Paul Keating spits his AUKUS dummy

Silly old coot:

Former prime minister Paul Keating has escalated his attack on the new AUKUS security partnership unveiled by the Morrison government, unleashing fury on his own side for supporting the deal and characterising it as the “surrender” of Australia’s control of its military.

In a no-holds-barred statement, the former Labor leader said Prime Minister Scott Morrison has led Australia away from the Asian century and back towards a “jaded and faded Anglosphere”, with the current ALP leadership “complicit in [a] historic backslide”.

Mr Keating takes particular aim at Labor’s foreign affairs spokeswoman Senator Penny Wong, saying that in her five years in the role she has “by her muted complicity with the government’s foreign policy and posture… neutered Labor’s traditional stance as to Australia’s right to strategic autonomy”.

He accused Mr Morrison of “shopping” Australia’s sovereignty by “locking the country and its military forces into the force structure of the United States” through the planned nuclear submarine acquisition.

“It takes a monster level of incompetence to forfeit military control of one’s own state”, he said, “but this is what Scott Morrison and his government have managed to do”

…While acknowledging a “more aggressive international posture” on the part of the current Chinese regime, he asserted that “by determinedly casting China as an enemy… [the government is] creating an enemy where none exists.”

A few points:

  • China’s 14 conditions to end democracy are a direct threat to Australian liberalism. If that’s not worthy of defence then what is?.
  • If we do not beat the CCP back in the region, then there is NO CHANCE that Australian liberalism will prevail at home. There is NO military posture of which Australia is capable to defend itself against an Asian CCP empire.
  • If that requires greater integration with the US military then so be it.

There is no choice other than being a satrap within the US liberal empire or a satrap within the Chinese illiberal empire.

Australians prefer the former. Keating prefers the latter.

Move along. Nothing to see here.

Houses and Holes

Comments

  1. In the short to medium term AUKUS techno transfers make Australia more dependent on the USA/ UK . In the long term less dependent if we get it right.
    The thing is in the short to medium term we were always going to be overly dependent on the USA anyway , we have been for 50 years.
    What does Keating think and Independent less aligned Australia looks like from a defense perspective?
    Or is he just another boomer male with a bruised ego who cant accept he was wrong and would rather keep up his facade, than face the truth regardless of what happens in 20 years time.

    • Yes: ‘As has now become very clear since Thursday’s ‘that fella’ announcement, the diplomatic achievement includes annoying much of Asia and Europe, especially our friends or former friends in France.’
      There are satraps and satraps. It would be nice to be a cool, calculating one, not a drivelling, incoherent slogan merchant.

  2. He’s not entirely wrong.

    We should be being amazing neighbours to the Indos, PNG, Filo’s, Malay, SG, TH, VN, etc.

    We could fairly easily shift the bulk of our trade to them if we’d actually put some effort into it.

    Half a billion friendly neighbours have to count for something when push comes to shove.

    • Locus of ControlMEMBER

      Agree. China is not the be all & end all in Asia. Plus, being good friends with our neighbours puts a buffer between us & China.

      • +1

        On another thread here someone mentioned how many Covid vaccines the country has/has ordered and how that must mean they want to take away our freedoms. Or something. We need to be providing vaccines and assistance to all our neighbours in SEA and the South Pacific. We really need to get back on the front-foot here with being a good neighbour, as we were up until around 1996.

        Keating used to be a hero of mine. Now I think he’s just a twat.

    • I agree , the problem is we have neglected those relationships for so many years , in favour of china mostly.
      We would be in a much better position if we had put as much effort into trade with indonesia as we had with china.
      But in the short term we would have made less money.

  3. TailorTrashMEMBER

    What is it with Keating and Rudd?
    Too many red carpet trips to Beijing ?
    “Security in Asia not from Asia “ Choose your garrisons
    Chinese .Indonesian or even Indian ?
    Guess their vision is of a great Asian Island where they are still princelings or the great wise ones .

    • Meh, changes nothing. In any large scale conflict with China we’d have been a target anyhow giving our history since Cook & China’s aim to extend control into Indo-Pacific

    • Strange that he kept referring to the Australian population as being 23M despite our population being 25M.

      Then again, our population does contain 2M people of Chinese descent….

    • Thanks for the link. Typical threatening, bullying Chicom. “Listen to me”, and his innuendo of “work it our for yourself” and foaming at the mouth ranting.

      Thugs, thugs, thugs.

