If the growing US-China rivalry leads to ‘the worst war ever’, what should AU do

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If the growing US-China rivalry leads to ‘the worst war ever’, what should Australia do?

Should Australia join the United States in a war against China to prevent China taking the US' place as the dominant power in East Asia? Until a few years ago the question would have seemed merely hypothetical, but not anymore.

Senior figures in the Morrison government quite explicitly acknowledged that the escalating strategic rivalry between the US and China could lead to war, and their Labor successors do not seem to disagree. That is surely correct. Neither Washington nor Beijing want war but both seem willing to accept it rather than abandon their primary objectives.

There can be no doubt that if war comes, Washington would expect Australia to fight alongside it. Many in Canberra take it for granted that we would do so, and defence policy has shifted accordingly. Our armed forces are now being designed primarily to contribute to US-led operations in a major maritime war with China in the Western Pacific, with the aim of helping the United States to deter China from challenging the US, or helping to defeat it if deterrence fails.

In fact, the risk of war is probably higher than the government realises, because China is harder to deter than they understand....
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I wonder if it will be a matter of "join".

The suggestion that...

Excerpted from: ‘Disaster just around the corner’: Australia must not misread China’s deadly strategy

When it launches its attack, China will feel that it has given the West fair warning. It has for many years protested surveillance activities by aircraft and ships in waters close to its coast. Those protests have grown increasingly belligerent. The action against Australian and Canadian aircraft and declaring sovereignty over the Taiwan Strait further signal China’s serious escalation. More is to come.

This is bad news for Australia, because China will not de-escalate. Rather, even more severe action can be expected if the flights continue.

China is a sophisticated power and strategist. When it launches a lethal attack, several parameters will be evident. First, China will attack an ally of the US, not the US itself. That will delay and complicate the US response because the US itself is not under attack. The second is that China’s attack will be at a time and place that disadvantages the West – US carriers not in theatre; some other major distraction for the US. Third, China’s post-attack phase will already be in place. It will have its narrative ready to go, accusing the other country of some gross threat or violation. It will incite the Chinese people and muddy the international view of what actually took place. China will call for calm and dialogue, but will be uncompromising in asserting its rights over the area the incident took place.


Seems pretty compelling. And Australia seems like a fairly well-warned target. Market dis-integration has been going on for a couple of years. Not that many Australians in China to worry about. Not right next door to the Americas. AUKUS won't yield actual subs for years. Etc and so on. Knocking down a Japanese or Korean plane presumably is ill-advised because lots of other planes would be in the air very quickly. As for Canadians? Bigger market than Oz, right?

So, "join"?

Maybe just be Prince Ferdinand.
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Let's hope the US gets someone more rational in the White House by 2025.  Cutting back on the provocations near China and its territories and reducing weapons sales to TW would go a long way towards de-escalating the situation.

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"It will have its narrative ready to go, accusing the other country of some gross threat or violation. It will incite the Chinese people and muddy the international view of what actually took place. China will call for calm and dialogue, but will be uncompromising in asserting its rights over the area the incident took place."


Thank you for your service
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let's hope we get a little more sanity in a lot of places before 2025.

from The Devil's Dictionary: To ask for something with an earnestness proportioned to the belief that it will not be given.

SLEEPWALK TO WAR
Australia’s Unthinking Alliance with America

Competing with China for primacy in East Asia is by far the most serious strategic commitment America has undertaken since the Cold War. And yet Washington has launched into it with no clear idea of what would count as winning, how it could be won, how much it will cost and why winning really matters. This would seem almost unbelievably foolish and irresponsible if it did not sound so familiar. This is what happened when Washington launched America into Afghanistan and Iraq in the 2000s, and indeed into Vietnam in the 1960s....


Then, commenting on the above:

Opinion: As China hawks fly, we need heretics

...The release of White’s essay, titled “Sleepwalk to War”, is well-timed as it coincides with the arrival of a new federal Labor government and tentative signs of a thaw in hostilities between China and Australia. Foreign Minister Penny Wong was set to meet her Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi, in Bali on Friday, the first such meeting since 2019.

White’s central contention is that Australia risks stumbling into a disastrous war with China by overestimating American power and its commitment to the Asia-Pacific. “I think historians will judge both our political and bureaucratic communities harshly for that,” he tells me....


