickly realize there's a very concrete ceiling they can reach.

Just read and hear what the American generals, specially in the NATO context, and you'll quickly realize the USA sees the world as the frontiers of its Empire. They talk about logistics and coordination as if Western Europe, Japan, Australia etc. are provinces, not allies. Colonialism doesn't have just one specific form: it can take many shapes.

Posted by: vk | Sep 19 2021 13:49 utc | 204

Tom Pfotzer @Sep19 13:19 #212:

Is fear, indeed, the major obstruction ... [?]

Yes, of course it is.

Anyone that has something to lose has something to fear from pissing off the Empire asshats.

Empire asshats also seek to compromise anyone that could mount a challenge to them (Epstein candy, go-along-to-get-along corruption, etc.)

So why would the Empire tolerate inspection and commentary by the little people?

Because the Empire doesn't fear them. The Empire manages them with propaganda and economic incentives.

The war on the middle-class has been creating a two-tier society and the vast majority of the upper tier is implicitly pro-Empire. They have done well and want their 'perks' to continue.

Those 'little people' are increasing poor and under-educated. Powerless. While at the same time faux populist political leaders pretend to speak for them as a means of divide-and-conquer.

I am going to need a better understanding of how, truly, this system works.

That's not something that the bar can really provide you with. You need to read a lot on your own and develop a sense for what is bullshit and what is true.

MOA archives are a good resource because the conversations here over the years provides a good basis for understanding and many pointers to important info.


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Sep 19 2021 13:52 utc | 205

vk 128

US dividing the world up into military commands I think is a pretty good example.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Sep 19 2021 14:00 utc | 206

Andrei Martynov has his typically own opinion on this AUKUS stuff.

Posted by: Ant. | Sep 19 2021 14:07 utc | 207

Even letting the job to British shipyard is tightening the rope.

Posted by: Françoise | Sep 19 2021 13:32 utc | 216

I doubt if it's really intended to do France down, though that's an important and intended side effect. It's more about America - having America's wars paid for by others, but retaining control. Australia is as much the victim as France. Britain not so much, because an irrelevant hanger-on, just there to give legitimation.

Posted by: Laguerre | Sep 19 2021 14:07 utc | 208

I don't know where the 128 came from but my post at 212 was in reference to vk's @210

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Sep 19 2021 14:12 utc | 209

Scott Morrison is now questioning the very quality of the French submarines in his defense of abandoning the project:

Australia Had 'Grave' Concerns Over French Submarine Capability, Prime Minister Says

It will be tough for France to counter this arguments, as it is a liberal mantra the customer is always right.

Posted by: vk | Sep 19 2021 14:20 utc | 210

Possibly a link mentioned before.

France not happy.

Posted by: Ant. | Sep 19 2021 14:37 utc | 211

It will be tough for France to counter this arguments, as it is a liberal mantra the customer is always right.

Posted by: vk | Sep 19 2021 14:20 utc | 210

I doubt it. That he would slag off the French project he had just reneged on is perfectly to be expected, and everyone would take his remarks that way.

Posted by: Laguerre | Sep 19 2021 14:55 utc | 212

@219 JackRabbit

Thx. Playing back what I heard:

Fear is the major obstacle to understanding Empire
Empire doesn't care about individual action - no threat
Understanding Empire requires individual research and triangulation/sifting of inputs

Let me know if I didn't summarize that correctly.


If I did, here's my assessment, so far:

a. As I am no threat to the Empire, and have no aspirations of forming any organizational contest to the Empire, I am a non-entity to that Empire

b. That Empire has issues that need resolving. Just to touch on one or 2:

b.1: Waging war on middle class. I am not in agreement with the assertion that "empire is waging war on middle class". I would characterize it as "economic forces, present in all societies - Empire or otherwise - are systematically eviscerating the middle class". Exceptions -for the moment - are in Asia, since they have so much new turf to assimilate. Same forces operate there, will impact them greatly in due course. They are just a few short decades behind us.

b.2: Empire faces the same environmental and biosphere challenges we all do. When the biosphere fails, they fail with it

I feel - at the moment - that fear of what's in the closet is constraining inspection / understanding, and therefore action.

