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Former Australian Prime Minister Keating Goes on Warpath vs. AUKUS (‘Orcus’) and the ‘Anglosphere’

Sept. 22, 2021 (EIRNS)—Former Australian Prime Minister Paul Keating (1991-96) is on the warpath against the AUKUS (“Orcus”) agreement. For the second time since the Sept. 15 announcement of the agreement, he has posted a fiery op-ed in the Sydney Morning Herald, this time charging that Prime Minister Scott Morrison is following in the footsteps of his Liberal party predecessors Robert Menzies and John Howard in tying Australia’s national security to the Anglo-American empire.

“Menzies, even after World War II, did Britain’s bidding against the international community in attempting to wrest the Suez Canal from Egypt, just as he deceptively committed Australian troops to Vietnam to appease the United States,” he wrote. “Howard, another U.S. appeaser extraordinaire, committed us to an illegal war in Iraq with tragic consequences. And now, Morrison, a younger throwback to the Liberals’ Anglosphere, shops Australia’s sovereignty by locking the country and its military forces into the force structure of the United States by acquiring U.S. submarines.”

Keating completely demolished the idea that China is a military threat to Australia that requires an Australian military presence in the South China Sea. Morrison’s posturing is based on “the claim of a so-called ‘changed security environment,’ ” Keating continues. “That change is China’s more aggressive international posture—the posture of now, the world’s largest emerging economy. This change in China’s domestic and foreign posture is labelled by Morrison and his government not as the shifting posture of a re-emerging great power, but as ‘the China threat.’ As though China, through its more abrupt and ruder foreign policy, has also presented a military threat in its dealings with Australia. A threat that, in fact, has never been made and that has never materialized. The word ‘threat’ explicitly connotes military aggression or invasion, a threat China has never made against Australia or even implied making. Chinese tariffs on wine or seafood do not constitute a military threat any more than does China’s intolerance of Hong Kong domestic political management.”

Keating took shots at his own Labor Party, whose foreign policy spokesperson Penny Wong has “condoned” the false representation of China’s intentions. Keating also took aim at the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, singling out political columnist Peter Hartcher (among others), whose “bi-weekly froth-mouthed articles about China and its supposed threat ... have constituted an important part of the climate that has allowed Morrison to now shop the country to the Americans.”

“China does not attack other states, unlike the United States, which does attack other states, yet the Herald and The Age have portrayed China as an aggressor power with malevolent intentions,” Keating says.

“The notion that Australia is in a state of military apprehension about China, or needs to be, is a distortion and lie of the worst and most grievous proportions. By its propagation, Australia is determinedly casting China as an enemy—and in the doing of it, actually creating an enemy where none exists,” Keating wrote further. “So poisonous are the Liberals towards China they are prepared for Australia to lose its way in the neighborhood of Asia, in search of Australia’s security from Asia, by submission to yet another strategic guarantor—240 years into our history.”

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