[...]

Twelve years on [from his first Quarterly Essay, “Power Shift”], White thinks his idea of a power-sharing arrangement in Asia is no longer feasible. China has become too strong and the US too weak. The most likely outcome in coming decades, White argues, is that “the US-led era in our region will give way to an Asia divided between two regional hegemonies ... India will dominate South Asia and the Indian Ocean, and China will dominate East Asia and the Asia Pacific.”...
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Sadly, the US needs conflict for multiple reasons and doesn't care about limiting casualties for any side other than the US (which wasn't the case until bodies of dead American soldiers showing up on the nightly news started making Americans ask why America was throwing away teenagers with no real goal in mind).

Without wars and threats of wars, the US has little ability to distract from domestic issues.  Sometimes, other things do distract the public, but wars and threats of war are easier for the government to arrange and control the length of than another Johnny Depp-Amber Heard trial.

Although more and more countries are catching on, the traditional "Support the US view of any situation or you're against truth, justice, democracy, motherhood, apple pie, the Ameri.. the International Rule of Law (as written by America, but sometimes not even ratified by the USA and ignored at convenience) and are in league with the obviously lawless and very naughty opponent we selected and may find yourself in need of some freedom bombs and a new government."

This has gotten SO old that even Mexico is staying neutral regarding the US proxy war in the Ukraine.

Then there what Eisenhower warned about.  The US Military-Industrial complex doesn't make obscene profits if demand for their products falls.  So, first, arrange a proxy war in the Ukraine.  Convince more and more NATO countries to sell or donate their old equipment and ammo to the Ukrainians, but keep a firm grip on how fast this happens.  If all of NATO didn't send anything, Ukraine would be 90% conquered by now.  On the other hand, if all of NATO sent all their old toys at the same time, Russia would likely have decided that it had no choice but to wrap things up early.  Instead, the US wants to drag it out as long as possible, both to get rid of as much old equipment and ammo as possible plus to be able to field test some newer items against Russia.  The US is heading into a recession, but stocks of the big defense (aka war) manufacturers are doing quite well and the orders for replacement items have only begun getting approved.  Wait and see what happens to those when the next fiscal year's military budget is approved.

But, wars the US finds convenient can't be counted in to last forever.  In Vietnam, the American public turned against the war.  The lack of a functional goal in Iraq and Afghanistan didn't exactly make those major rallying points once each initial invasion was complete.  Since Trump needed a large enemy and found China to be more convenient than Russia (or maybe the rumors of Russia having some items to embarrass Trump is true), he flipped from liking China to hating it.  Then he painted Biden as being pro-China, which put the democrats in the position of having to outdo the republicans on being anti-China.  Neither Trump nor Biden care about any group inside of China or about HK or TW, except as ways to try to stir up anti-Chinese hatred.  Now the US if falling over itself to be nice to Pacific island countries it previously abused or ignored for fear that Chinese aid might help those countries more than the US ever did and that the Chinese military might end up having a few places to dock some navy ships.

Unfortunately, the US has a bad habit of dragging in allies and leaving them holding the bag.  Ask those the US supported in Syria how well things went when the US decided to disengage.  Ask those in Afghanistan who helped Americans and barely escaped with their lives when the US decided to bail in the middle of the night.

If there's a war of the US vs China, the US will happily support it with the blood of as many Japanese and Australian soldiers as it takes.  If launching attacks from those countries invites counterstrikes, the US will make deeply moving speeches about the heroism of dead Australian and Japanese soldiers.  Every family of those non-America soldiers will be sent massive amounts of thoughts and prayers and maybe even a medal (if the US Military can find a place to get new medals designed and manufactured while blocking all (???) trade between the US and China).

Or, Japan and Australia will notice that many NATO countries (including the US) keep finding convenient exceptions and exemptions from all the sanctions placed on Russia so they can buy what they need while pressuring other countries to boycott and sanction as much as possible.  The US and NATO get a lot more things they need from China than they do from Russia.  Being expendable cannon-fodder for the US to try to "contain" China isn't in anyone's best interests, except maybe the US - solely because they can't handle the concept of being anything short of #1 in all categories.

