Fair Dinkum, an original essay –with highlighting being an imposition by The Editor, Thuppahi
In a recent article in The Australian, the Department of Home Affairs Secretary Michael Pezzullo put forward an argument advocating a war against China as necessary to defend “democracy” and “liberty,” insinuating that China is a moral equivalent to Nazi Germany. The Australian government have sent a clear signal to the world that Australia – acting as a proxy for the United States – is now preparing for a major war against China – and it is very likely to be a Nuclear war.
ZHAO YANNIAN | Protest |1956 | Wood engraving on paper | 38 x 48cm ….. This work depicts a Chinese delegation visiting the Nazi-German consulate in Shanghai in 1933 to protest the killing of innocent people in Europe.
Drawing on a speech by former US Army general Douglas MacArthur, Pezzullo insisted such a war should not make one be considered a warmonger since such a war could be “morally justified.” Pezzullo’s knowledge of history is naïve and weak – MacArthur was not the best historical figure to draw on given that he was fired from his job as commander during the Korean War after he recommended using 34 Nuclear weapons on Chinese and Korean territory.
It is deeply troubling that Australia too often plays the “moral justification” card for war, as it did in the War against Iraq, which was a morally unjustified war – not that any US or Australian government minister was ever held accountable. It is time to acknowledge and reject Pezzullo’s argument for what it truly is – anti-China war propaganda designed to rouse Australian nationalism.
The Chinese government are not morally equivalent to Nazis, never were Nazis, and this bizarre attempt to create a “guilt” complex and associate China with Nazi morality and then use this as a moral basis for war is committing the deeply flawed ad Nazium fallacy known as Reductio ad Hitlerum (“resorting to Hitler”). In other words, playing the Nazi card.
Pezzullo’s attempt to associate China with Nazis, echoes a speech made by the anti-China hawk Andrew Hastie who similarly played The Hitler Card in his infamous speech to the Australian Parliament a few years when he accused China of being Nazis. Hastie’s attempt to associate China with Nazism led China to counter their propaganda with a series of propaganda cartoons depicting Australian soldiers slitting the throats of Afghan children. Given that Australia intends to continue playing the Hitler Card fallacy to argue for a war against China, there are whispers this week that a super wealthy Chinese patron of the arts is considering mounting and sponsoring a major art exhibition comprising over 150 “Australian slit-throat artworks” consisting of cartoons, posters, paintings, installation works and films, for a grand travelling exhibition around Asia to counter Australia’s disinformation campaign against China.
No one wants to be associated with Nazism. Hastie’s attempt to ascribe guilt to the Chinese government by association with Nazism is one of the worst fallacy abuses used by Australian politicians today. As is generally accepted in philosophy, the moment one resorts to playing the Hitler Card or Reductio ad Hitlerum, one’s argument is automatically a lost cause. The same fallacy has also been used to associate Donald Trump with Hitler and Nazi ideology. Of course, Trump is not a Nazi.
By playing the Hitler card, Pezzullo and Hastie’s objectives are the same – to build a case for war against China. Pezzullo and Hastie’s attempts to associate Nazi guilt with China is also an Emotional appeal fallacy – a type of red herring argument that attempts to arouse the emotions of Australians to gain acceptance of its conclusion, which is: “It is morally justified for Australia to wage war against China,” which is fallacious and morally corrupt ethics.
Let us be clear. Australia is attempting to argue that a war against China is morally justified based on illogical reasoning. It reveals Australian politicians as demonstrating very little intelligence or critical thinking skills.
In fact, dig further and you find Pezzullo and Hastie – along with the Australian military – have a distorted and weak understanding of modern Chinese history, very likely shaped by anti-China hawks at ASPI, and the insidious American united front that exists in American academics in Modern China history who control and dominate narratives of China in universities across Australia. In truth, Chinese leaders (both Communist and Nationalists) were opposed to Hitler and Nazi ideology from the day he came to power in 1933, many years before Australia and the UK opposed Nazi morality and ideology.
In 1933, a few months after Hitler seized power in Germany, a Chinese delegation including Lu Xun, Song Qingling and Cai Yuanpei went to the German Consulate in Shanghai to protest against Hitler and Nazism for destroying culture and killing innocent people in Europe. Song Qingling, the third wife of Sun Yat-sen, headed the delegation. She and Sun Yat-sen were good friends of Mao Zedong. This protest against the Nazis was depicted in a famous artwork titled Protest (1956) by Zhao Yannian which is celebrated as part of China’s history in the PRC today. Both Chinese communist and Nationalists were unified in their opposition against Nazism just as they were unified in waging war against Japan in WW2. Chinese leaders opposed the Nazis several years before Australia and the UK did so. From 1933 to 1941, over 30,000 Jewish refugees from Europe were accepted into Shanghai at a time when anti-Semitism was popular in the UK.
Woodcut artist Zhao Yannian (赵延年)
This is the right moment to remind Pezzullo and Hastie that while Chinese leaders were opposing Nazi ideology throughout the 1930s, far-right UK political figures, including the British Union of Fascists (BUF), British aristocrats and several right-wing MPs, praised the Nazis, embraced their ideology, idealized Hitler, and were anti-Semitic. There was a time when some Australians also supported the Nazis.
British-Nazi fascist Blackshirts c. 1936. Source: Times of Israel.
