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China, AUKUS And Control Of Asia-Pacific w/ Jeff Rich Live

2024-02-27 | 🔗
China, AUKUS And Control Of Asia-Pacific w/ Jeff Rich Live
This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
Okay, we're live. Sorry for the delay everybody, but YouTube is giving me some issues, to be quite honest. I'm not even sure if we're live on YouTube because I can't get into the the back office So let me know if you are watching this from YouTube. I see there are people in the chat. So obviously you can enter the live stream from YouTube, but. I can't enter the back office. So, anyway, let's press on. Alexander Mercouris, how are you doing? I'm very happy and excited to have Geoff with us discussing Australian things, Alchis and all that.
To the Duran, I have all your information where people can follow your YouTube channel, where people can follow you on Substack. Duran, how are you doing? Thank you Alex and Alexander, it's a real delight to be here because I'm just a humble member of the Duran community and hopefully I can offer a little bit of insight as to what's going on. Down here in the southern Indo-Pacific. About Orcus and how it relates to some of the global developments. And once again, I have all your information in the description box down below and I will add. And your sub stack and your YouTube as a pinned comment as well. I will have those links as pinned comment. Hello to everybody that's watching us on Rumble Odyssey, Rock Finn.
Durant.locals.com and hopefully on YouTube. Hello to everybody. And let's get started, Alexander. Let's talk about AUKUS, China, the Asia Pacific, Australia.
Let's get into it. Well, because we're now seeing a major game of power politics play out in the Pacific region. This is becoming increasingly the area which the United States is most concerned about. They're up against the other superpower, which is China in the Pacific. They're becoming increasingly worried about the build-up of the Chinese fleet. I've been hearing comments. We've had comments from people from the United States who come to our programs and who've actually discussed them about how concerned they are in the United States, that the Chinese are able to build up their naval fleet much faster at the moment than the United States can because China's...
It the middle of all of that, a traditional ally of Australia. The United Kingdom. For how much of our long, but anyway they do. And of course some years ago... I remember Boris Johnson, Joe Biden, to the fury of the French, announcing that there'd been this great deal, this alcove done, with Australia to provide Australia with...
Nuclear submarine technology. The French, as I remember, were furious about it. Lots of sound and fury. From Paris-- And the Chinese, of course, were not happy as well either, because until just about five years ago, Australia and China seemed to have a burgeoning relationship, Australia providing all kinds of goods and materials.
China, the Chinese valuing, as I remember, their relationship with Australia. And a little bit like the Russians with Germany, the Russians assuming that they had a solid relationship based on economic self-interest with Germany, the Chinese made the same assumptions about Australia, and it's turning out otherwise. The question is, given this transformation in the geopolitical situation and its own situation, what is Australia getting out of this? Is this working? Is this new realignment working for Australia? So we're very lucky to have Geoff Rich, a member of the Durand community, joining us today. He's able to give us insights about all of these questions, telling us where AUKUS is going. There's articles in the British media which suggest that...
It's not doing particularly well as a program, but anyway, as a, but perhaps Jeff, you can fill us in, provide all the, you know, fill in all the gaps, tell us what's going on. Absolutely Alexander, and I think it was like September 2021 that the AUKUS deal was announced, and it was kind of announced in sort of two phases. First under the former Prime Minister Scott Morrison. And if you go back to September 2021. It's like a month or so after the fall of Kabul and there's a lot of angst. Around the world about the robustness of, you know. US alliances, US primacy, that sort of thing. And there was a big debate about that in Australia. And it was a huge surprise announcement and it received enormous attention in Australia, you know, a few months before.
A likely election. Uh, and it was generally seen as kind of a good thing that, you know, Australia was sort of stepping up to the plate. So to speak, and you know, it was now a kind of a premier military power having nuclear submarines, which is the main aspect of the... Walker Steele that Australia would gain access in a number of decades to nuclear submarines. And they-- In, I think it was 12, 18 months later, the sort of final deal around AUKUS was announced under a second Prime Minister Anthony. The Albanese from the Labour Party rather than the Liberal Party, that's sort of, you know, the, I guess, Progressive Party versus the Conservative Party.
And the bill was even greater. The commitments were even more, you know, fuzzier. And the sort of locking, I guess, to the US military system seemed to be even stronger. And after that, a lot of the US military forces were in the fight for the US military. A lot of voices started to come forward to say, well, this is really not such a great thing. One of the most prominent being a former Prime Minister, Paul Keating. Who really questioned the whole rationale. And... Um. Like today in Australia there's a significant body of opinion that really views AUKUS as a big, big mistake. In fact, I think you can probably see that. This is the Australian Foreign Affairs. It's the sort of Australian equivalent, I guess, to foreign policy or foreign affairs, that sort of thing.
It has an article by a guy called Hugh Wyatt, who's sort of Australia's leading defence strategy analyst, and has long been a critic of Australia's... They've been too unthinkingly locked into the alliance with America. And he's saying that Orcus is dead in the water, that it is... A plan to develop nuclear submarines in decades time that would... Likely never be delivered. And in the meantime, Australia's naval defence capacity is sort Deteriorating and needs to be replaced, which was the original impetus for the Orca Steel. that our sub...