Imagine instead, the US cuts it's military budget by 20%, allowing China and most other nations to do the same.  There's still more than enough military protect the US, Australia, Japan, China, etc.,  and no need to rattle sabres in each other's faces.  Imagine what good each country could do with that much cash.  Maybe the US could try to shock the world by balancing its budget again.
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Whatever happened to the South China Sea ruling?

Five years ago on this day, an international tribunal in a landmark ruling dismissed Beijing’s claim to much of the South China Sea. The Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague said on 12 July 2016 that there was no evidence that China had exercised exclusive control historically over the key waterway....
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Rogue state
Emboldened by size and technology
Is unwilling or unable to play constructive role in the world
Seeks legitimacy.
Call 1800-BLAMENATO
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War over Taiwan among five likely conflict scenarios with PLA, US think tank says

A bid to forcibly unify Taiwan, or escalations in the South China or East China seas, among scenarios seen as likely to trigger a major war
Analyst in Beijing calls reading ‘simplistic’, while fellow observer says report could inspire the building of guard rails to avoid such conflict



War with China: Five Scenarios
Stacie L. Pettyjohn

Abstract
The US military rightly focuses on a Taiwan-invasion scenario for force planning, but to understand the odds of Sino-American war a range of scenarios must be examined. Consideration of five scenarios suggests that none of the wars that China might intentionally start are very attractive from Beijing’s perspective, providing the United States and its allies with time to strengthen deterrence. The greatest risk of a Sino-American conflict in the near term is inadvertent or accidental escalation caused by misperception or miscalculation. As the United States takes steps to bolster deterrence and reduce the risks of deliberate war, it must simultaneously put in place crisis-management mechanisms to prevent inadvertent or accidental escalation.



Fears grow of possible miscalculation involving Australian military in contested South China Sea

Concerns are growing that a serious incident could soon occur between the Australian Defence Force and the Chinese military as strategic tensions grow in the Indo-Pacific.

The ABC has revealed HMAS Parramatta was recently closely tracked and challenged by the Chinese military while transiting through the contested waters of the South China Sea and East China Sea.

As details emerged of Australia's latest interaction with the People's Liberation Army (PLA), a US warship conducted a freedom-of-navigation operation (FONOP) in the South China Sea on Wednesday by sailing within the 12-nautical-mile boundary imposed by Beijing on the Paracel Islands.

Australia is yet to conduct a US-style FONOP to challenge Chinese claimed territory and features in the South China Sea, but military observers believe the tempo of ADF activity in the region is high....
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You know, I wonder...

I forget where I read it, but there was some American analyst who said, sort of as an offhand comment in an article, that Chinese don't have the concept of an accidental war. Presumably they meant something like war is human nature blinded and the sage is not provoked. There is however use of force because sometimes correction is required. If human nature has strayed too far from the path of balance - presently a trajectory of east rising, west declining - then, kapow.

So I wonder... what if it's China that fucks up but it's not China that pulls the trigger. What if Chinese corrective measures, such as for example being a dick with a military aircraft or fucking around with boats, produces a legitimate aggressive response and personnel end up dead.


Say, for example, Oz starts using unmanned drones for surveillance instead of manned vehicles, and China gets in the habit of shooting them down, and then some manned aircraft in the area find a Chinese jet on their tail, but there's a second aircraft yadda yadda bang.



Perhaps just the cost of greyzone warfare
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Since Almighty Merica itself didn't bother to ratify UNCLOS, it has no standing to object to another nation disputing a ruling.

Speaking of failed legitimacy of an over-emboldened rogue state that refuses act within international law, the US didn't join the International Criminal Court and even passed the "Hague Invasion Act" which allows it to use military force to retrieve US or allied personnel who find themselves facing international war crimes trials.

Not only does this make the US and allies (including hired mercenaries) safe from ICC scrutiny, it also prohibits federal, state and local governments and agencies (including courts and law enforcement agencies) from assisting the International Criminal Court (ICC) and prohibits extradition of any person in the US to the ICC.

