Over many months now, when talking to relatives, friends, acquaintances and strangers about the current, parlous state of geo-politics and how the world is moving ever closer to world war, and a possible, uncontrolled nuclear conflagration, the retort I often receive develops something along the following lines: “Yes, we know the US is a war-like country and a danger to world peace but, don’t you think Australia needs to throw its lot in with them militarily, in order to counter the even more pressing threat from China which is an aggressive, imperialist power seeking to control Australia’s own backyard?”
People consuming their “news” exclusively from corporate-controlled, mainstream news outlets are highly likely to hold similar biased perspectives. In many respects, they can’t be blamed for regurgitating the current, corporate media narrative because the core message that China is an aggressive and dangerous, world power that threatens world peace and, therefore, must be contained gushes forth, relentlessly, on a daily basis from all MSM sources, including, unfortunately, the ABC.
The issue becomes one of how to effectively counter such deeply-ingrained narratives that are being consciously manufactured by our own political, military-industrial establishment in order to create the groundswell of public support it requires for increasing the pace of Australian rearmament and the further integration of Australia’s defence strategies and plans into those required of our nation by the US’s military industrial, war machine.
As for proving or disproving a contention like “China is an imperialist and aggressive country”, if a person relies solely on MSM sources to determine their opinions, they will certainly be led to believe that China is an aggressive and expansionist world power
The first approach to try on your combative interlocutor is to remind them to recall the many lies the Western media have endlessly repeated about the so-called “weapons of mass destruction” supposedly being developed by a rogue state led by a purported despot and madman called Saddam Hussein. Point out the interesting parallels that we are now witnessing: an almost identical narrative about the Russian and Chinese leaders. “So, don’t you think there is a strong possibility that once again you are being fed another crock of lies by your own government and its MSM but, this time Russia & China are being nominated as the egregious enemy. Surely, you can see a pattern here?”
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Then, if that isn’t enough to convince, remind your interlocutor that the Iraq invasion completely destroyed that country’s infrastructure and killed millions of its civilian population. It was only after the war was done and dusted that the truth was finally revealed: the pretext for the invasion had been a completely fabricated lie created by the Western intelligence agencies to win over the support of their citizenry in order to arouse the mass support required to prosecute such a clearly, “illegal” war.
Of course, the numerous “fabricated” wars the US has prosecuted on third world nations since the end of the WWII can also be referenced to reinforce your messaging. Cite for instance, the Vietnam War where three million Vietnamese people were killed needlessly, because that war had also been based on a series of lies manufactured by the US’s military industrial complex and widely spread with the MSM’s willing consent. Perhaps then, remind your interlocutor that all the wars of aggression the US has instigated since the 1950’s were immoral and illegal.
Telling the truth about the many wars, the US has illegally prosecuted since the end of the Second World War against mainly poor, third world countries that have also been launched on the basis of lies and distortions fed to the public through the mass media may assist people to understand that the so-called, “China threat” may well be a propaganda operation of a similar nature.
Of course, there will always be a small group of people who you will fail to convince because they choose to blindly believe what their government and media of the day feeds them, no matter the veracity of any facts you may choose to confront them with.
What I find most puzzling is that, many of my friends and acquaintances who express irrational fears about China, on most other pressing issues of the day, such as environmental and social justice issues, often have no trouble seeing right through the MSM propaganda. For some reason, however, they retain a blind spot in relation to the “China issue”.
I suspect that this could possibly be a legacy of Australia’s deeply-ingrained, anti-Asian sentiment that had its roots in the 19th century colonialism and that was politically enshrined in the openly racist, White Australia Policy that dominated our country’s psyche for several decades from the late 19th to the mid-20th century. Unfortunately, I believe, it’s legacy still asserts a negative influence on white Australia’s mind set in regard to Asia up till the present day.
As for proving or disproving a contention like “China is an imperialist and aggressive country”, if a person relies solely on MSM sources to determine their opinions, they will certainly be led to believe that China is an aggressive and expansionist world power. Most preposterously, some also believe that China harbors imperialist ambitions and they want to invade and occupy our country. So, in their minds, Australia must urgently seek the safety of our superpower buddy, the United States, to defend our country, no matter the cost to our nation and its people.
However, you might want to direct your interlocutor to the many reliable, and very well-researched, academic sources beyond the MSM, where any reasonable person is much more likely to gain a nuanced & objective perspective on what’s happening globally, why it’s happening and who’s benefitting the most from the current MSM narratives being promoted, such as the perpetual feed of “bad China” narratives that flood our mainstream media outlets daily.
Unfortunately, it does take some additional time and effort to seek out reliable, well-researched alternative news sources.
There is a wealth of reliable, authoritative, alternative sources of well-researched information on social media. In this regard, direct your interlocutor to check out the work of some of the following, highly-credentialled, journalists, academics, and geo-political experts whose content is freely available on Face Book and other social media platforms. People such as: Chris Hedges, Aaron Mate, Prof. Noam Chomsky, Prof Wolff, Yanis Varoufakis, George Galloway, Scott Ritter, Vijay Prashad, John Mearsheimer, Glen Greenwald, Matt Taibbi, Alexander Mercouris, the Real News Network and Jimmy Dore, to name just a few, who openly expound alternative, people-centred, democratic narratives that completely expose mainstream media lies and disinformation.
