Published: 12:48, June 16, 2024 | Updated: 10:10, June 17, 2024
Walking into war with China: An American trap hidden in plain sight
By Mike Gilligan
In ths file photo dated April 20, 2015, The Australian (right) and New Zealand flags fly during the dedication of the Australia ANZAC memorial at Pukeahu National War Memorial Park in Wellington, New Zealand. (PHOTO / AFP)

There is no question that the path to war has been set against Russia and China. Nor is there doubt that the brunt will be borne by US allies, as the US has repeatedly proclaimed its “gratitude” to allies without which its geostrategy would be impossible. The question remaining is when war will require allies to shed blood.

Australia now finds itself in a war trap of American contrivance, with the complicity of every government since Gillard’s. Understanding how this came about requires a grasp of America’s geostrategic doctrine and nations’ various roles in it.

Former US Secretary of State Ziggy Brzezinski’s book of 1997 “The Grand Chessboard” is a rich and readable insight into America’s ruthless, analytical strategy for retaining and sustaining control of the world. Though over two decades old its messages are enduring. It renders the big confrontations of today with China and Russia entirely explicable and expected, as is the war predicament which Australia finds itself in. US strategy begins with accepting that control of the Eurasian continent, from Western Europe to eastern Russia and China, is the key to global dominance. Without control of Eurasia power must be shared, inevitably.

Since the disintegration of the Soviet Union in 1991 the United States has considered itself “the sole and, indeed, the first truly global power” through its emergence as “the key arbiter of Eurasian power relations. How America deals with the complex Eurasian power relationships--and particularly whether it prevents the emergence of a dominant and antagonistic Eurasian power--remains central to its capacity to exercise global primacy”.

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For America, geostrategy is akin to a game of chess. Eurasia, is “the center of the world and the chessboard on which the struggle for global supremacy continues to be played”. Nation states are the chess pieces. The objective is “to prevent collusion and maintain security dependence among the vassals (nation states), to keep tributaries pliant (includes Australia), and to keep the barbarians (Russia, China) from coming together”.

America has a method in playing this game. It classifies nation states according to their roles and importance to the outcome:

Geostrategic players have the capacity and national will to exercise power and influence beyond their borders to alter the existing state of affairs, sometimes in collusion but sometimes in conflict with America’s policies. To the Eurasian states so driven the United States must pay special attention--namely France, Germany, Russia, China and India.

Geostrategic pivots’ importance derives not from power but from their sensitive location either in defining access to key areas or denying resources to a player – Ukraine heads the list.

With that as its geostrategic DNA, US domination of eastern Europe (Russia) must now be reasserted. And China must be subjugated, having developed unacceptably in capacity and influence in Asia. These are non-negotiable imperatives for America. There is no question that the path to war has been set against Russia and China. Nor is there doubt that the brunt will be borne by allies, as the US has repeatedly proclaimed its “gratitude” to allies without which its geostrategy would be impossible. The question remaining is when war will require allies to shed blood. Never mind that they all signed up on the promise of American protection.

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What does it mean for Australia? Australia has been assumed by the US into its war on China, by exploiting our abased leaders. In turn, our leaders have engineered a war route over the last decade, hidden in plain sight from Australians. Let’s look at the basics.

Australia is hardly a “pivotal player” on the US chess board, barely rating a mention from Brzezinski. Our forces are stretched to even register on the military balance in the western Pacific. Our continent’s location is utterly inconvenient. Nevertheless, our governments have been pressured by America to attend its war. And our leaders will not act beyond domestic political prospects when it comes to security. Deception on security has been ingrained into Australian leaders DNA ever since Menzies misrepresented ANZUS as a US security guarantee. If this sounds overblown consider the maniacal manifestations of the AUKUS agreement, the text of which our governments refuse to release.

Australia has no treaty obligations in these wars. ANZUS requires us to consider and consult on assistance should American sovereignty be threatened. That is not the case here, in either the Ukraine or China wars.

Against China, the US aim is not invasion but to break it by rupturing supply, mainly through the China seas – from bases in Japan and Philippines and seized islands. A sea and air blockade of eastern China, its heartland. Australia’s military has been redesigned by Americans for this war against China, to be absorbed into US forces, with Japan. Even the army has been reshaped for amphibious landings contesting offshore islands alongside US marines. New amphibious vessels are in train.

Yet Australia’s impact on that campaign against China would be miniscule. Even if our role were somehow decisive, Australia would have to balk at the multiple uncertainties about the US itself – its political, economic and social dimensions, and the risk to Australia’s enduring place in our region.

None of this has been made clear to Australians. Misleading and half-truth language is trotted out methodically by our leaders. The public service is complicit. The Secretary of our Defence department recently told Parliament that Australia’s vast defence programs ($760 billion for the decade) are required for a “strategy of denial”. But went no further. In fact, the capability to “deny” China its legitimate supply lines by sea and air, with and for America, is what Australia’s defence strategy is about. But no parliamentarian asked.

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What to do? The consequences of Australia persisting with America’s war on China are potentially existential. By informing the US that Australia declines to continue a role in its strategy against China we will attract “special attention” in Brezinski’s words. Against this we have the experience of three decades of self – reliant and independent security achievements which again we can turn our resourcefulness to. That is well travelled ground. We can have confidence that this nation can stand by itself in all the dimensions of statecraft.

Australians must face the reality that neither of its two major political parties has been able to think and act critically in protecting Australia’s security, ever since the Obama overture here.

We must show our disdain at the ballot box for the years of political deception. Our vote has never been more existential.

Dr Mike Gilligan worked for 20 years in defence policy and evaluating military proposals for development, including time in the Pentagon on military balances in Asia.

The article is a republication from PEARLS & IRRITATIONS website at:

The views do not necessarily reflect those of China Daily.