The United States is preparing Australia to go to war against China
By John Lander, retired Diplomat
February 16, 2023
From Popular Resistance.org
Thank you for inviting me to address the Salon. I am greatly honoured and somewhat daunted, given the long list of eminent scholars, analysts and writers who have preceded me.
I am not a “writer”, although I have written a lot during my thirty-year diplomatic career, much of it in relation to China. None of it published and most of it buried in government archives. All I can bring to the table is my personal interpretation of current developments regarding US and China, in the light of my past experience.
One of your previous speakers, Patrick Lawrence, advocated putting the main point first. So here goes:
The United States is not preparing to go to war against China.
The United States is preparing Australia to go to war against China.
The Anzus Treaty
A look at the ANZUS Treaty and the way it has been manipulated over time will explain why I have come to this conclusion.
Originally defensive in concept, the ANZUS Treaty was seen by Australia from its very beginning as a means to “achieve the acceptance by the USA of responsibility in SE Asia” (Percy Spender) to shield Australia from perceived antagonistic forces in its region. It has, however, developed into an instrument for the furtherance of US ability to prosecute war globally – previously in Iraq and Afghanistan, currently against Russia and potentially against China.
The ANZUS Treaty, usually referred to in reverential tones as “The Alliance”, has been elevated to an almost religious article of faith, against which any demur is treated as heresy amounting to treachery. Out of anxiety to cement the US into protection of Australia, the Alliance has been invoked as justification for Australia’s participation in almost every American military adventure – or misadventure – since WW II.
Unlike NATO or the Defence Treaty with Japan, the ANZUS treaty actually provides no guarantee of protection, merely assurances to consult on appropriated means of support in the event that Australia should come under attack.
On the other hand, the Alliance has facilitated the steady growth of American presence in Australia, to the point that it pervades every aspect of Australian political, economic, financial, social and cultural life. Australians fret about China “buying up the country”, but American investment is ten times the size.
They are unaware or uncaring that almost every major Australian company across the resources, food, retail, mass media, entertainment, banking and finance sectors has majority American ownership. Right now US corporations eclipse everyone else in their ability to influence our politics through their investment in Australian stocks.
The transfer of Australian assets to American ownership has continued unabated: In the second half of 2021 then Treasurer Josh Frydenberg approved the transfer of $130 billion of Australian assets to foreign private equity funds, benefiting Goldman Sachs who facilitated the transactions, by multimillions of dollars. Josh Frydenberg now is employed by Goldman Sachs:
The USA and the UK between them represent nearly half of all foreign investment. China plus Hong Kong represents 4.2%. The 4 big “Aussie” banks are dependent on foreign capital which dictate local banks’ policies and operations.
Defence and military weapons manufacturing industries in Australia are now largely owned by US weapons corporations – Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, Boeing, Thales, NorthropGrumman. The deep integration of Australia’s defence industries and economy into the US military-industrial complex greatly influences Australia’s foreign/defence policies.
That, plus US capture of Australia’s intelligence and policy apparatus through the “Five Eyes” network and ASPI (which has lobbyists from American arms manufacturers on a Board headed by an operative trained by the CIA) means that the US is able to swing Australian policy to support America in almost all its endeavours.
Despite the fact that it contains no guarantee of US protection of Australia, the Treaty and further arrangements under its auspices, such as the 2014 Force Posture Agreement and now AUKUS, have greatly facilitated US war preparation in Australia. This has accelerated exponentially in the past few years. The US now describes Australia as the most important base for the projection of US power in the Indo-Pacific.
