Liberal MP Andrew Hastie launched his extraordinary attack on China at an event of an extremist British neoconservative think tank that revels in causing regime-change wars and boasts that “democracy can be dropped from 10,000 feet”. The think tank is associated with the US government front which is funding the leaders of the hard core radical minority in Hong Kong who have gone far beyond protesting the extradition law, and are waving UK and US flags as they battle police and vandalise property to try to split Hong Kong from China.
Hastie caused waves in an 8 August opinion column in the Sydney Morning Herald by comparing the rise of China to that of Nazi Germany. His column came hot on the heels of a visit to Australia by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who demanded Australia not put its economic interests with China above its security relationship with the USA. Despite appearances, however, Hastie’s comments were not a sycophantic response to Pompeo, but were from a 26 June speech he gave to the extremist Henry Jackson Society in the UK. Curiously, Hastie didn’t reveal in the SMH that his column was from a speech to the HJS, but HJS did. In an 8 August tweet, HJS boasted that Hastie’s speech was “One of the most fluent analyses on the rise of China, its historic magnitude, and the geostrategic threats that it poses”.
Who is Henry Jackson?
Very few people, including Americans, would defend the circumstances that led to the 2003 invasion of Iraq on the lie of weapons of mass destruction. The Henry Jackson Society is among the few; moreover, it aggressively advocates more such wars in the name of “democracy”.
The organisation was formed in the UK in 2005, by which time the full disaster of Iraq was evident. No WMDs had been found, hundreds of thousands of Iraqis were dead, and there was a growing bodycount of US and British soldiers. While the world was starting to recognise Iraq had gone badly wrong, academics at Cambridge University who formed the HJS thought the opposite. They named their think tank after Henry “Scoop” Jackson, the hawkish US Democratic Senator who had been the mentor and employer of the USA’s most notorious neoconservatives, including Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowitz, Bill Kristol and Douglas Feith. All of these men were personally involved in the conspiracy to orchestrate the Iraq war. Two of them, Richard Perle, known around Washington as “the Prince of Darkness”, and Bill Kristol, became international patrons of the HJS.
Other patrons include: former CIA director James Woolsey, who in 2018 laughed about the fact that the USA interferes in other countries’ elections “only for a very good cause in the interests of democracy”; neoconservative Robert Kagan, the husband of State Department official Victoria Nuland who directed the neo-Nazi uprising in Ukraine in 2014; Carl Gershman, President of the US National Endowment for Democracy, which was founded in the 1980s to fund foreign interference operations that the CIA could no longer fund; and Michael Danby, the neocon former Australian Labor MP who pushed for the ALP to support the Iraq war and agitates for regime change in China.
The stated ideology of the HJS can only be described as madness, especially in light of the numerous regimechange disasters. It is a recipe for permanent war, which is in fact the point. Its original statement of principles, signed by the founding members, stated that HJS:
- “Supports a ‘forward strategy’ to assist those countries that are not yet liberal and democratic to become so. This would involve the full spectrum of ‘carrot’ capacities, be they diplomatic, economic, cultural or political, but also, when necessary, those ‘sticks’ of the military domain.
- “Supports the maintenance of a strong military, by the United States, the countries of the European Union and other democratic powers, armed with expeditionary capabilities with a global reach.”
And, most chilling of all:
- “Believes that only modern liberal democratic states are truly legitimate, and that any international organisation which admits undemocratic states on an equal basis is fundamentally flawed.” (Emphasis added.)
In case that’s not clear, the HJS is saying that it, as an extension of the Anglo-American elite, decides which is a legitimate government, and which isn’t. So while China, and Russia, do not question the legitimacy of the US or British or Australian governments, people in those governments connected to the HJS neocons insist that the governments of China and Russia are not legitimate. By extension, this justifies any and every action against those governments, including military black ops, election and political interference, and regime change. China and Russia know this is how they think and act, and are forced to take countermeasures.