Thanks for watching. of, I guess, damaged, reliable. Relations with China has, has, is, uh, has, uh, increasing number of critics who say it's a bad defence strategy, it's a bad foreign policy, and it's just it's too expensive and it's not really achieving things. So I guess the question is...
Why? Alexander M [as he is in a very, very interesting way of saying it, it reminds me, I have to say this a little bit again, of Germany. Germany pressed by the United States to build up its military capacity, being pushed in effect by the US to buy weapons in the United States, because realistically it can't crank up military production to the same levels, to the levels that would be needed in order to fulfill all the demands the Americans are making from it. And at the same time, also pressed to supply weapons to Ukraine. Germany's defense position is weakening, even has its relations with Russia. Was
To explain what…let's just take a step back because I know a lot of people are not familiar with this now…what AUKUS actually was. Because there was this deal with the French to provide nuclear submarine…not nuclear the next. I can also remember Boris Johnson telling us all about Britain, about what a wonderful thing AUKUS was. Nuclear technology in submarines is incredibly different, very different from conventional submarines. Very much.
I think some of them are, part of the contention of it is some of them are to be, I guess, gifted from the United States to Australia. Some of the nuclear submarines are to be gifted in a general sense to the United States. To Australia. And so that's snag number one because there's a debate within America as to whether it can actually afford to, you know. Let go of a few nuclear submarines. There's also to be some construction, I think, in Britain. And then there's that state number two, because there's increasing doubts as to whether Britain can actually kind of fulfill its end of the bar. I can, uh, and I think there's meant to be some sort of R and D and, you know, in the defense industry sort of flow on to Australia, but, um, unlike, I think the,
A submarine deal, there's unlikely to be construction in Australia. And that was it. In some sense as part of the political attraction within Australia of the French submarine deal, because the submarine construction was meant to happen. In one of the states in Australia, but there were a whole lot of issues with the French. Submarine deal, which was part of what was driving people to sort of look for a better solution, I guess. So the French submarine deal was by no means perfect. But Australia has also been wrestling with this question of how to acquire a proper submarine fleet for decades. It's like it's.
I don't know what the comparison in other countries would be but it's like the perennial... Sort of policy failures, so to speak, within the defense communities to, and how to help. What's this decade's submarine deal that's going to fall over? What's it going to be? So, um, Orcus is basically, it's got, I think three components. One is. The nuclear submarines and that's the major thing and I think it's like six to eight sort of nuclear submarines. Add an enormous price like $360 billion. And... And there's also some cooperation around like hypersonic missile research and AI and that sort of thing, which. Is a minor part of the deal and then there's also agreements for.
By seeing American nuclear submarines in Australia. In ports in the sort of Indian Ocean port of Perth. So... Um. Which wasn't there in the original deal, but ultimately that's what happened. So it's nuclear submarines plus tighter integration I guess into the American military command so to speak. And and some other sorts of defence cooperation with possible sort of industry flow-ons. And overall, it's also the question about what type of nuclear submarines. Hinges a lot on what is Australia's defence strategy. Is the point of the nuclear submarines to defend the coast of Australia from attack or is it to plant, you know.
A kind of American supported nuclear submarines off the coast of Taiwan and China. Is for the latter you would need nuclear submarines, realistically. You know, power and mileage and that sort of thing. Alexander M And of course the Pacific is the world's biggest ocean. And the distance is huge. And sending conventional boats from Australia all the way to Taiwan would be an...you know, it would not be practical. For watching.
Just to make that particular point. Absolutely. And that's what some of the critics have said. This is sort of leapfrogging Australia into, I think people used to take the term, the top table of global naval power. Or a party sound consensus behind this in Australia labor conservative they both support this program is
Yeah, very much. And I mean, really, since-- The 1990s, there's been a pretty locked in kind of, um, Well, maybe not really since the Iraq war in the early 2000s, there's been a very sort of locked in, I guess, bipartisan approach to. The American alliance, national security issues, most foreign policy issues on the whole. So it's very much a. So it's very much a by-product of the experience. Artisan issue. And like, I mean, I don't. I'll go ahead and close the poll. Not really wanting to comment particularly on sort of domestic Australian politics, but it's it's there's opposition in parts of the.
The Labour Party to it, indicated by, for example, Paul Keating, the former Labour Prime Minister's outspoken criticism. - Mm-hmm. But there's a very strong, I guess, leadership consensus within the defense security establishment in Australia around the. American alliance, which in a way that's sort of one of the drivers of the decision. It's interesting that you talked about the German. An example because, I mean, I think there's really sort of two, two sort of. Main drivers to this decision. One is it's like a response to concern about the decline of America. Primacy so people around the world are trying to work out well, how do we? respond to things in this sort of changed world. And the response in Australia has been...
It's sort of like, we've got to steal. The spine of America to keep being number one. Strong belief within, I guess, defence foreign policy circles in Australia that. American Primacy has been good for Australia and we'd like it. Continue and so we want to and we can see the um fading will or the concern about Trump and nationalism or sort of a more isolationist approach in Australia. And so we want to be the best. Possible ally we could step up, make more contribution and, you know, go and get those clear submarines. So it's sort of like a, it's almost like.