Need forgiveness for crimes against humanity?  Visit USAMilitaryHardwareUnlimited.warfare
Spend enough on Made In The USA weapons and we'll make your whole population into Allied Personnel and pledge to keep you safe from the ICC.  Disclaimer:  Protection lasts until we find it convenient to liberate your nation, replace you with a better puppet, and hire mercenaries to drop you off at the front door of the Hague (unless you know too much - then you won't live long enough to talk).

The USA loves to prance around as the "World's Policeman" and include Deputy Fife Australia to help with demands to follow the international order in SE Asia.  The fact that the US passed a law to protect war criminals and even forbids assisting REAL international law enforcement shows that it lacks any legitimacy as an arbiter of international law.



The whole line of "China lacks any understanding of the concept of X" argument might have carried a little weight when the Empress Dowager was still running things (yet somehow, despite her other failings, she kept the west from slicing up China like a pizza).  Now it's about the same level of staleness as claiming that the majority of modern Catholics and Protestants are all still locked into the thinking that led to all those religious wars in Europe.

Yes, culture has some influence, but claiming 1.4 billion people are so "quaint" in their belief systems that the don't understand this big modern concept of an accidental that's so obvious to enlightened white people.  If this were true, Trump could easily have tricked China into a war in mid 2020 (since Americans generally flock to presidents as wars begin).  Instead, China did the same things it does now - escorting violators out of restricted spaces and filing diplomatic protests.

China is VERY aware of US efforts to make the region less stable and that this could indeed cause an accident.  Some may attach culturally related beliefs on top of this, such that the US's own terribly unbalanced internal situation makes it blindly lash out at others, but that doesn't mean that anyone with a finger on a trigger or over a button is going to pull or press it without a very specific reason that would make perfect sense to average Chinese and average Americans.


Even if you believe that BS claim about Chinese not getting the idea of war starting accidentally, will the thought of "they don't understand the concept of accidental war" be of the slightest comfort to those who die in a war?  So, instead of saying foolish things like "HAHA!  Chinese can't understand the concept of a war starting accidentally!", wouldn't it be an infinitely wiser thing to not keep take action after action which could trigger an accident that could lead to war?

Then again, the US (and whatever US minions are stupid enough to join in) repeatedly, deliberately making a series of escalating provocations against China seems like a deliberate attempt to cause an accident that could lead to war.  The USA doesn't want an incident or an accident.  The USA wants another proxy war where the only country involved with minimum possible casualties is (of course) the USA.


The good news is that Australia's new trade minister recently hinted at a reduction of hostilities and peaceful coexistence.  Now Australia has to wait and see if America will veto this attempt to act as a sovereign nation instead of as a US puppet.
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China's Foreign Minister blames Morrison government for poor relations, tells Penny Wong to 'treat us as a partner, not a threat'

Included protips:

"Firstly, Australia must treat China as a partner, not an adversary," Mr Wang told Ms Wong, according to the statement.

"Secondly, we must adhere to a path of seeking common ground while reserving differences.

"Thirdly, we must adhere to not targeting or being controlled by third parties," he said, a likely reference both to Australia's efforts to persuade South Pacific nations away from security deals with China along with Australia's involvement in US-led diplomatic initiatives in Asia.

"Fourthly, we must build a positive and pragmatic foundation of public opinion," he said, likely referencing expectations that Australian leaders would be more cautious in their public language as well as recent public opinion polling that shows sentiment in Australia towards Xi Jinping's government sharply souring.



It's a worry, that kind of language. The Wangster isn't describing a relationship. He's laying down some hot tips on how to act. That's to say, there isn't a relationship. Encounters aren't a result of different characteristics and requirements negotiating some settlement. There is instead some prior condition that dictates the terms of encounters. We all know, of course, that this prior condition is historical determinism, the rise of the east and the decline of the west, and not just that weird Chinese hubris no one calls "face" any more, but whatever.

So...

China-Australia relations: Albanese rejects Beijing’s 4 ‘demands’ after Wang Yi-Penny Wong meeting

Australia’s PM said his country ‘doesn’t respond to demands’ when asked about the four ‘actions’ China’s foreign minister had said could improve ties
‘We will cooperate with China where we can,’ Anthony Albanese told reporters. ‘But we will stand up for Australia’s interests when we must’



Yeah.

This is going to end well.
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I met a man with six.
That was unexpected.

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