    • Watched your link and the interview was interesting. Mr Gao had some difficulties with the language but merely stated the obvious. Pine Gap wasn’t mentioned but this is a vital US installation.
      As for Mr Grant it was not a good performance. He should have drawn a lot more out the encounter.
      I can see why he has his image on the MB pickle jar.

  4. “China’s 14 conditions to end democracy are a direct threat to Australian liberalism. If that’s not worthy of defence then what is?”
    How does not buying US/UK subs = “not worthy of defence”?

    “If we do not beat the CCP back in the region, …” What does “beat them back” even mean?

    I think most who are against this, is because the threat we’ll have no choice but to join the US, in any war with China regardless of how ill advised it may be.

    We don’t don’t need what the UK / US is trying to sell, we could still support the US against China if it was warranted.

    Hi Ho, Hi Ho, it’s off to war we go….

    • “I think most who are against this, is because the threat we’ll have no choice but to join the US, in any war with China regardless of how ill advised it may be.”
      We have been in this position for many years before AUKUS.

      • Sure, but a war that will make all the others, other than ww1 & 2, look like a police keeping exercises.

    • I think the issue is whether Australia could ever make a credible claim to be neutral.

      Had that been possible we might have developed a policy which could see us sail through any war in the same way that Sweden and Switzerland did in World War II.

      New Zealand might be able to make such a credible claim (a) because it is more remote and less strategically important, and (b) because it has taken a more independent stance since the 1980s thereby building its credibility.

      But given where Australia is now (or was two weeks ago) no-one would have ever believed an Australian declaration of independence or neutrality. Whatever claims might have been made to the contrary, Australia would have been seen as an ally of the US and treated as such. There’s just too much history to suddenly turn around and pretend otherwise.

      The issue then is whether it is better to proceed with a formal declaration of alignment or to proceed with a tacit understanding.

      The danger of the latter is that the US might use it as a pretext to deny Australia help. “OK. You want to be neutral. Don’t look to us for help.”

      And the threat might not come from China. In the event of large scale war, other opportunistic actors might seek to grab a slice of Australia. Consider the fate of Finland during World War II. Russia used the chaos of the broader conflict to grab their slice of it.

      Consider also the fates of Belgium, Norway, Denmark and the Netherlands. For all their desire to avoid conflicts they were still invaded because they were strategically valuable for one reason or another.

      In summary:

      – a formal alignment with the US might make it more likely that Australia will be targeted by the Chinese in a war with China;

      – a tacit alignment (which cannot be credibly disowned) would leave some of that risk plus the risk of attack by other opportunistic actors;

      – if it finds itself in a bind, the US is more likely to honour formal obligations than to provide support under a tacit understanding; and

      – if there is a US/China war and the US loses, then – as others have noted – Australia would be defenceless anyway.

      There are no perfect solutions. So take your pick.

      Of course, all that might change if there were regime change in China. Is China’s current belligerence a reflection of fundamental Chinese beliefs, or a product of an autocratic regime facing economic pressures?

      • It’s not a “tacit alignment” when you have bases they need to wage war in the region (remember, they don’t want to fight a war in their own backyard). If they are not prepared to defend bases they need then no agreement, however formal, will save you.

        Edit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ANZUS

        • Doesn’t that work both ways?

          The presence of bases means it’s even more difficult to make any credible claim to be unaligned. In which case, what’s the downside of further alignment?

          In a perfect world it might have been nice to be unaligned. But that wasn’t the starting point of the current game.

          And how might it play out in the case of attack from a secondary opportunistic aggressor:

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ANZUS#United_States_suspends_obligations_to_New_Zealand

          • NZ made a choice so its agreement with the US was annulled. We still had one with the US – that’s my point.

            ”The presence of bases means it’s even more difficult to make any credible claim to be unaligned. In which case, what’s the downside of further alignment?”
            The price tag that is still to be determined for buying nuclear subs and the likely consequences that flow from that decision.

          • The price tag that is still to be determined for buying nuclear subs and the likely consequences that flow from that decision.

            More precisely, “the likely marginal or differential consequences that flow from that decision” (i.e. the consequences that arise from submarine purchase that would not have arisen otherwise).

            That’s the issue. What are the marginal consequences?

            It’s not sufficient to say that there might be bad outcomes. One needs to consider which of those bad outcomes might realistically have been avoided, and then to compare them with any marginal benefits.

            Those who support the purchase would argue that the marginal consequences are minimal, although there is clearly room for disagreement here.

            What isn’t sensible is to compare the submarine purchase with an alternative that was never possible anyway.