Defensive sort of response to the fall of American primacy. And then I guess the other driver is just the... the, the, um. Um, Sort of what Emmanuel Todd talks about in his recent book, The Defeat of the West, sort of... Decaying sort of leadership culture in many countries around the world and their sort of integration. And with the sort of, you know, the sort of post-imperial American sort of system. So that, those two drivers have reinforced. Long, long, long tradition in Australian foreign policy of really.
Holding on tight to our great and powerful friend. First it was Britain, and then after World War II it was America. And, um, uh. That the sort of trade and economic relationship with China has developed a normal. Over the last, well really since the 1970s, but especially since The 1980s and But that's always been done within the umbrella of, I guess, believing in American primacy and the important Prince of Australia having that security partnership with America.
So whilst America was strong and committed to Australia, or defensive Australia, the Australians said to themselves, Well, we can do our deals with China, but as America retreats... We're becoming more nervous, and we cling to the Americans even more. Some might find that a rather strange kind of logic, actually. I mean, if the Americans are withdrawing, or the fear is that they are, I mean, it might make rather more sense, perhaps. Perhaps, to work out a more stable relationship with the other power. But is it the case, perhaps, that deep down many people in Australia are afraid of China? That's an interesting question, and I guess there's a couple of different … uh interpretations i guess of what's going on one is you know
Australia has a bit of a tainted history of, like a lot of countries, of having race-related immigration. So this is a White Australia policy which began in the early 1900s and really continued. On to the 1960s. Uh, so there's some level of that, but on the. On the other hand, Chinese migration to Australia and Indian migration to Australia is enormous. I mean, they're the second and third largest immigrant groups. Within Australia and I think like a huge proportion of the Australian population have, you know, family born overseas. So. But some people say that's sort of an underlying racism might be the case. I don't think that's
Then the other argument is there's a fear of abandonment where geographically... Isolated, huge coastline, a long way. From London and New York and we've had this... Famous incident in our history in like 1941, 1942 when Japanese empire came and took Singapore and as part of the general kind of collapse. So to speak, of the British Empire during World War II. And that's often seen as, you know, Britain let us down in our direst need, and that... That's why we switched to America. So there's this argument that there's a fear.
Of abandonment in, I guess, Australian political culture. AUKUS, I mean the Australian public didn't have a whole lot to do with the AUKUS deal. It's a phenomenon. That occurred as a result of elite decision makers, a very small circle of decision makers. Uh-huh. People say in Australia the culture of foreign policy is very dominated by defense and security issues. Very dominated by, you know, all the network around the American Alliance, the Five Eyes, the, you know, the intelligent sharing and all that sort of stuff. So it's Perhaps, and there's enormous amounts of, um...
Kind of relationship building that goes on between, you know, America and the political elites in Australia through things like the Australian. American leadership dialogue and other sorts of things. So I guess the third possibility is that it's more a case of not so much the... Australian people being worried about being abandoned as the Australian... Defence Elite being worried about losing their control of all those amazing toys that they currently have. And I suspect it's a little bit more that as well as clouded thinking really. And this is what Hugh White says. He's utterly, utterly, utterly scathing about the decision.
And says it's perhaps our greatest ever defence policy failure and perhaps. The greatest defence policy failure anywhere in the world. You know, Australia has had radical political movements and peace movements in the past. So, what is Australian public opinion? How are they talking about it? Is this a big issue in Australia?
The time, war and peace issues were very big issues, certainly in Europe. People came out and protested about them, and they worried about them, and they were worried about war situations. You don't see that very much in Europe anymore. Maybe there's the first stirrings of it, but as you rightly said... Still very much within an elite consensus of police in Europe. What about Australia? Are people concerned? Are they saying, you know, we're getting these enormous weapons in 30, 40, 50 years' time at huge cost, and in the meantime we're making… Serious mistakes in our long-term relationships both with China and also in our strategies on defense questions. Are people talking about this at all? I mean, is this an issue? Are the protests…is the opposition in Australia to this at a popular level?
Look, absolutely people are talking about it. I don't think there's really broad protests at a popular level. Paul, there's a lot of if-iness like, um, you know, the 316. Five or whatever it is billion dollars has occurred at the same time as a few other economic problems in Australia, you know, government priority type questions. But there is very significant, like people like Hugh White, leading voice. There's a guy called Sam Roggeveen from the Lowy Institute, which is otherwise a very kind of centrist, pro-American kind of institute. And he's... No means anti-American, but he absolutely is scathing about AUKUS and proposes a whole different kind of defense strategy.
Like there's a publication called Pearls and Irritations that's published by the former. Of the Prime Minister's Department in Australia, John Menardieu, which has carried many, many articles and there's a whole lot of critics there. But I don't really see it breaking through as a broad scale protest issue. The situation in Gaza, there's been like, um, uh, kind of week. Protest marches now in in uh various Australian cities over the last few months around that. So it it has cut through uh in a way that hasn't perhaps with AUKUS and I mean for I guess totally. Understandable emotional reasons it's a terrible situation isn't it? I have to say, there's some sense of deja vu for me in some of this, because...
