Australia is playing in the international greyzone: it is time to get out of our unthinking alliance with the US

The current animosity between the United States-led western world and strategic partners Russia and China is all about power. It is not about human rights, democracy, trade, intellectual property, the ‘rules-based international order’ or any of the other canards used by politicians, commentators and the media to describe current events.

The United States had for a historically brief period, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, a unipolar moment where it could largely do as it pleased in international affairs. That period of global hegemony is now history but the myth of US exceptionalism within the minds of its elites, and their acolytes, persists.

China and Russia on the other hand, both having learned the folly of empire, have rather more limited goals. But in a case of projection, Western powers assume Russia and China seek global domination. This is based on the fallacious logic, as argued by former US ambassador and Assistant Secretary of Defense Chas Freeman, that because the United States had the Monroe Doctrine and Manifest Destiny these countries must too.

At this point, it is highly unlikely that the United States along with any grouping of its allies can militarily defeat China and Russia in any plausible scenario. Thus, the conflict between these two poles is primarily informational and to a lesser extent economic (e.g. sanctions). In other words, this is a grey-zone conflict, otherwise known as political warfare.

Australia is playing in the international greyzone: it is time to get out of our unthinking alliance with the US

James Bradley, Author of Flags of Our Fathers, #1 New York Times Best-Seller, Speaks Out Against the U.S. Military Encirclement of China

James Bradley, Author of Flags of Our Fathers, #1 New York Times Best-Seller, Speaks Out Against the U.S. Military Encirclement of China

The China Mirage ends with a warning for today. Bradley writes that, “from those early days [19th century] until now, America has dispatched its hopeful sons and daughters to faraway Asia in search of a mirage that never was. And never will be.” That mirage is the idea of China as moldable in American hands. Now, according to Bradley, we have entered another disappointment phase as an ascendant China has gone about its business of expanding its economy and hence its worldwide influence. The danger is that Washington will not get over its disappointment. Bradley in fact describes the current situation—where the U.S. encircles China—as akin to dry tinder ready to spark a war.

Hawks seek revival with new group

Hawks seek revival with new group

As senior director for Near East and North African affairs from 2002 to 2009, Abrams played a key role in encouraging the U.S. invasion of Iraq and urging other interventions in the region and supported an armed coup attempt against the democratically elected Hamas government in Gaza, touching off a brief civil war that left the Islamist group stronger than ever. His advocacy as special envoy for Venezuela and Iran of ever-stronger sanctions against the governments in those two countries succeeded only in strengthening hard-line forces in both nations and pushing much of their middle classes into poverty. Given that record, why Vandenberg’s backers would choose him as the group’s chairman and public face, is intriguing, to say the least.

Waiting for Catastrophes

Waiting for Catastrophes

The United States is notionally pulling its troops out of Afghanistan at the same time as it seems to be deepening its commitment to military action against China. Abbas laughs. “If they could not subdue us,” he says, meaning Iraq, “how will they fare against China?” It is true. But we are dealing with callous people who have contempt for world health. If they want a war, they might get a war.