Dutton’s prospect of war with China rhetoric inexplicable
Published: Oct 25, 2021 11:23 PM
Australian Defense Minister Peter Dutton Photo: AFP

Australian Defense Minister Peter Dutton Photo: AFP

In an interview published by Sky News Australia on Sunday, Australian Defense Minister Peter Dutton was questioned over the prospect of war with China. Dutton said the potential for war with China is a "question for the Chinese as to whether, such as in Hong Kong, they decide to do something with regard to Taiwan. If that's the case, what's the Americans' response?" He emphasized having an alliance with the US which has been in place for 70 years, Australia needs "to be realistic about that." "We're also a small population of 25 million, and we need to make sure we have the best friends in the world, and we do," Dutton noted.

Dutton, first of all, has called white black. The current cross-Straits tensions are caused by the US constantly provoking China's redline on the Taiwan question and inciting secessionist forces on the Taiwan island to confront the Chinese mainland.

Although he didn't put it bluntly, Dutton was actually saying Australia will follow the US in flaring up the Taiwan question. It's jaw-dropping that Dutton's so-called "realistic" decision is to bring the 25 million Australians into great uncertainties, including the risks of a military conflict. 

Some senseless Australian politicians have been talking about a potential military conflict with China and pushing Australia to make war preparations. Hyping the possibility of war is easy for a reckless politician, and may help score some cheap political points. But does it make any sense?

When asked what role US allies in Asia Pacific can play if a war breaks out over Taiwan between China and the US, Scott Ritter, a former US Marine Corps intelligence officer, told the Global Times in a recent interview that currently there is no role that Australia can play. Australia doesn't have a military capable of winning a war with China and its economy couldn't survive a war with China. "They've got six submarines, they can put four of them into the water and China will sink all four in a week," Ritter said.

The Morrison government has gone beyond words, but made real war preparations: As a non-nuclear state, it has taken steps to pursue nuclear-powered submarines through a new trilateral enhanced security partnership with the US and UK. It is also moving to produce its own guided missiles. All are worrying signs that deserve vigilance.

"It's inexplicable that Australia blindly ties itself to the US so tightly. It reflects the country's immaturity and lack of wisdom to deal with complicated situations in the global geopolitical arena. Australia needs to grow up," Chen Hong, a professor and director of the Australian Studies Centre of East China Normal University, told the Global Times.

Dutton called allies such as the US "the best friends." But a genuine best friend won't instigate Australia to confront the latter's biggest trading partner and its top export destination, nor will a true best friend attempt to weaponize Australia, encouraging it to become cannon fodder in a military conflict with China. More ridiculously, US exports to China of wine, cotton, timber and wood have increased over the past year amid a strained China-Australia relationship. Australia's loss has turned out to be the gain of its best friend.