I…my memory, as I've said many times, does stretch back to the 1960s. I remember that in the 1960s Australia seemed to be on something like the same trajectory as it is today. It sent troops to fight in Vietnam. It was becoming very strong with the United States. It bought F-111 fighter jets from the United States. I did. I seem to recall they were flops, but that was very young at the time. Exactly, exactly. But, in the end, it did trigger a kind of backlash and a sort of radicalization. So you got, briefly, the Gough Whitlam government…
Which I'm sure we both remember. You've got to sort of swing away from some of this, and maybe an opening up of debate in Australia for a certain period of time. Could we see something like that again? I mean, we're back to the Mangler-American alliance, the friendship with the United States, buying expensive weapons from them, getting involved in American quarrels with other countries. Will there be a backlash one day? See you soon. A guy called James Curran, Australia's China Odyssey, from euphoria to fear. This is the whole, um, the history of Australia's foreign policy. I should see with China all the way back to like, you know, World War Two sort of thing.
And it's a lot more complicated than it's often presented. But broadly... You know, Australia switched to the United States at World War II. It took a little bit, you know, a decade. Guide maybe to really fully embrace the American Alliance versus the British Empire. And this is a question that I think is very important. In the 1970s, I guess there's this period, which is when the Whitlam government... Is in power for three years or so. There is this period where, I guess, partly in response to America's problems, I mean, we've got the, you know, the, the, the, the, um. You know, removal from the gold standard. We've got the loss in Vietnam War. We've got the political crisis. We've got the, you know.
Economic problems and we've got the, I guess, cultural challenges maybe within America. Britain is now utterly irrelevant. That is, by the 1970s, pretty much irrelevant. So there is this strong surge to a more independent foreign policy. Or Australia and that's partly there's a significant development. Of the relationship with China and Vietnam and others through the 1970s. And then in the 1980s, it's again, Australia is pursuing a much more pro-America alliance, but it has an extraordinarily good relationship with China under the Prime Minister Bob Hawke. He was reputed to have the best...
Access to the Chinese leadership anywhere in the world. Uh-huh. And was relied upon very much by the Americans for. For that and he also I guess repositioned Australia economically to be more of an open trading country and to you know have the economic... Complementarity between China and ourselves and are But then, you know, there's the end of the Cold War, and for a while Paul Keating does... Pursue a more independent foreign policy. But... Uh. In like he becomes Prime Minister literally like as the Soviet Union collapse. See you know at the end of 1991 he pursues more.
Independent nationalist sort of foreign policy but again broadly within the American umbrella, so it's no surprise that he's the only Prime Minister since the 1990s who has come out so strongly against Walker. Because he was really the last one who I guess had a perhaps a broader vision of where Australia is. Could be in the world, including relationships of Indonesia and all that sort of thing. And then under John Howard, prudent 90s and early 2000s, he He kind of cements the relationship. He sort of does a similar thing to, I guess, what we're doing with Orcus, you know, the. Twin Towers happens, John Howard's in New York at the time and he
Sort of feels the pain of the American leadership and says, you know, we're going to invoke the alliance between Australia and the US because it's been attacked. So. There's this, I guess, more locked in sort of feeling under John Howard. From 2007, there's a Rod Gillard. Governments which are-- There's a lot of expectations, I guess, of Kevin Rudd because he was a former diplomat. Spoke Chinese, he knew a lot about at least Chinese literature and politics. But things started to get a little bit difficult there. And then especially as America starts to do its sort of pivot to Asia, there's...
Growing, growing pressure on... um on on Australian leaders really to sort of lock in behind that. And there really has been a bit of a push. Throughout that whole time, America has sort of kind of had a little bit of a worry that the trade relationship with China would... Sort of turn Australia as you know make them you know I guess Indent on Chinese trade the way Germany was dependent on Russian gas Yes. Um. But, and I think that's just gradually increased over time. Then it's really from about 2015, 2016, when things started to get really, really... It's our and nasty, I guess, in the relationship to an Australia and China, because I mean.
There's, uh, there's the, the, the, that, that old dog. Dynamic between Australia and the United States, but there's a dispute over Huawei, there's a dispute over foreign influence, there's a range of trade disputes and then the sort of Um, so 2016 happens with Brexit and Trump and everyone goes a bit crazy about America's role. The world and then it gets it gets a little bit difficult and it's really only in I guess the last Last year or so, I mean, literally Australia's diplomats and ministers. Prime Minister was sort of frozen out from kind of diplomatic contact with China for, I think it was like about five years. Some pretty hostile rhetoric and there was a feeling from Australia's side that, you know.
