Former Australian PM Paul Keating has eviscerated Australia’s deal to buy nuclear submarines from the U.K. and U.S., saying there is no Chinese threat to defend against, despite the war hysteria stirring in Australia.

by Joe Lauria, special to Consortium News

Paul Keating has boldly contested the establishment consensus that Australia needs to spend A$368 billion to buy nuclear submarines as protection against a China Keating bluntly says is not a threat.

The former Labor premier has defied the conventional wisdom, saying the U.S. opposes China only because Beijing has committed “the high sin in internationalism – it has grown as large as the United States,” a fact the “exceptional state” can’t accept.  By subordinating itself, Australia is forfeiting its sovereignty to rely on Britain, which abandoned its former colony years ago, to build nuclear submarines that serve U.S. — and not Australian — interests.

“China does not present and cannot present as an orthodox threat to the United States. By orthodox, I mean an invasive threat,” Keating said in a speech to the Australian National Press Club on Wednesday. He said:

“The United States is protected by two vast oceans, with friendly neighbours north and south, in Canada and Mexico. And the United States possesses the greatest arsenal in all human history. There is no way the Chinese have ever intended to attack the United States and it is not capable of doing so even had it contemplated it. So, why does the United States and its Congress insist that China is a ‘threat’?

The US Defence department’s own annual report to Congress in late 2022 said ‘the PRC aims to restrict the United States from having a presence on China’s periphery’. In other words, China aims to keep US navy ships off its coast. Shocking.

Imagine how the US would react if China’s blue water navy did its sightseeing off the coast of California. The US would be in a state of apoplexy.”

Keating said China is integrated into the international system as a member of the World Trade Organization, the IMF, the World Bank, the G20 and other organizations and has a “vested interest in globalization.”

“China is a world trading state – it is not about upending the international system,” said Keating. “It is not the old Soviet Union. It is not seeking to propagate some competing international ideology.”

The former prime minister said “a sensible American” like Henry Kissinger or Zbigniew Brzezinski would celebrate the fact “you had turned up a co-stabilising power in Asia. … But no. China is to be circumscribed. It has committed the mortal sin, the high sin in internationalism – it has grown as large as the United States.”

“Nowhere in the American playbook,” Keating said, “is there provision for this affront to be explained or condoned for the exceptional State to be co-partnered, let alone challenged.”  Keating is merely quoting the Pentagon itself, whose strategy is to not countenance any power that challenges U.S. “primacy.”

Thus the U.S. didn’t “see itself as the ’balancing power’” in East Asia, he said, but the “‘primary strategic power’. Its geostrategic priority is to contain China militarily and economically.”

This means that if 1.4 billion Chinese do not keep their place, the U.S., “will shut them in – contain them … with the complicity of a reliable bunch of deputy sheriffs, Japan, Korea, Australia and India,” said Keating.

“We are now part of a containment policy against China,” he said. “The Chinese government doesn’t want to attack anybody. They don’t want to attack us … We supply their iron ore which keeps their industrial base going, and there’s nowhere else but us to get it. Why would they attack? They don’t want to attack the Americans … It’s about one matter only:  the maintenance of U.S. strategic hegemony in East Asia. This is what this is all about.”  

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