          • ” More precisely, “the likely marginal or differential consequences that flow from that decision” (i.e. the consequences that arise from submarine purchase that would not have arisen otherwise). …..
            One needs to consider which of those bad outcomes might realistically have been avoided, and then to compare them with any marginal benefits.
            Those who support the purchase would argue that the marginal consequences are minimal, although there is clearly room for disagreement here.“

            Of course. I have always appreciated your musings on real democracy Stephen. What is interesting here is that important decisions appear to have been made already without these consequences being understood.

      • “The danger of the latter is that the US might use it as a pretext to deny Australia help. “OK. You want to be neutral. Don’t look to us for help.”

        Maybe, however the only country who would be in a position to threaten us is China, though right now I doubt they’d have the logistical support to invade us and when they do I’d be surprised that the US would be pissed enough to allow our strategic position to be controlled by the Chinese. So I would feel fairly certain that if we were threatened the US is likely to be involved as I cannot fathom how the situation would be just us and China.

  5. ”If we do not beat the CCP back in the region, then there is NO CHANCE that Australian liberalism will prevail at home. There is NO military posture of which Australia is capable to defend itself against an Asian CCP empire.“

    We do not need nuclear subs to “beat them back in the region.” This has more to do with the US wanting to co-opt someone else into a broader effort to maintain its interests globally (inclusive of buying its expensive military kit) and to fight an enemy anywhere but in its own back yard.

    Do we need US protection? Of course but, there are already a string of US bases encircling China and that includes considerable assets/bases in Australia that the US needs (and an existing strategic relationship). The idea we need to buy nuclear subs to get US protection is complete BS.

    PS: I do agree PK is greatly diminished though

    • “to fight an enemy anywhere but in its own back yard.” What? That would only happen after the defeat of all SEAsia and the US retreat from the region.

      “there are already a string of US bases encircling China”. Yeah but they’re already lost. In the event of missiles flying all those bases will be missiled into the dirt on the first day. This is Chinas entire strategy. Kick the US out of the first island chain. Oz is a bit far away, not being first island chain, we would get a few missiles but nothing terminal.

      We are the fallback position. Yeah, A2AD is a success. The first island chain will be a sh!tstorm and we’re already falling back.

      Welcome to reality.

      • “We are the fallback position.”
        You are undervaluing our location on the map – a lot. We are needed to choke off supply/transit points.
        We also have a number of important bases that are vital for intelligence gathering and communications. Outside of Pine Gap and Kojarena, the US will know that the Naval communications array north of Exmouth (Harold E Holt base) is a vital backup should the Chinese takeout their satellites (which is highly likely).

    • Jumping jack flash

      “The idea we need to buy nuclear subs to get US protection is complete BS.”

      We dont need them, we want them. The French ones were a bust, for many and varied reasons I’m sure. I guess we need to ream the pollies et al for their bumbling of the project and then move on with the new subs and hope those ones wont be bungled as well.

      When i go to work i am astounded every day that we as a people and as a nation actually get anything done. Ever.

      • ”We don’t need them, we want them.”
        Mate, I am merely commenting on the connection some seem to make (admittedly not here so much) between US protection and the subs (ie: the need for us to “step up” as a partner as some have called it). Semantics aside, why do we want them? What is the cost of this thing that we want? Will it provide the benefits we seek and are there better ways of achieving this?

        ”I guess we need to ream the pollies et al for their bumbling of the project and then move on with the new subs and hope those ones wont be bungled as well.”
        That’s a lot of trust given the warning signs are there for a repeat already. Whenever governments start making decisions in secret (especially ones with a track record of incompetence), you need to question them even harder.

        ”When i go to work i am astounded every day that we as a people and as a nation actually get anything done. Ever.”
        LOL, your work sounds interesting. Not sure if you have these people at your work but, have you ever encountered someone that would be more productive if they did nothing?

  6. “Or is he just another boomer male with a bruised ego who cant accept he was wrong”
    Must be his first time? He needn’t worry the generations below have plenty of experience with being shafted and sold out. By our own elders no less. But not in the name of defense or anything worthwhile, just for house prices and retirements.

    • The footage of pk daughter hanging out in epsteyns’ NY townhouse – after his Florida conviction- may add yet another level of complexity.

  7. Unvaccinated Treated As Sub-Human

    A Chinese future was scary 18 months ago but internal passports are coming, forced experimental medical treatments, free speech all but dead it’s not just woke culture but anything out of the mainstream your life will be destroyed, revealed that Australian soldiers committed a litany of sadistic war crimes across the Middle East.