Indicators Of War Preparations
- 2,500 US marines stationed in Darwin practicing for war with the Australian Defence Forces, soon to include the Japanese Defence Forces
- Establishment of a regional HQ for the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command in Darwin
- Lengthening the RAAF aircraft runways in Northern Territory at our expense for servicing US fighters and bombers
- Proposed stationing of 6 nuclear weapons-capable B52 Bombers at RAAF Tindal in NT
- Construction of massive fuel and maintenance facilities in Darwin NT for US aircraft
- Proposed acquisition of eight nuclear-propelled submarines at the cost of $170 billion for hunter-killer operations in the Taiwan Strait
- Construction, at the cost of $10 billion, of a deep water port on Australia’s east coast for US and UK nuclear powered and nuclear missile-carrying submarines
- The long-established satellite communications station known as Pine Gap in central Australia has recently, and is still being, expanded and upgraded. It is key to the command and control of US forces in the Indo-Pacific (and even as far afield as Ukraine)
The Government and right wing anti-China analysts and commentators, whose opinions dominate main stream media, accept the Defence Minister’s contention that this militarisation enhances Australia’s sovereignty by strengthening the range and lethality of Australia’s high-end war-fighting capability to provide a credible deterrent to a potential aggressor.P/2
Australian military has just 19 days of reserve fuel supplies
No government-mandated strategic reserve supply of fuel
by staff writers
A former army Chief turned senator has warned that the Liberal and Labor policies of turning Australia into a service nation could leave us vulnerable to attack from near neighbours.
The loss of any ability to manufacture on a medium scale, basic motor vehicles, parts or advanced weaponry and the inaction of government over a mandatory fuel reserve storage plan could halt any prolonged military protection for the nation by our troops.
Free trade has sounded the death knell for most Australian industries and the petroleum refining industry is no exception.
The Australian Institute of Petroleum says the domestic context of high operating costs, ageing facilities, increasing sea miles for the transport of crude to the refineries, shallow berths that are not suitable for large crude carriers, increasing technical complexity needed for refining of the broad range of crude oil and the high Australian dollar, put Australia at a competitive disadvantage, resulting in the closure of some domestic refineries that are no longer commercially competitive.
Jim Molan was the chief of operations for coalition forces in Iraq and will enter the senate next month, replacing former deputy Nationals leader Fiona Nash who was forced out due to dual citizenship.
He has issued a stark warning about Australia’s readiness for war, saying the armed forces could be ineffective within 19 days if current stockpiles of petrol, diesel and aviation fuel run dry.
“We are almost unique throughout the world in that we don’t have a government-mandated strategic reserve of fuel,” Senator Molan said.
“There are things that we can probably never build in this country, such as the Joint Strike Fighter and the most advanced missiles,” he continued.
“But we should guarantee their delivery to Australia — which you can rarely do — or we should have them in warehouses.
“Unless we have a plan to get them when we need them … then I, as an ex-military commander, wouldn’t want to cross the start line in doing something militarily unless I had those warehouses behind me.”
The 2016 Defence White Paper warned Australia’s dependency on fuel imports was a risk given tensions in the South China Sea, which is a major shipping route.
US military assistance not guaranteed
Senator Molan has also warned that military support from the US is not guaranteed and the Federal Government needs to be more prepared.
“Australia should be thinking about the level of defence expenditure that we are prepared to commit ourselves if America was the centre pole of our defence policy and now may not be as strong as it once was,” Senator Molan said.
Senator Molan said US Defence Secretary James Mattis has raised concerns about the readiness of the US military’s readiness for war.
“That should be ringing bells all over the world,” Senator Molan said.
Half of Australia’s fuel is imported- five refineries left
The Petroleum Institute has thrown its weight behind imported fuel claiming the closure of the refineries will not lead to negative price outcomes for consumers. Australian fuel prices reflect an import parity price, which is the price in international markets.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission was clear in its advice to the API committee that as a result of import parity pricing, the retail price for petrol is not impacted by refinery closures.
Australia can source its liquid fuel needs from a diversity of sources so that if one source becomes unavailable other sources can meet demand according to the committee report.
Following the closure of the Clyde and Kurnell oil refineries, refinery capacity in Australia will decrease about 28 per cent and leave five operating refineries.
Domestic refiners will produce just over half the fuel consumed in Australia with the remainder being imported. Consequently, concerns have been raised about the viability of Australia’s oil refinery industry, and the potential impacts of declining domestic refinery capacity on the economy, energy security and employment in the sector.
The most pessimistic view was that this is the beginning of the end of Australian refining, and the most optimistic view was that there is a future for Australian refining, albeit under increasing competitive pressure.
The committee noted that during the last decade the oil industry has invested over $9 billion in its Australian refineries.
The Liberal and Labor free trade mantra has all but destroyed our once great manufacturing base. No cars, no parts, no tyres, no fuel, no white goods, no military aeroplanes, no guns, only minute amounts of ammo, no boots, clothing or equipment for the military. All of it is imported.