If indeed Empire exists, and has definite, well-executed goals, and those goals are antithetical to that of little people like me, the sooner I ferret that out the sooner I can formulate viable policy, e.g. shut up and live out the rest of my life in relative quiet and comfort. I'm old, so that seems like a possible alternative for me.

On the other hand - this is case "B" - if Empire simply consists of average people (motivation, awareness, capacity) who happen to be rich and powerful, and who face the same major problems I do, and are simply over-run by the natural limitations of being human and the scale of the problems we all face (the likely case, from my point of view), I'm in a different boat altogether.

If it's case B, then I'm well-advised to continue to formulate bottom-up econ and enviro policy @ household level, and implement it with no concern for how Empire would perceive it. That's the track I'm on now, and my interest in Empire is mainly to plot situational trajectory (how soon, how bad, and what part of the cars hits the guard-rails) and whether nor not somebody is going to get pissed if I help the next generation (young "little people") avoid some of the pain.

And that is the reason I wonder about Empire. Is the chaotic spiral/devolvement deliberate, or is it an artifact of systemic incompetence (capacity .vs. scale-and-qty of problems). Remember, I said "systemic" - including all layers, not confined to Empire. I currently believe that the "little people" are every bit as screwed up as the putative "Empire" operators.

To add one more aspect to this. I've done considerable reading on the nature of social groups, cultural anthropology, etc. I understand why social groups behave the way they do. I understand that, and why, hierarchical groups, gangs, ethnocentrism, religions, myths, culture emerge and evolve the way they do.

Because of that reading, it's not Empire I fear the most, although I certainly do fear them/it at the moment.

It's the architecture of the human mind, and its slow adaptation rate that I fear the most. I'm pretty sure Empire - if indeed it's actually a coherent group - understands this pretty well.

The bug-out camps/fortifications that are being built by the ultra-rich attest to this. They understand. At some point, they may become desperate enough to start asking questions like "how else could we approach this situation?".

Posted by: Tom Pfotzer | Sep 19 2021 14:58 utc | 213

Posted by: vk | Sep 19 2021 14:20 utc | 210

To counter that argument France should build those submarines or better ones for the new European Union Armed Forces, end of the story, of course NATO would be invited to move out since military budgets are for the new army, not for occupation ransom.

Posted by: Paco | Sep 19 2021 15:11 utc | 214

Unelected officials. One of many who behind the scenes influence Presidents and Congress alike.

Posted by: Jose Garcia | Sep 19 2021 15:35 utc | 215

I had not run onto this article at the oz official propaganda site, but it includes the aspects behind the sub facade.

That will see the partners cooperate when it come to overall military disposition, strength and condition of readiness of their forces.

As a result of the pact, more US warplanes of all types, including bombers, will come to Australia, along with a larger presence of maintenance crews and military logistics personnel.

While America's top diplomats denied any quid pro quo, the treaty will see a far greater presence of American troops on Australian soil, as Defence Minister Peter Dutton acknowledged.

"I do have an aspiration to make sure we can increase the number of troops through the rotations, the air capability will be enhanced, a maritime capability enhanced and certainly the force posture enhanced", Mr Dutton said.

"If that includes basing, and includes storage of different ordnances, I think that is in Australia's best interests."

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Sep 19 2021 15:44 utc | 216

A quick look at this graph will tell you what France could do to punish Australia for the broken submarine deal - if France really wanted to.

Australia is the 3rd largest producer of uranium. But since they've never been a nuclear nation (neither nuclear weapons nor nuclear power plants), Australia doesn't operate any enrichment facilities. However, they do need some enriched uranium for their OPAL research reactor. This amount of enriched uranium is imported - with France as the only supplier. Interesting situation!

Posted by: Scotch Bingeington | Sep 19 2021 16:15 utc | 217

Tom Pfotzer @Sep19 14:58 #213: Playing back what I heard:

Your playback is faulty.

Fear is the major obstacle to understanding Empire

I didn't say that. Fear is an obstacle to acting, not understanding.

Guilt/self-interest is an obstacle to understanding though, as in the saying: “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.”

Empire doesn't care about individual action - no threat

I didn't say that. I said they manage the "little people".