In Australia, you cannot get any more, well-informed journalism than that found on John Menadue’s, free web site, ‘Pearls and Irritations’ and, of course, Michael West’s Facebook site. Michael West is one of Australia’s few remaining investigative journalists of the highest integrity.
Remind your interlocutor that the mainstream TV and newspapers will more likely be a hindrance in a world where the narratives promoted by these sources are largely shaped to benefit the profit-making interests of the corporate/political/military/industrial elite.
As a way of gentle introduction to the “counter narrative”, for those acquaintances or interlocutors who might be considered “faint of heart”, one can safely introduce them to the work of Professor Jeffrey Sachs, readily sourced on his own YouTtube channel. Sachs, a renowned, US and global economist, is an unimpeachable, establishment figure at the UN and a former advisor to several US administrations. This highly articulate, truth teller will clearly provide the facts on where the real global imperialist threat is emanating from and how the current MSM narratives on Russia and China have been deliberately designed to benefit US imperialist hegemony.
And, don’t forget to mention to your interlocutor, the fact that China has not invaded a single country since the 1970’s, whereas, the US has invaded, or interfered in the internal affairs, of more than 200 countries since that time either through organising coups, “colour revolutions”, proxy wars, trade sanctions or direct interventions to overthrow many legitimate, democratically elected governments.
It is a fact that, China vigorously trades goods with other countries (many manufactured in US & European factories that are actually based in China) and, of course, China wants to economically benefit from that trading like all capitalist, trading countries do.
However, the simple act of trade is not an act of imperialism unless it is considered unequal in some grossly manipulated way. A case in point occurred when 25 percent of the Chinese population were made dependent on opium by the British in the mid-19th Century, even though the Chinese government had sought to impose a total ban on opium imports. However, the superpower of the day, the British Empire, asserting their massive military supremacy, fought two brutal wars against the Chinese to prevent a ban being imposed on opium imports from India.
The British demanded the Chinese accept the opium in exchange for tea and other goods. Under the constant threat of imperialist military pressure, the Chinese were forced to accept this grossly unfair & murderous state of affairs. Now, this certainly is an act of “imperialism” in its most naked and aggressive form.
The oft sighted, but largely unsubstantiated, and generally false, narrative that China is an aggressive imperialist country intent on exploiting poor African nations and even small pacific island nations for their own strategic and economic benefit is a constant, MSM meme.
In this regard, you can direct your querulous interlocutor to an excellent YouTube video where Yanis Varoufakis, former finance minister in the Greek Parliament, is confronted at a public lecture by an American woman about the dangers of Chinese trade and its purported extortion of poor, third world countries in Africa. Yanis’ reply put a complete end to this propagandist nonsense.
Yanis expounded upon his direct knowledge of negotiating with the Chinese as Greek Finance Minister to prove his point: China is certainly not an imperialist aggressor intent on exploiting the third world through exploitative trade deals. (ref. YouTube: Yanis Varoufakis: ‘Is Capitalism Devouring Democracy?’ Cambridge Forum Massachusetts, May 18, 2018)
If this is not enough to challenge your interlocutor’s “brainwashing” put the onus on them to produce well-researched, fact-based examples, of Chinese imperialist plunder of other countries and tell them you will be keen to debate the issue again once they have produced concrete, documented evidence.
Certainly, there is truth in the claim that China has become somewhat aggressive in the rhetoric it has used against Australia in recent years and, there is no doubt, that its trade bans on certain Australian goods were largely reactive and very petty for a country of its stature. However, remind your interlocutor that this poor judgement on China’s part followed years of the MSM’s hostility targeted at China that was largely fermented by two, well-recognised, US agents – Morrison and Dutton – from the previous, discredited government, who took great delight in publicly, berating and baiting China at every opportunity.
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However, poor language choice and the trading of cheap insults are not acts of imperialism or otherwise both Australia & China would be considered “imperialist” which is, a mutually, ludicrous proposition.
The truth is out there for all peace-loving activists to ferret out. It’s beholden on all peace makers to become as well-informed as possible concerning complex geo-political issues and the mainstream media’s role working on behalf of the corporate state to widely disseminate false narratives intended to mislead the population in order to serve our own ruling classes’ economic and power interests but, more importantly, those of our imperial master, the United States.
If we choose to give up and say that the task of working to change people’s minds is just too difficult and not worth the effort, unfortunately, we will be inadvertently contributing to the MSM “mob mentality” that is leading us into, what might possibly become, mankind’s final war.
John Quelch, is teacher, community development worker, secretary of IPAN Geelong, Victoria South West Group.
The article first appeared in PEARLS & IRRITATIONS website: https://johnmenadue.com/combating-china-is-the-real-enemy-msm-saturation-messaging/
The views do not necessarily reflect those of China Daily.