Later, for public relations purposes, the HJS revised its statement of principles to remove its overt advocacy of military action, but that was mere window dressing. By its other principles, and its actions, it is the cheer squad for regime change wars. HJS founding member and co-president Brendan Simms, Professor in the History of International Relations at the Centre of International Studies at the University of Cambridge, wrote on 9 September 2011, “Democracy can be dropped from 10,000 feet”. Crowing about the success of the Libya intervention, Simms wrote: “More generally, the removal of Gaddafi will strengthen those who argue that the west should help those who would free themselves, but lack the power to do so. ... We do not know yet whether the National Transitional Council will bring democracy to Libya. We can say with confidence, however, that if it does, British bombs dropped from a great height will have had a lot to do with it.”
We do know now—it didn’t bring democracy. In fact, the intervention turned Libya into a failed state and a haven for ISIS and al-Qaeda terrorists, where African slaves are openly traded on the streets. British bombs dropped from a great height had a lot to do with that. In September 2016, a UK House of Commons report on the Libya intervention concluded: “In March 2011, the United Kingdom and France, with the support of the United States, led the international community to support an intervention in Libya to protect civilians from attacks by forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi. This policy was not informed by accurate intelligence. In particular, the Government failed to identify that the threat to civilians was overstated and that the rebels included a significant Islamist element.” In other words, it was all a lie, like Iraq.
Not content with that disaster, HJS earned notoriety when it emerged that its staff had written a plan for the opposition Syrian National Council to copy the Libya intervention in Syria, by carving out safe havens for jihadists that the USA and UK would then move to secure militarily. Only Russia’s eventual intervention saved Syria from the same fate as Iraq and Libya.
With his hyperbolic comparison of China to Nazi Germany, Hastie was echoing fellow Australian and HJS patron Michael Danby. In an 11 February 2010 Wall Street Journal article, “Blame China for Iran’s Nukes”, Danby demanded not only war against Syria and Iran, but regime change in China, as well. Comparing concessions to China with appeasing Hitler, Danby’s alternative to “a Canberra Munich moment” was to overthrow the current Chinese leadership, to achieve “a process of China transforming into a non-belligerent, liberal democracy”.
When Australian, US and UK commentators accuse China of becoming more assertive, especially under President Xi Jinping, they never talk about this context of regime-change aggression to which China, Russia and other countries have been forced to respond. Most bizarre is the comparison with Nazi Germany, when in fact the most Nazi-like action in recent decades was the neocons’ “preventive” war on Iraq. Preventive war is supposed to be illegal under post-WWII international law, because Hitler used it repeatedly to invade Poland, Norway and the Soviet Union, and Japan used it to bomb Pearl Harbour. But the neocons in the Bush-Cheney administration and Tony Blair government who inspired the formation of the Henry Jackson Society explicitly justified preventive war to invade Iraq, and it underpins their entire regime-change agenda.
It is this agenda that has made the world a very dangerous place, not China. The neocons were fully discredited after Bush and Cheney’s Iraq fiasco, but instead of being driven from power, they retained key positions in the Obama administration, and have insinuated themselves in the Trump White House, despite Trump’s stated opposition to regime change. Neither China or Russia are going to back down in the face of attempts to interfere in their countries and overthrow their governments, such as is under way in Hong Kong right now. Henry Jackson Society patron Carl Gershman’s National Endowment For Democracy is openly funding the radical Hong Kong protestors who provocatively wave British Union Jack flags to demand “democracy”, despite never having had democracy under 150 years of British rule. This regime-change apparatus clearly hopes to provoke China into a heavyhanded crackdown on the protestors, in order to escalate its destabilisation operation.
There is a peaceful alternative to this agenda, but it requires a complete rejection of the HJS-neocon philosophy of regime change, and the establishment of a world order based on perfectly sovereign nation-states, in which nations respect each other’s sovereignty and abide by the principle of non-interference, but cooperate on mutually beneficial economic development. This would entail countries like the USA and Australia accepting China’s invitation to join the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), which would allow us to influence the BRI from the inside, rather than sniping from the outside and trying to twist the BRI into something sinister, when in fact it is upgrading infrastructure and raising living standards all over the world. If our countries would genuinely like to see China become more democratic over time, only this approach based on mutual respect and cooperation will work. Of course, it cuts both ways—we must become more democratic ourselves, and peaceful, starting with rejecting the two-faced madness of the Henry Jackson Society and its Australian stooges.
Australian Alert Service 14 August 2019