Clearly, individuals like Assange and Snowden have been deemed threats.

Understanding Empire requires individual research and triangulation/sifting of inputs

"Sifting inputs" strikes me as a downplaying of the propaganda, psyops, revisionism, blame-shifting (mostly blaming the victim), etc. There are moa readers that express joy at finding moa as an oasis in a desert of mental illness.

There are plenty of people who will gladly tell you what they think the Empire is and how it operates. People like propagandists, media pundits, pandering politicians, etc.

IMO one needs to have some understanding of history to discern truth from half-truths.


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Sep 19 2021 16:57 utc | 218

I remember the time when Australians were the ultimate anti imperialists.. well at least their rock bands

Posted by: Nick | Sep 19 2021 17:57 utc | 219

@217 Scotch Bingeington

What dou you mean? IMO If the French escalate the situation that will favor the US as the new supplier

Posted by: Nick | Sep 19 2021 18:21 utc | 220

@ vk | Sep 19 2021 13:49 utc | 204

I suppose that is one way to put it.

The American Fourth Reich claims all inhabitants of this planet as its subjects--whether they agree to it or not.

The Project for a New American Century tolerates no resistance.

America Uber Alles.

Posted by: ak74 | Sep 19 2021 18:54 utc | 221

Nick | 220

I admit there's a risk of that happening. And maybe the French want to avoid that under any circumstance. I don't know.
But I get the impression that Australia is heading towards domestic enrichment anyhow - without French participation, but with support and knowhow from US companies. They sit on a mountain of uranium but what's even more indicative, they've recently invented a new technology for uranium enrichment.
So if France were to break the supply chain, Australia would sure be able to find a replacement in the mid-term. But in the short-term, it could harm Australia quite substantially, in the field of nuclear medicine as well as in research. The US produces a lot of enriched uranium, for obvious reasons. But for the same reasons, it also uses up a lot. So much so that it buys lots of enriched uranium from Russia, of all countries, year after year, and hardly exports any to other countries. The US may not be able to make replacement deliveries on the spot if France were to play hardball with Australia. Just saying.

Posted by: Scotch Bingeington | Sep 19 2021 21:11 utc | 222

Talking about Sullivan screwing up US relations with France, I watched Planet America on Friday to see what the PA crew made of the US-instigated repudiation, by Oz, of the French submarine contract. Their guest interviewee was Leon Panetta, deranged warmonger and ex-DefSec for Obama, ex-CIA Director & Clinton Admin Chief Of Staff, who had plenty to say about the China Threat and AmeriKKKa's plan to bully its SE Asian vassals into provoking China. The co-hosts of Planet America are John Barron and Charles Licciadello. The interview ran for ~9 minutes.
Full Transcript.

John B: "Mr Secretary, welcome to planet America!"

L Panetta: "Good to be with you."

John B: "So why do you think this announcement about AUKUS began with a big announcement about Australia acquiring Nuclear-powered submarines rather than just an announcement of a memorandum of understanding or a summit to be held some day?"

L Panetta: "Well I think it was important to show that there was some substance to the security partnership that was being announced and ah, there's no question that uh, building on the bond between the U.S. and Australia and improving our way of addressing strategic interests ah, also trying to make sure that we abide by international rules. But more importantly, that we work together to promote peace and stability ah, in that region. I think all of that sends a very important message ah, to China and to others, that we're gonna do everything necessary, not only to protect our interests but to advance our goals in that region. And the best way to do that is obviously by helping Australia develop that capability so that they too can participate in providing the kind of security that all of us are interested in doing in that region."

John B: "And Mr Secretary what else do you expect to come from AUKUS and does it, do you think, represent any kind of a shift in American Foreign Policy?"

L Panetta: "I think it sends a very important message to China. That the U.S. is in fact going to rely on our allies in addressing the issues that we're concerned about when it comes to the Pacific. And there's one thing that China does not like, and has a hard time doing, frankly, is working with allies. And I've always felt, when I was involved in that region, that the more we could stress alliances with Australia, with south Korea, with Japan, with other countries in the S E Asia region, that those alliances, if they bind together not only with regards to security but with regards to trade and other interests in that region, that is the most important step we can take, in saying to China "If you don't abide by international rules, it isn't just the U.S., it is the region that will respond against you.""

