The Australian people do not want to go to war with China and politicians pushing Australia are not doing so in the interests of the Australian people, argues Annette Brownlie, chair of the Independent and Peaceful Australian Network* (IPAN):
“The recent comments from politicians and public servants concerning an impending war with China are extremely dangerous, misguided and in direct opposition to the interests of the Australian people and world peace.
“Comments made on Anzac Day by the Department of Home Affairs Secretary, Mike Pezzullo, that ‘the drums of war beat’ and we should be ready to ‘send off, yet again, our warriors to fight’ in a thinly veiled threat to China, should be unequivocally condemned. As should the Minister of Defence Peter Dutton’s claim the same day that the prospect of Australia becoming involved in a war with China over Taiwan “should not be discounted”.
“The Australian public would gain nothing and has no interest in going to war with China. Rhetoric that makes it seem like such a conflict is inevitable or that puts the country on a war footing shows a disregard for diplomacy as well as a detachment from the interests and needs of the Australian people and world peace.
“We must look for opportunities to promote open relationships with countries in our region based on mutual respect and indeed, an expectation of successful resolution of conflict through diplomacy and negotiation. An approach that contrasts with the rhetoric we are currently hearing from the Defence Minister and the public servant Pezzullo.
“As the Chief of Defence Angus Campbell said last week, diplomacy is not an easy path but it is the only way if we are to avoid the risk of mutually assured destruction (MAD) resulting from a war between nuclear armed states.”
* IPAN is a network of organisations around Australia – community, faith and peace groups, trade unions and concerned individuals – aiming to build public dialogue and pressure for change to a truly independent foreign policy for Australia – one in which our government plays a positive role in solving international conflicts peacefully.