Australian Citizens Party Media Release, Thursday, 2 February 2023
“The United States is not preparing to go to war against China. The United States is preparing Australia to go to war against China.”
This was how retired Australian Ambassador John Lander opened his address last month to a virtual gathering of distinguished American foreign policy, diplomatic, defence and economic experts, called the Committee for the Republic. The Committee describes itself as “a citizen-based, non-partisan, nonprofit organisation founded in 2003 [which] sponsors speakers monthly on challenges to the American Republic, including the military-industrial complex, too-big-to-fail banks, campaign finance, and US competitiveness”, and “an organisation that challenges the bipartisan consensus in support of foreign wars”. Its board includes luminaries from public service in the US Congress and government departments, academia, international institutions, law and economics.
The Committee sent out the following invitation to attend the virtual Salon event featuring John Lander:
For 160 years after ratification of the Constitution, the United States stood aloof from defense treaties following President George Washington’s Farewell Address: “The great rule of conduct for us, in regard to foreign nations, is, in extending our commercial relations, to have with them as little political connection as possible.” Then-Secretary of State and future President John Quincy Adams amplified the Farewell Address in his 4 July 1821, address to Congress: We do not race abroad in search of monsters to destroy; and, while we smile on freedom and independence everywhere, we fight only to maintain our own. Otherwise, the thinker will bow to the armored knight—liberty to domination by force of arms.
The United States first broke ranks from the foreign policy of Washington and Quincy Adams in 1949 with NATO. The 1951 United States Security Treaty with Australia and New Zealand soon followed. Both departures from the nation’s longstanding foreign policy—that had brought the United States to the summit of prosperity and security—were ill-conceived. The Soviet Union and China were no existential threats to us. We were to them.
Our military establishment, like all others, magnified foreign danger manifold to justify military spending and public salutes to the armored knight. The 1951 ANZUS Security Treaty was followed by the United States’ overthrow of Iran’s popular Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadegh, a CIA sponsored coup in Guatemala, the domino theory to support the French in Vietnam, and the 1955 Taiwan Defense Treaty. Sober second thoughts occasioned President Jimmy Carter’s exit from the latter in 1979. Experience has discredited the domino theory and the follies of the 1953 and 1954 coups in Iran and Guatemala. The raison d’etre of NATO, if there ever was one, ended with the Soviet Union’s dissolution. New Zealand abandoned the ANZUS Treaty in 1986. The United States should follow suit and return to the time-honoured foreign policy of Washington and Quincy Adams with a congressional statute that terminates the treaty (as was done in 1798 to terminate a defense treaty with France antedating the Constitution). Instead, President Biden is provoking China by joining Britain in equipping Australia with nuclear submarines and expanding United States military bases there.
John Lander, a retired Australian ambassador, will present the Australian minority view that discerns no military threat from China and opposes the bought and paid-for Australian establishment that is welcoming the United States with open arms. Mr Lander contributed directly to recognition of the PRC and establishment of diplomatic relations in 1972. He served as Deputy Ambassador in Beijing 1974-76 (providing practical support to the US Liaison Office under George Bush senior). Director of the China Section of the Department of Foreign Affairs on three separate occasions, he personally negotiated Consular relations between Australia and China. Apart from a stint as Australia’s first Ambassador to the Islamic Republic of Iran (1985-88), the better part of his 30-year career was devoted to relations with China. He has become increasingly alarmed at the rapid deterioration in those relations in recent years, particularly when it is couched in the notion that war against China is “inevitable”.
John Lander’s presentation is historic, in that it presented a very different view to Americans than they are accustomed to receiving from Australia. Instead of applauding the US military build-up in Australia and Asia against China as necessary for Australia’s security, he lays bare the truth that the military build-up against China is undermining Australia’s security. He explains that it is provoking an escalation to war in which Australia will be the major target, because US strategists and their Australian collaborators intend to use Australia as a proxy in a war against China, in the way they are using Ukraine as their proxy in the war against Russia, some even boasting of their willingness to fight Russia to the last Ukrainian.
John Lander’s presentation is a very important warning that all Australians and Americans must watch and heed.