    Australia an isolated island failed miserably in keeping COVID out, now planning to sacrifice the weak for the greater good.

    China is where the strong have made small sacrifices in order to protect the week. A mere 4 deaths from COVID in the past 5 months out of a population of 1.4 billion.

  8. It all depends on whether you would rather feel safe and protected within Asia
    Or safe and protected from Asia.
    If Australia were a significant member of an alliance of Asian countries than there would be plenty of ports where our subs could refuel safely and conduct covert missions that don’t necessarily need to begin and end in Perth or Darwin
    If we don’t need a 10K+ mile range than we also don’t need nuclear subs and we don’t need 7KTon to 10KTon displacement especially not when one looks 30 years forward to an era of advanced AI capabilities.
    Autonomous small (even disposable subs) could fulfill most of our operational requirements but why think about the Australian Navy (and the support Australian industry) developing advanced bleeding edge capability when we can buy the US’s Cold war era hand-me-downs.

  9. Jumping jack flash

    Im a Keating fanboi but he increasingly looks like he may have lost a few marbles over the years and his razor sharpness has now dulled a bit.

    I get his point but if what we are led to believe is true then China cannot be viewed as anything less than latently hostile at worst, or selfish and self-serving at best, and we really need to plan our future with that in mind.

    • Unvaccinated Treated As Sub-Human

      Just compare the number of wars Australia has involved itself in over the past 50 years with China.

      Australia is the belligerent, hostile threat to the world not China.

      • The CCP has killed millions of its people and continues to do so. Mao’s efforts were up there with the very worst of the 20th century. The only reason they haven’t ventured abroad is because they were not capable of doing so. Now, they are, or will be soon.

  10. Keating has pocketed millions from China since his inglorious exit from federal politics.

    He left the federal ALP as an unappealing Diet Coke style alternative to the full sugar neoliberalism of the LNP.

    His main achievement as PM was ushering in a decade of Howard.

    His influence has waned to such a point now that the CCP have forgotten he exists.

  11. Paul Keating is as interesting as ever and it would not be wise to dismiss his remarks. Australian knowledge of China and of Asia is not at a high level. But as a rapidly developing economic area it is of more importance to us than the overripe economies of the US and the UK.

    The UK has withdrawn from the EU for not particularly sound reasons and is now trying to cobble together some way to pay the bills. Old newspapers tell the story of the British military withdrawal “East of Suez” in favour of joining the EU and Europe and how they threw NZ and Australia under the proverbial bus in their haste to get out. So now they’re slithering back with enough high falutin tosh to fill a dictionary.
    And weren’t the French the original American allies back in ‘76 and all that.

    In spite of the obligatory stern words if you listen closely you can probably hear all sorts of snickers and hoots of laughter emanating from behind the doors of the Chinese Foreign ministry.

  12. ErmingtonPlumbingMEMBER

    Just like Sweeper kinda always says,…Fk Keating!
    He always has been a traitor and true enemy of the Australian working class.

    • Yeah the reforms of his era which boosted Aust productivity so much had nothing to do with the working class I suppose in your estimation. Before him we were headed straight to poor white trashville under the protectionist regime in place with its sheltered workshop stagnant industries everywhere. Then we have Mabo, the royal commission into deaths in custody, other reconciliation work I don’t have recall of; superannuation for workers; APEC and finding Australia’s place in Asia; oh and the dole was higher back then – but that wouldnt interest workers in your estimation I suppose.

  13. Paul Keating.

    Has he ever done a day’s work in his life?
    Has he ever done a kind deed for anyone else?
    Has he ever spoken nicely about someone without being paid for it?

    • Check out the speech he gave at the ceremony for the return of the Unknown Soldier, and his Redfern speech.

      • I did check out both those speeches. Interesting speeches, but it made me feel ill that Keating would say all that about Aboriginals and then do nothing for them. He is a disgrace.
        Someone else wrote those speeches and Keating just read them to make himself look good at the time.

    • PK will be remembered for ensuring Howard, and not Hewson, became PM.
      Some may call that a kind deed. Some may call that the the political disaster we didn’t deserve.

  14. Yeah there is something to see here – all your strawman arguments.
    Strawman argument #1: China’s 14 conditions to end democracy are a direct threat to Australian liberalism. If that’s not worthy of defence then what is? Me: we have been aware of grey zone warfare for 5 years now. And already effectively combatting it.
    Strawman argument #2: There is NO military posture of which Australia is capable to defend itself against an Asian CCP empire. Me: You assume an Asian CCP empire therefore we should go nuclear. Not a reasonable assumption at all.