Australia should be wary of 'Ukraine Trap' set by US
Published: Feb 07, 2023 08:32 PM
Illustration: Chen Xia/Global Times

Illustration: Chen Xia/Global Times

Former Australia diplomat John Lander said in a recent article, "The United States is not preparing to go to war against China. The United States is preparing Australia to go to war against China." Apparently the US is motivated to push the "Ukrainization" of China's surrounding area. 

The US has recently become aware of the benefits of weakening Russia through proxy wars. By fighting a proxy war on the Ukrainian battlefield, the US has united its Western allies to the greatest extent while avoiding a direct military conflict with Russia, repaired the rift in NATO caused by the Donald Trump administration, and forced Europe to undertake the costs of militarily confronting China. It has tied Europe to the US chariot and made it serve US global hegemony. Moreover, as a global hegemon experiencing relative decline, the US is increasingly incapable of restricting and suppressing emerging countries. Therefore, the US hopes to do the same in the Asia-Pacific region, as it has done in Europe by setting up strategic traps and war quagmire to weaken China.

In doing so, the US has continuously lured Australia, Japan and South Korea to the forefront of military confrontation with China. The US has fortified Australia through so-called industrial integration and military deployment, turning Australia into an outpost of confronting China. 

The US hopes to use Australia to drag China into a costly and protracted strategic trap which is hard to break, consume China's comprehensive strength and economic potential to the greatest extent with the lowest risk, and isolate China in the Asia-Pacific region. By improving the interoperability and integration with Australia's military and political departments, the US has strengthened its penetration and control over the Australian Defence Force, policy making department and domestic intelligence department. Washington is trying to drive Australia to the forefront of war with China while the US can gain without a fight.

But the US' conspiracy to "Ukrainize" the Asia-Pacific region will not succeed.

First of all, China has the ability and confidence to resolve differences through peaceful consultations with neighboring countries, and avoid falling into the so-called "Ukraine trap" and defeat the US' plot to block and weaken China through a proxy war. The Ukraine crisis is partly due to the US-led NATO's geopolitical competition strategy of encroaching on Russia's strategic space, and partly due to Russia's failing to properly resolve diplomatic disputes with Ukraine. However, there is no multilateral military organization similar to NATO in the Asia-Pacific region, and China's neighbors are unwilling to pull chestnuts out of the fire for the US under the risk of becoming battlefields. The US thus lacks the opportunity to "Ukrainize" them.

Second, China's neighboring countries do not want to fall victim to US' "Ukrainization." Instead, they hope to maintain a balance between China and the US and avoid turning to either side.

The new Australian government has also reset relations with China and is unwilling to go too far on the road of confronting China. There have been some signs of recovery in China-Australia ties lately. 

After all, a military conflict with China will be too costly and unbearable. Australia is far away from China, and there is no geopolitical conflict or competition for regional dominance. Australia's allying with the US to confront China is mainly due to its dependence on the US' security protection and its strategic suspicion of China.

The US model of proxy war will not work in the Asia-Pacific region. It is the region's popular desire to reject proxy wars and resolve differences through peaceful consultations. Australian people oppose war and yearn for peace, and thus they will not easily become US' mercenaries or strategic pawns. Just as former Australian prime minister Malcolm Fraser said, the US is "Australia's dangerous ally." Pulling the chestnut out of the fire for the US and engaging in a proxy war with China will only hurt itself, leading to serious inflation, fiscal deficits and damaging Australian people's livelihoods and welfare. Besides, proxy wars can easily escalate into direct military conflicts. Regional wars can spill over to the global politics and economy, causing immeasurably heavy losses and even triggering a nuclear war.

The author is an adjunct research fellow at the China University of Mining and Technology. opinion@globaltimes.com.cn