China and U.S. tensions continue, but has the threat of war moved from “impossible” to only “improbable,” as an Australian media report indicates?
The tensions are rooted in areas from human rights to trade and regional battles.
An Australian Broadcasting Corporation story reflects Australia’s position as it stands tentatively behind the U.S. and watches the attrition of its relationship with China.
The author of the report, Stan Grant, provided perspective.
The Korean War is seen as a rallying point for the Chinese, Grant writes, and last year, “at the 70th anniversary of China’s triumph, (President) Xi Jinping warned the Chinese people ‘the road ahead will not be smooth.’
“He called on people to revive the spirit of the Korean War, to ‘speak to invaders in the language they know … to use war to prevent war.’ Simply: tell the Americans that China is not afraid, it was victorious once, and will be again.”
The tough-guy stance from China is not confined only to its government. Grant says, “Make no mistake: we are now in a phase of preparation for war. China is becoming more aggressive in tone and actions, while the U.S. is strengthening its regional alliances.
“War that was once unthinkable is now improbable — but not impossible.”
Australia, though part of the “Quad” comprising India, Japan and the U.S., doesn’t plan to pick a side.
Aussie Prime Minister Scott Morrison sent a message to China that Australia will not be America’s “deputy sheriff” and wouldn’t base decisions on a choice between Washington and Beijing.
And of the U.S., Grant writes: “For all America’s economic and military might, it is a deeply damaged nation seeking to recapture its former glory in a world where it meets a rival of enormous and growing strength,” but that “America helped open up China; its markets made China rich. China … knows war with America would be catastrophic.”