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Australia's Minister of Defense Peter Dutton said on Sunday that "war with China" over Taiwan should not be discounted, stating "China has been very clear about the reunification and that's been a long-held objective of theirs."
It's the latest act of hostility by Canberra toward Beijing, which also a week ago included the annulling of Victoria's participation in the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) claiming it was "not in the national interest."
A potential war with China over Taiwan is an issue that has been pushed by the United States. The world's superpower has been trying to woo allies including Japan and Australia to commit to such a war. Creating coalitions on various issues to oppose Beijing is part of their "multilateral strategy."
For the past few years, Australia's attitude toward China may be described as nothing less than "abject hysteria" – defined by paranoia, McCarthyism, insinuation, exaggeration and irrationality.
The country's political, academic and media classes have utterly lost in their mind in an endless vilification of all things related to China, unable to incorporate a rising regional neighbor in line with their Anglophone exceptionalism view of the world, and deeply embedded in the history of "Yellow Peril" racism.
In doing so, there has been no balance, reason or moderation in the country's foreign policy which has endeavored to offer maximum loyalty to Washington on a warped view of "national interest."
Chinatown in Melbourne, Australia, March 25, 2020. /Getty
This has resulted in China retaliating against Australia accordingly on the matter of trade, wherein Canberra has subsequently depicted itself the victim of "Chinese aggression" or so-called "economic coercion." Australia believes it has a right to access and profit from China's markets but to trash the country on every front.
Now, Canberra talks of joining a potential war. This is an ill-placed, overly outspoken assumption which cannot rectify the already tense relationship Australia has sabotaged.
Threats of conflict only create a cycle of escalation whereby the other side is subsequently forced to respond. This makes conflict subsequently more likely as a result of high risks of miscalculation or misjudgement.
Beyond doubt, the latest move does not change China's position regarding unification. The country will not be humiliated or threatened with war over its core interests.
Australia is famous for joining the United States in every single major conflict since World War II, from the Korean War, to Vietnam, to Iraq. It is no surprise that it would aim to be an accompanying partner in any Taiwan contingency.
Yet this scenario cannot feasibly be compared to localized, regional conflicts with little impact on the homeland. Such a scenario would guarantee devastating economic losses for Canberra irrespective of the outcome, upending an entire regional trading and commercial order.
Would every day Australians really want this?
In this case, Australia must come to its senses and mend relations. It must recognize that the path of confrontation, hysteria and bad-mouthing China will never improve its own position and will never rectify ties between the two countries.
If Canberra continues to think it can serve as an American proxy, then China will take further steps in order to consolidate its own national interests.
Beijing does not seek conflict, but how is it supposed to react from countries seeking to preemptively commit to such? Is China supposed to trade with and allow a potential belligerent to prosper? Even Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga in Washington was careful to distance himself from such an outcome.
A strong, mutually prosperous relationship based on respect for national sovereignty is the way forward for China-Australia ties. It is strongly urged that Scott Morrison and his government understand this if there is to be any progress forward.
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