Chas L: "But how do you expect China to react to this deal?"

L Panetta: "I think China is not gonna like it. Uh they're not gonna like, obviously, the fact that we're providing the potential of Australia having Nuclear-powered submarines in the region. I'm sure that particularly is going to aggravate them. But I also think that indicating that we have a new security relationship between the United Kingdom, Australia and the U.S. again, is going to provide additional aggravation for them uh, in that region. You know, for the last few years they've pretty much had their way, in the Pacific. Uh they generally, uh did not feel that the U.S. was going to try and exert any kind of leadership when it came to our allies. And they were right. During the Trump Admin the basic approach was America First and largely abandoning a lot of our alliances. I think the Biden Admin recognises that if we are to provide World Leadership we absolutely have to do this by working with our allies. And this kind of security partnership that was announced is a reflection of that kind of alliance."

Chas L: "Now a few Nuclear submarines wouldn't make a massive difference in a conflict with China, I would have thought. But could this actually exacerbate tensions with China?

L Panetta: "You know, I can remember when the U.S. was talking about rebalancing to the Pacific. I went to China and sat down with President Xi. And the first thing he objected to was that we were going to rebalance our forces to the Pacific. And my response to him was "Look, the U.S. is a Pacific power. We have interests in the Pacific just as you have interests in the Pacific. And we have, we have issues, frankly, that we can work together on, whether it's trade, whether it's security and other areas, our goal should be to advance the peace and the prosperity of the region together. And if we can do that then we'll all move in the same direction. But don't assume that just because China is a country on the Pacific that somehow it can control the Pacific. It can't. We are all partners in dealing with issues in the pacific region and we should be."
So I think President Xi recognised that argument and I think China will recognise that argument as well, whether it comes from Australia, the U.S. or the United Kingdom."

John B: "And Leon Panetta, what is your expectation? Do you think the U.S. will be encouraging, or indeed pressuring, more allies like Australia to upgrade their mililitary capabilities now?"

L Panetta: "I think that's an important step to take. I really do. I thought it was important for the ASEAN countries to basically come together with regards to our security in order to make sure that we were protecting...our common interest. And rather than just being, you know, a group of nations that, you know, talk about different issues, when you build a security alliance when you build up the security capabilities of those countries, that represents real strength in terms of dealing with China or anybody else for that matter. So I really do think that as long as these countries are developing their security capabilities, as long as they're developing the approach that they need to protect their National Security, I think we can really build a very strong alliance in the Pacific that makes clear that all of us are going to abide by International Rules and we expect China to abide by those rules as well."

Chas L: "OK. Why do you think that Australia and America have grown so close over the last few decades? It seems like Australia has leap-frogged a number of alliances that America had to almost have most-favoured nation status now, along with probably the UK. Why do you think that is?"

L Panetta: "Well I'm glad to see that because I've always had a very special place in my heart for Australia. I think Australia is a great ally. We Share very common interests. We believe in the same values that uh, that are important to Democracy. And I think that our ability to be able to develop a closer relationship with Australia, particularly in the Pacific region, means that we can provide the kind of security, protect our strategic interests, advance our trade interests, advance our economies, by working closely together. I think this provides a great deal of hope; not only for the interests of the U.S. and Australia but very frankly for the interests of peace and prosperity in the Pacific region. And that's what we should all be interested in doing."

John B: "Secretary Panetta, let me put you on the spot with a big picture question. Is it your anticipation that U.S. will go to war with China at some point in this Cemtury?"

L Panetta: "You know, I get asked that question quite a bit these days. And my view is that China is not interested in a war and neither is the U.S. or anyone else for that matter... interested in a conflict in that region. But to avoid a conflict means that we are going to have to work together, we're going to have to continue to have dialogue, and we're going to have to continue to build up our security in that region in order to send a signal that no country is going to be able to implement its will, militarily, without facing a combined force of all the countries in S E Asia, including Australia, Japan, South Korea and the U.S. That's a very important message to send China at this point in time.