Maybe China was going a little bit hard and being intimidating Australia, trying to influence us too much. And I guess China probably also felt well. You know, what are all these guns pointed at us? I have to say I've read articles, in fact not just articles, editorials in Chinese media, the Chinese media, a couple of years ago especially, where there were absolutely... He's shocked and very, very dismayed about this turn in Australian policy towards them, And this, by the way, predates Aukus. I mean, I remember reading articles like this. I mean, they hadn't expected…
They assumed that they had a good, steady, stable relationship with Australia. And the Chinese are…they were astonished at how suddenly, from their perspective, they were astonished at how suddenly, from their perspective, they were astonished at how suddenly, And I think they were also very disappointed, just by the way the Russians have been about Germany, about the fact that all of these people in Australia, the business people, the business community there, which presumably has done very well for the trade with China, how quiet it has been even as this great change has happened, has there been any pushback the business community in Australia. Look, I mean, there has been to some degree. I mean, in a funny sort of way, I feel that what we have said... Australia for decades, it was certainly something that John Howard said from 96 to 2000.
And seven or whatever was, you know, America's our security partner. Economic partner, we can live with both. We don't have to make a choice. Bye. People like John Mearsheimer used to come over here and say, Well, you know, I'm here. Is going to force you to make a choice fellas. He's telling the Australians, you know, you think you can have your cake and eat it, but the Americans won't let you. Yeah, and I mean, I think and you know, this is. Is my opinion, but I think we'd probably, and in a way back in the '70s and in the '90s, this was a little bit more of the case that it... China wasn't just in like our economic partner box. It was.
We were looking to intensify diplomatic and political relationships. We were looking to intensify cultural relationships. um... Uh, and you know, that security relationships might be a bit far, but there was. To one-dimensional diplomatic relationships. It was at risk, I guess, of those other forces. at risk I guess of those other forces. Coming by and like from the 70s there's been a huge huge push to you know promote. Asian language study, Asian area study type activities. Many people who I've known over my life have done enormous work in that regard, but it simply has.
Isn't really taken off as much as you would like. So I just feel that, you know. Perhaps the lesson longer term is not just to have this idea that we have an economic partner and a secure. Partner, we actually have to have these dimensions of the relationship with all countries. I see never... I mean that sort of goes to what some people... Or some of the critics of AUKUS and current foreign policy direction. A sign, which is they, you know, we need to try to get some people talk about. Sort of powers or some sort of, I guess you could say it. Collective security arrangement in the West Pacific or Indo-Pacific, Maritime Asia, that
Isn't solely reliant on US dominance but has buy-in from all the parents. Hours of maritime Asia, which include China and include Indonesia, which is a, you know. Super, super important country to Australia. It's, you know, our nearest neighbour. Heresy of heresy. Russia, because Russia is a Pacific power after all.
Can I just say on the fact that Australia was at one time heavily involved in involving itself in developing Chinese studies and things like that. I have actual personal knowledge of this because a friend of mine, Kerry Brown, is a sinologist, an important British sinologist, and he actually for a time had a post in an Australian university. A teaching post, by the way. And the point that he made to me many, many times is that the Australians were perfectly positioned… to use both China and America to exert leverage against both. That their particular skill, their great utility to both...
The Americans and the Chinese was that they were able to talk to each and understand each and work with each, and that in a situation where US-Chinese relations were fracturing, it was not in Australia's interest to overcommit to one side or to the other. The best thing for Australia to do was to act as a sort of communicator. The next. Along ever happened in Australia but I mean it makes sense to me oh look I agree I think that's I think it did It happened and a lot of people devoted their careers in, you know, diplomatic and, you know, academic and bureaucratic careers to, to
To that sort of objective, I think. To some degree, that was definitely the case, like with Bob Hawke and Paul Keating, I think, to some degree. Also kind of Malcolm, Malcolm Fraser, but. Uh... I think in a way it just comes down to this long. long, uh, intellectual habit or ingrained habit in Australia of For good reasons, for believing that being the first mate. Of the most powerful country on the world in the world is our best strategy. So we'd rather be the kind of first mate of the number one power rather than, I guess, pursue a, a, a.
A kind of a multilateral strategy within a multi-polar world, I think. Some ways I would say that like the way India has used it its advantages of diplomatic power over the last. Decade, but especially over the last couple of years, is perhaps a lesson to Australia that... You don't necessarily need to be the world's greatest military power to, I think, Um. Dr. S.J. Shankar, the Indian External Affairs Minister, talks about India not choosing science. But standing on its own ground. And I think we really ought to do that in Australia. and... and...
And this is also what some of the critics of AUKUS say. It's, um... Locking our foreign policy very much into defence strategy rather than Uh, uh. Australia being a diplomatic superpower. Well, I mean, you know, even with six to eight... Clear submarines. I mean, what are we really going to do to China? Where we could be, you know, we're in a really... Secure position, you know, down there in the Southern Pacific, Southern Indian Ocean. China's got, you know. A lot of countries it needs to get past first before it gets to Australia. So it's.
Really in China's interest to sort of shoot out its own iron ore and you know minerals and all the rest of it, food. Um, uh. So why don't we find a way to get along with all the parts of the world and not just trying to be the loyalist first mate to America? I've got two last questions before I hand over to Alex. But the first is this. Does it never occur to people in Australia that there are historical precedents for Australia It might not be a particularly good idea to overcommit to one power, power that is strong, which has lots of interests around the world.