The start of the procession of the British Union of Fascists leaving Islip Street in Kentish Town, London, en route to Trafalgar Square, London, England on 4 July 1937. Sir Oswald Mosley is seen in light suit, centre of three marchers, immediately in front of the fascist banner. Source: Times of Israel.
So why does Australia want to wage war against China? It is not because Australia needs to defend its democracy and freedom. China is not a threat to Australian values or our democracy, and never has been.
The reason why Australia wants to go to war against China is that the Australian government cannot accept China’s economic rise, cannot adjust to the new realities of the 21st century, and seeks a return to the old outmoded “rules-based order,” which means a US-led global order in which the US set the rules and China and every other country must play ball or face destruction. In other words, Australia would like China and the Chinese people to simply disappear, or at least to go back to being a poor little country with no economic power or influence in world affairs. Of course, this is unrealistic, but it does explain the crazy irrational mindset of the Australian government which reeks of sixteenth-century European colonial bigotry. It also explains why Australian liberal politicians resort to using the Hitler card fallacy to try and “justify” an immoral and unjustified war against China.
After 1976, Deng Xiaoping set about transforming China. In a short period of twenty years, China went through a major economic transformation, which lifted millions of Chinese people out of poverty. The world of Mao’s revolutionary poverty-stricken China has gone forever. Today, Chinese people are well-accustomed to good living standards, a vibrant culture, good food, technology, mobile phones, excellent education facilities, and living a meaningful and purposeful life. For Australia to want to send Chinese people back to the dark ages of cultural revolutionary times of Mao and a life of poverty, hunger and little education, is impossible. China’s economic rise and its position in the global economy cannot be reversed by the rhetoric of war chants coming from irrational Australian leaders.
Whether Australia likes it or not, China’s economic rise and influence in Asia is here to stay. China will very likely overtake the US in the next ten years in economic growth. On instructions from Washington D.C., Australia has chosen to sabotage its relationship with China even if it means plundering Australia’s economy into very bad times for decades. The pain has yet to be felt by ordinary Australians, but be in no doubt, serious economic pain is coming Australia’s way like a bullet train.
Asian countries will never accept Australia’s plan to go to war on the false pretext that it is necessary to defend “democracy” and “liberty,” because they know that Australia’s efforts to sabotage China’s economic growth, if successful, would harm their own economies and the entire Asian region. Asian countries have suffered from Western colonialism for too long and do not need more of it now. While Asian countries do not always agree with China, or agree with each other for that matter, Asian leaders do not engage in megaphone and reckless diplomacy like Australia, but use approaches and technique suited to Asian sensibilities. It serves to remind us Australia is not an Asian country. Asian governments know China’s economic growth is integral to their own economic prosperity in the 21st century.
 Zhao Yannian was born in 1924 in Huzhou, Zhejiang Province. In 1938, he entered the Shanghai Fine Arts School to study woodcut printmaking. In 1941 he joined the All China Association of Anti-Enemy Woodcut Artists. He was professor at the Central Academy of Art. He was known for his illustrations and woodblock prints of Lu Xun’s stories. He died in 2014.
4 responses to “Australia’s Case for War against China is driven by Irrational Thinking”
EMAIL COMMENT from PROF CHANDRE DHARMAGUNAWARDENA in Canada, 12 May 2014: “the Australian Prime Minister speaks, and has spoken, without thinking of the consequences. A head of a state has to be even more diplomatic than even the diplomats.”
EMAIL COMMENT from Gus Mathews (a Sri Lankan) in UK, 12 May 2021: “A very elucidating article, worth every word.”
A bull in an Australian parliament…. That says it all.
The Australian slit throat cartoon referred to in this article is often wrongly described in the Australian media as a “fake image.” Technically, in artistic terms, it is best defined as a “propaganda cartoon”. There is nothing “fake” about the image of the Australian soldier slitting the throat of an Afghan child, because what it depicts actually happened as described in an Australian government report into Australian war crimes in Afghanistan. Of course, it is repugnant to Australians. That is the objective of the cartoon. But to be fair, so too are many anti-China propaganda cartoons published in the Australia media today. Many Chinese find these equally repugnant.
Why is the Aussie slit-throat cartoon propaganda and not a fake image? Any image that imposes on a viewer a specific view (as this cartoon does) is propaganda, just as any item published in an Australian newspaper or TV that attempts to impose on readers and viewers a specific viewpoint of China. When it comes to reporting on China today, there is little objectivity in the Australian media given the current anti-China climate. Therefore, to some extent, it is justified for China to return the favour with its own anti-Australian propaganda.
Any Australian today publishing an essay or a book claiming to be “the truth” about China – for instance, Bill Birtles forthcoming book “The Truth about China” – we can be sure is not the truth, There is no single truth about China – just as there is no single truth about Australia. It is absurd to claim to hold the truth on anything. The notion of presenting “the truth” has been so closely allied to propaganda for too long that it is a hopeless lost cause. History teaches us well that there are very few absolute truths. There are many truths.
It is worth pausing to remembering that Chinese propaganda posters of Mao’s revolutionary time were not just propaganda, but highly artistic works in terms of aesthetics, visual language and grammar. By contrast, Nazi propaganda images were crude and uninteresting in terms of visual language and aesthetics.
Australians are very good at producing propaganda artworks. However, they make the mistake of believing their own propaganda so much that they lose sight of reality.
When it comes to playing propaganda with China, Australia is up against an outstanding adversary. For every one successful Australian artist, China has 100 of equal or better calibre.