John B: "Secretary Leon Panetta, thank you very much for being on Planet America."
Comment: it's cute the way Panetta uses "our" and "we". No matter how inclusive and cuddly the meaning might be at the beginning of a statement, it's usually exclusive and abrasive by the end.

This self-righteous psychopathy reflects the time-worn formula by which AmeriKKKa de-humanises entire swathes of humanity in nations it wants to destroy by delegitimising sympathy and support for the inhabitants therein.
Describing racist-supremacist AmeriKKKa as the Great Satan is too kind by several orders of magnitude.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Sep 19 2021 22:35 utc | 223


High purity specimens of slime.

"But don't assume that just because China is a country on the Pacific that somehow it can control the Pacific. It can't. We are all partners in dealing with issues in the pacific region and we should be.""

Around the time that 'Great Walls of sand' was the current headlines, one of the admirals or one of those specimens they call diplomats stated US intends to retain primacy in the Asia Pacific. I had it bookmarked for awhile but cannot find it now

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Sep 19 2021 23:13 utc | 224

Rhetoric requires to put forth assertions and economize on explanations, particularly when brevity is necessary. But sometimes it leads to a string of assertions that are totally unsubstantiated. For example [quote without contex]

Empire understands the risks of group-think. These are not dumb people. They understand the value of outsiders <-- Posted by: Tom Pfotzer | Sep 19 2021 13:19 utc

There! Three assertions, none of them substantiated. The veracity is obscured by noun "Empire", in this concept a Platonic object that is more real than its reflection in folks and hardware that collectively can be dubbed "Empire". Whatever "thinking" we can observe is largely conducted by groups in think tanks, epitome of group thinking. In that milieu, hiding intelligence (or common sense) is very important, jobs, speaking fees etc. are at stake! Finally, outsiders are VERY important because orthodoxy of group-think can be exhibited only with sufficient denigration of the outsiders who either do not know any better, or are outright enemies.


I must stress that I do not think that Imperials are congenitally mentally impaired or suffering from Fetal Alcoholic Spectrum Disorders etc. Some are, some do not. But the degree of EXHIBITED intelligence is highly variable if you consider various topics.

On things military or coordination of alliances, you better stick to group think, however idiotic, if you want to advance or maintain your position. In words of a poet:

I grew so rich that I was sent
By a pocket borough into Parliament. <-- today, selected by "political machine"
I always voted at my party's call,
And I never thought of thinking for myself at all.
I thought so little, they rewarded me
By making me the Ruler of the Queen's Navee! <-- poetic for The First
Lord of Admiralty, Secretary of the Navy etc.

Close to the main topic here, procurement of submarines by Australian Navy was moronic before the French deal was ditched and remains so. The priority was to assure that the specs have to be uniquely Australian, which blows up the costs, with no particular reason why the boats have to be a bit shorter than the Japanese ones or a bit longer than the Swedish etc, or why they insists on diesel propulsion when ordering from the French who had to re-design boats with nuclear propulsion, only to go for nuclear stuff from someone else etc. Uniquely Australian design proves national pride and depth of thinking (or is it sinking?). Such details of "grand strategies" have hallmarks of monkeys hammering on keyboards.

Quite differently. economic sabotage seems to be organized by people who are competent, strategic and efficient. For example, China imports enormous quantity of iron ore, in large part from Australia. They cannot really ditch Australia, because together with Brazil, this is more than half of world exports. So Chinese slapped some sanctions on some Australian products, to the detriment of patriotic Australian farmers who can be proud that they sacrifice for the country (unlike less emotional mining conglomerates), but not on strategic commodities like iron ore. That does not mean that they plan to do nothing.

Earlier I read that a humungous contract with Guinea is close to completion, resulting in Chinese investment in a gigantic complex of iron ore mines, ca. 100 million tons per year production and a railroad of few hundred klicks to transport the ore. VERY RECENTLY there was a military coup in Guinea that probably will delay the project, and with luck, nix it. Some observers conjecture that supplies of bauxite to Russia may also be affected, and if not, Rusal may loose a major investment. We will see.

IMHO, this turn of events is vexing to the Chinese, many times more than "signals" that Panetta was blathering about. <-- Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Sep 19 2021 22:35 utc

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Sep 20 2021 2:32 utc | 225

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