I always remember the fact that in 1914 and 1939 the British King declared war for the Australia. I mean, the Australians weren't even consulted. I mean, they weren't told. The British that they were at war with Germany and whatever, and maybe the Australians had interests in becoming involved in those wars, but it was not a decision ultimately made by them. And America has its global commitment system. They might come and press Australia and ask Australians to do things which might not be either desirable for Australia The
the In London, where I am at the moment – we've just had a hearing about them – but many, many of his supporters have been very disappointed about the fact that the government in his own country, Australia, hasn't spoken up for him as they feel it should have done. And is that also because he's been sacrificed, in effect, on the altar of this relationship that Australia seems to be determined to forge. With the United States, or at least the Australian elite is. So I'll do Asanjh second. So the first question was, you know, have we thought about the risks?
Have been, you know, first mate to an over committed power. Look, I think a lot of people have. I'll see you next time. I've written a few articles over the last year or so where I sort of compare America to the. The sort of Moby Dick, you know, the, the story of Moby Dick, the captain I had once against the white whale and he sails this Pequod with his revenge all around the world and ultimately sinks the ship and I feel at times Australia is caught on the Pequod Subject to revenge, but a lot of people have thought about that. But I guess it goes back to that sense that. Um.
You know, there's a lot of people who have a very strong interest and there have been a lot of benefits to Australia. And Australia hasn't been like a vassal in its relationship with either Britain or America. Okay. It's actually been a relatively powerful and influential. Um. Ally within a kind of a world system. Uh, so I think it's, it's less the sort of general attitudes. It's the, it's the sort of, I guess the leadership circles, the key decision making circles who are in. Institutionally surrounded by these relationships and these connections, etc. And it's sort of like, it's the sort of the. That they breathe is the American alliance and they can see many of the benefits. I mean, there was a great debate between
I mean, John Mearsheimer and a guy called Peter Varghese, who was the former head of the foreign affairs department. Which you can watch on YouTube and probably because John Mearsheimer was involved, it's had like 350. Peace out. To this question, I mean, Peter Varghese who used to be the head of Foreign Affairs, um, basically said American primacy is good for Australia, so we'd like it to continue. Assessment of the risks and benefits is like that amongst many. And then Julian Assange, you know, I don't know awful lot around Julian Assange. And I don't know whether he's been sacrificed, as you say. It's certainly the...
Earlier on in his political career, the current prime minister. Anthony Albanese made comments supportive of release of Julian Assange. There was a vote in the Australian Parliament just in the last couple of weeks. Kind of along those lines, but just has a little bit of a feeling of. Um. So, like, I don't know, 10 years ago. Geoff, Rich, thank you very much for an incredibly informative program. I'm going to hand over to Alex. I think we are now getting some questions through and there may be some questions.
You might want to put to you. - Cool. Yeah, we have a couple of questions and comments and we will wrap the live stream. Up and whatever other questions we have. Alexander, me and you can knock them out. That Daniel also says we had a great anti-war bands and songs that became our anthems. Yeah, yeah, well, Peter Garrett, who was the lead singer of Midnight Oil, you might know him. He's... Your country sort of thing. It's an absolutely iconic song in Australia in the late 1970s, early 1980s, and he subsequently became a minister.
So in the Kevin Rudd Labor government, and I think he might have made comments critical of AUKUS. I'm not sure, but he's perhaps symptomatic of this sort of that. That spirit of the 1970s, that spirit of independence in the 1970s has been kind of closed down a lot over the last 30 years. And the question from Darwin is right. Australia, UK. Canada. They were involved in the election 2020, the Biden-Trump election. They pushed the dossier. They also targeted the Trump campaign. And, um.
And I view the UK, Australia and Canada as enemies of the US. What do you, I guess the question is, what are your thoughts about Australia's involvement in the election, the 2020 election? Alexander, Owner or that Downing. Right, that was the 2016 election just as the - 2016, yeah, 2016. - 2016 election, yeah. - That was 2016, yeah. Well, all of that, what do you make of Australia's, it's all, yeah, all relative, yeah. What do you make of Australia's connection to all this stuff from 2016 going all the way up to 2020? I don't know Alex, look I've got a very small YouTube channel so I don't know if I'm really safe to say much on this point. You need to see that? Okay. But Alexander Downer was the foreign minister for Australia through the Howard government from '96 I think to 2007.
And I think he was then subsequently like the High Commissioner in London, so the Ambassador to London. And I think it was when he was there that he had this odd meeting with George Papadopoulos that, uh. Played a role in Russia Gate and I don't know if he's ever really Commented or really been asked terribly much. Yeah, we can Australia about that I don't know, maybe you should invite him onto the terrain one day. Sir Biff suit. All right.
I was just going to say we're going to have you again, definitely, Geoff, because we need to discuss Australian foreign policy many times because it's going to become increasingly important. Can I just add one quick? So I think I've just put up on my YouTube channel a podcast I did back in 2021. And actually a week or so after AUKUS was announced, it goes into a lot more detail about the decision and. Foreign policy in Australia. So people might want to check that one out in particular. All right. Definitely check it out. Check out Jeff's YouTube channel. Check out Jeff's sub stack. Jeff Rich, thank you very much for joining us. Thank you.
