Contributed by Joe Montero
The elite that dominates the United States is running scared. Two prominent issues reveal this. One is the fear of the rise of China, and the other is what is the future of the economy and politics at home. The second one is at present being fought out in the battle over the government debt ceiling. Both are signs of the new uncertainty.
Australia is caught up in this. There would be no massive expenditure on nuclear submarines and military participation in the South China Sea and the Pacific. there would be no trade skirmishing with China otherwise. Julian Assange would not be languishing in prison, nor would Australian citizen, Daniel Duggan, be languishing in a Sydney cell waiting for extradition to the United States, to be accused of training Chinese pilots. He faces the prosect of 60 years imprisonment.
Australia would not be still mimicking American economic policy. A change of government from the Morrison Coalition to Albanese Labor has brought about little change. Australia is treated like a vassal and our on political elite enthusiastically accepts it, even if it comes at considerable economic and political cost.
We are being dragged down an abyss because the United States finds itself to be a declining power. This is the outcome of self-made failures and not the fault of an imagined enemy.
Economically, the United States has for too long and too heavily depended on debt created by being the world’s lender. It has overextended itself, and the engine of its past growth is slowing down. Part of this is transforming from a nation to which the world once owed a huge sum, into one that now owes the world. The United States owes the governments of other countries around $US6.9 trillion. Its debt to the private sector, mainly big business, is $US24.64 trillion. There is no way this can be paid this back. The financial system shows signs of increasing instability.
The following image by Julie Peasley shows how many one-dollar bills it would take to stack up to the total U.S. debt of $31.4 trillion. This help to visualise how serious this debt is.
powerful lenders are pressing Washing to find the money. One way is to use diplomatic and military to find new sources of profit overseas. Another is to cut back government expenditure at home, to use taxpayers’ money to prop up the financial system.
Much of its manufacturing has gone abroad, and the lead in research and knowledge enjoyed is no something of the past. There is no alternative engine to the financial system to kick start the economy. This drives the failing economy.
Growing economic weakness in relation to the rest of the world means growing diplomatic weakness, and this has translated into greater reliance on military means. But overstretch has led to blunders and defeats. Each war that the United States has been directly involved in recently has been a dismal failure. This is the story of Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, and Yemen.
The United States no longer looks like an invincible power, and the world is breaking away from its orbit. The most important current development is that many countries are moving towards disengaging their economies form the American dollar and building new trading agreements among themselves. This in turn, shifts the political landscape.
Five major economies, China, Russia, India, South Africa, and Brazil are reviving their BRICS alliance, and at last count 17 other countries are applying to join, and others are interested. This makes up a very large part of the global economy and more than three quarters of the world’s population. This is apart from the Belt and Road Initiative now involving 140 nations across all continents. This will facilitate cooperation in building state of the art transport system, power generation, ports, and more, for the member nations.
This will establish a trading block from which the United States, and its satellites, including Australia, face the risk of being locked out. You don’t need a crystal ball to see that this will have serious negative economic consequences.
This tectonic shift is taking place because nations are coming to see that being tied to the United States leaves them at a disadvantage. It has proved a barrier to growth. They are worried about a default on debt, which would cause great damage to their own economies. Economic ties have come together with political pressure to adopt United States economic and foreign policy is an issue of contention. The widespread use of sanctions, some 39 countries now, has caused a lot of harm to ordinary people, and compromised the sovereignty of nations. This does not exclude sanctions on European nations.
Consider Australia’s situation. Our potential for developing trading partnerships is harmed. Our economy must travel along the lines dictated from Washington. Australia is dragged into every war and military showdown, and in in the nature trading relationships with other nations. There has been a cost, and the future cost will be much higher, if our political elite continues to lock us into our vassal status.
The China bogey is as much a means to divert attention from the real problem, as it is an effort to prevent the rise of China and the east as the leading economic force. Both are impossible. Reality will impose itself, and there will be no other choice but to eventually adapt to it.
Those who believe that war can stop the change are dreaming. Washington and its few remaining friends do not have the military strength to prevail. Europe is divided, weak, and unreliable. The same can be said about Japan.
We can see all this playing out in the proxy war in Ukraine. The United States and its allies can’t win this. Imagine what would happen if they took on a far more formidable China, and most of the rest of the world along with it? The only alternative left for the United States would be to create a nuclear holocaust, where everyone would lose. This is no path to victory.
There is no reason to be afraid of change. It can lead to a better world. The rise of a global politics where no one nation can dominate and operates on rules practices that guarantee mutual respect, is far more likely to cool tensions, prevent war and foster superior economic outcomes.
A global economy where much of the world is no longer kept in backwardness, where there are unequal trading arrangements, and crippling debt are no longer the order of the day, would mean many more opportunities for success based on mutual advantage.
Change of this sort is in Australia’s interest. China is already our biggest trading partner. Fostering rather than jeopardising it, is the wiser course to take, and it would lead to less isolation and more opportunities with other nations. It would also cut down the fear, combat opportunities for the rise of racism, and unite us as a people.
These are worthwhile aims to reach for. But doing so means breaking out to Washington’s orbit. This doesn’t mean making the United Sates our enemy. It means being independent in a family of nations, acting responsibly and respecting all.