Um, let's see here. Nico says I replayed the OG MW3 and when Makarov was talking about how. Russia will take over all of Europe. I realized Vladimir Makarov is based on Vladimir Putin. The entire war is Newlands fantasy. They treat war as a video game. I'm not familiar with this. It looks as if you're talking about some fictional character in some novel or film or something, or video game. And this distorts our understanding of facts and of their policies. I think that is absolutely correct.
I'm not going to pretend I know specifically what you're referring to, you know, the work of fiction that you're referring to there. Our sparky says do not defy Israel sparky says build a better world for bricks. Or five super chats in a row from spark. This is not actually always true. I mean, there have been…as a British person, you know, we're fairly close to Australia here, and it has always had a sort of radical edge, even in the sort of late period of the British Empire, late 19th, early 20th century. There are always people…
in Australia who were kicking back in some kind of ways, because you need to know about the history of how Australia was built up by the British, the kind of people who went there. They sense, they see some part of Australia always, as they would say, wanting to take a walk on the wild side. It's not quite as conformist a society as many people imagine.
Yeah, Lou Reed. Take a walk on the wild side. Robert, thank you. Thank you for that. That membership to the drag community. Elsa says thank you gentlemen and jungle jinx is hard to see Australia is anything but a vessel We've been involved in every US military adventure most of which had nothing to do as a nation. How Australia was committed to two world wars by the British king. I suspect that in both cases, especially the second one, they would have decided anyway if it had been put to them that they wanted to be a part of it because of the issues involved. But the fact is the king just went ahead and just issued, you know, declarations of war, and the British just assumed that the state Australians would loyally follow.
And sure enough they did. It does seem astonishing, given that by this point Australia was already, to a great extent, an independent state with its own government, its own parliament, its own laws, its own public opinion. You would have thought that there would be at least some murmurs of concern and reflection from the Australian people about the way in which they were committed, especially after, Disasters like Gallipoli and that kind of thing. Alex Yeah. Jungle Jain also says, No one is kicking back in Oz, not against the US. All right, thank you, Jungle Gin. All right, that is Sparky says, I agree with Alexander, as for historical Australia goes, but not of late. Thank you for that Sparky.
- That is everything, Alexander. I'm just gonna ask you one quick question and then we're gonna sign off. And it has to do with Macron and his statement. - Yeah. - Alexander, what do you make of Macron's statements Troops or EU troops possibly entering into the conflict in Ukraine? Your thoughts? Alexander M : Well, I think it is first of all a symptom of panic. I mean, they can see the way in which the situation in Ukraine is now accelerating out of their control, so it's panic. But people who are in panic – and you know, he called this urgent meeting, did the Elize Palace, brought people from all 20 countries to Ukraine.
Come along and attend. that the Russians are coming, and we've got to stop them on the Niebuhr or somewhere else. So I could just quite easily see the political leaders in France…
Germany, of course, enthusiastically embracing this, wanting to send troops into Ukraine. Now, various governments – Sweden, for example, I believe Germany as well – have said that to do this. Really, they've already got massive protests on the borders with Ukraine, farmers protesting. It isn't just, apparently, farmers. People of Poland, right across Poland, are becoming angry. And, you know, they're flying Soviet flags and fitting up pictures of Putin, which, you
about Poland. You would know how extraordinary that is. So, I mean, I can understand why the Poles are not, you know, rushing to welcome this. But, you know, I can't help but think that Macron, in his panic, is talking for a very strong sentiment, very strongly felt, in Brussels, and within some… Factions within the German government as well, and they might do it. I mean, it's the sort of crazy thing that these people could do. It would be the most dangerous thing one could possibly imagine. They think again, perhaps, that the Russians are bluffing and simply sending troops into Ukraine; the Russians will simply back off. The Russians have been... Launching missile strikes, searching for French mercenaries who they already say are NATO soldiers and have been killing them.
So, you know, the Russians are not bluffing, and I can easily see how the situation could completely escalate out of control and could become unbelievably dangerous. Macron, we were looking to him before the war started to impart some sense, I think, with this effect. At the moment. And definitely the EU is panicking. I think this goes back to the video that I'll have up today. Where we discuss Tom Lungo's article that goes back to the preservation of Europe and trying to keep Europe afloat. And it goes back to the war bonds and the euro bonds and that's…
That's why you see the Europeans really panicking at the collapse of Project Europe. Creed. The US. There will be enormous opposition in the United States to the United States sending troops to Ukraine. There will be enormous opposition in Europe. But the European military is in no condition… This. Anger, fear, they're all a dangerous cocktail. And one sense is that these are how the decision is made.
Of suggests that the situation there is even worse than... know about. So just just just think of that too. Yeah, just a final comment and we'll sign sign off Alexander, I just get the sense that things are moving very fast now. Yeah, I'm not saying this is going to wrap up in a week or in a month, but it does. Does feel like things are accelerating. And I kind of have this sense of... - You know when I listen to Zelensky and all the people around him, I do have this type of Baghdad Bob type of rhetoric.
Sense that that's coming out of them where they're talking up a big game but they're done for. I mean, I don't know if you have the same type of feeling about what's happening. And I'm not saying this is going to end in a week or in a month, but you can feel that something is happening. No. I mean, I absolutely hate this parallel.
You know, this metaphor that people use about the Russian steamroller…going all the way back to the First World War, by the way. But that is what we're now starting to see in Ukraine. The Russians are just driving forward, and of course they didn't expect this. The Western powers, at least the Europeans, didn't imagine that this could possibly happen, and they're freaking out. They're absolutely panicking, and they're sensing that the Americans might not be there for them, and might not be able to come to their rescue. They're seeing all their great plans and strategies and ideas turning to dust, and you're right, the pace of events is accelerating. When each of us publish our videos today, we will be providing more details of that,
See, this literally…the situation now is changing by the hour. And you know, Baghdad Bob, 31,000 dead Ukrainians. I mean, really? I mean, if that is not an example of that, what is? One final question about the UK. Lord Cameron, he was at the meeting with Macron. Is the UK in any position to send troops to... To Ukraine or West Ukraine or anything like that? Well, it can send troops, but it can't send many troops, and it can't send many tanks. And the one part of the British military that still has some viability is the British air force, but apparently even that is not in a particularly good way. Apparently only half the planes work.
And there aren't even enough pilots to fly those. So you know, I mean, there are problems, you know, all of those. I mean, there are problems. We can send troops, but I mean, you know, not enough, not by any means enough. And why would we want to? I mean, it would be an absolute disaster for us. And I have to say, I think that, again, if the British public, which has been quiescent about this issue, because the entire media is united in support of it, but if the British
was suddenly confronted with a decision to send troops to Ukraine. I think you start to see the unease that now exists and which has been spreading for a long time. You don't see Ukrainian flags in front of houses as you used to, you know, a year ago. I mean, they've all disappeared. You'd see all that nervousness and doubt and worry and fear. It would finally burst out into the open. If George Galloway is elected to Parliament on Thursday, then you will have a powerful anti-war voice, anti-Ukraine war choice voice, for the first time in the House of Commons.
Yeah. All right. And always keep in mind this is Macron. He can say one thing today and say something else tomorrow. That's very much his style. Yes. And of course the other thing though is that Ficso, the Slovak leader, called him out. What do you mean? I mean he… He disclosed that this is Macron's thinking even before Macron actually went ahead and said it. C. Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, because Fito said he's not going to have any part of it. Type of intervention, incursion into Ukraine. Obviously, Orban is not going to have any part of it. Hungary is not going to have any part of it. You already mentioned Poland, it's got all these issues with the border and the farmers. I don't know if you saw the images at the EU headquarters the other day with the farmers. Absolutely. This could break the...
If they do this it will break the EU. That's my own personal view. I mean, you know, assuming we get through it with that World War Three breaking out, then the most likely outcome of it will be that it will break the EU. If the EU starts committing European troops to fight in Ukraine, then, as I said, it's the one thing that would galvanise the entire European public against it, and if it ends in disaster, well, I can't see how the EU could get out of it. Panicky, frightened, angry people. Of crazy things.
And I'm sure there'll be a lot of opposition. But you know, we can't assume this isn't going to happen. Unfortunately on this issue they've been on the escalatory escalator all the time, and this is the obvious last point of it. Alex : Yeah, one final comment, question. Baerbach didn't expect the sanctions to work. Macron probably doesn't expect the military. To win either, but Europe could do it. Yeah, absolutely. I mean, you know, the the Biden administration is now telling us they're not wanting to cripple the Russian economy because it's too systemic for the world economy. You're kidding me?
They really didn't believe that it would. We mustn't take all of this seriously. I think, as I said, they're panicking, and this is a sign of panic, and a sign of how bad the situation on the ground actually is. But it's very dangerous. Merely raising these ideas is very dangerous, and let's hope that calmer, saner heads step Stop this taking us where it seems to be going. Yeah, it could also be Macron threatening the United States. His own way, you know, either you give us a 61 billion or we're going to go in. So he may be trying to thread into the house in Mike Johnson, which Mike Johnson will have Call his bluff.
Exactly that. He's a very clever man who deep down is really a fool. I mean that's that's been the consistent reality of Macron throughout his presidency. Jupiter. Little Napoleon. Alright. Well, I believe he's popular. He's down about 17%. He's running away from farmers. I mean, yeah. All right, any final thoughts? Alexandre, we'll sign off for today. No, I mean, just to get back to what Jeff Ridge was saying, I mean, the parallels between Germany and Australia are striking. And again, you see the nervousness of some people in these…
countries, that they want to show their loyalty to America, and to…not really to America, let's put that aside…to the entire collective West project, because they don't have that rootedness in their own countries to understand the…you know, to see things in terms of their own countries' interests. And that's why we're getting all these crazy decisions that are being made. The one place – I want to say this again – where you actually get intelligent debate about Ukraine is the United States. You actually get articles there of a kind that you will never see. Published in any European country actually strongly disagreeing and challenging the policy. All right, thank you Tim for that. All right, we are going to sign off. Take care everybody.
Thank you to our moderators, by the way. Thank you to all our moderators and thank you to everyone that tuned in for this live stream. Take care.
Transcript generated on 2024-02-29.