FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Confronting China: an Interview with John Pilger

by

TJC: Please tell us about your new film, The Coming War on China.

JP: The Coming War on China is my 60th film and perhaps one of the most urgent. It continues the theme of illuminating the imposition of great power behind a facade of propaganda as news.  In 2011, President Obama announced a ‘pivot to Asia’ of US forces: almost two-thirds of American naval power would be transferred to Asia and the Pacific by 2020.

The undeclared rationale for this was the ‘threat’ from China, by some measure now the greatest economic power. The Secretary of Defense, Ash Carter, says US policy is to confront those ‘who see America’s dominance and want to take that away from us’.

The film examines power in both countries and how nuclear weapons, in American eyes, are the bedrock of its dominance. In its first ‘chapter’, the film reveals how most of the population of the Marshall Islands in the Pacific were unwittingly made into nuclear guinea pigs in a programme whose secrets – and astonishing archive – are related to the presence of a missile base now targeting China. The Coming War on China will be released in cinemas in the UK on December 1st and broadcast on ITV (in the UK) on December 6th.

TJC: How do you assess Australia’s role in America’s ‘Pivot to Asia’?

JP: Australia is virtually the 51st state of the US.  Although China is Australia’s biggest trader, on which much of the national economy relies, ‘confronting China’ is the diktat from Washington. The Australian political establishment, especially the military and intelligence agencies, are fully integrated into what is known as the ‘alliance’, along with the dominant Murdoch media. I often feel a certain sadness about the way my own country – with all its resources and opportunities – seems locked into such an unnecessary, dangerous obsequious role in the world. If the ‘pivot’ proceeds, Australia could find itself fighting, yet again, a great power’s war.

TJC: With regards to the British and American media, how can the US get away with selling China as a threat when it is encircling China?

JP: That’s a question that goes to the heart of modern-day propaganda. China is encircled by a ‘noose’ of some 400 US bases, yet the news has ignored this while concentrating on the ‘threat’ of China building airstrips on disputed islets in the South China Sea, clearly as a defence to a US Navy blockade.

TJC: Obama’s visit to Japan, and particularly to Hiroshima, was a really cynical act. What was your impression of Japan and the political situation there?

JP: Japan is an American colony in all but name – certainly in terms of its relationship with the rest of the world and especially China. The historian Bruce Cumings explores this in an interview in the film.  Within the constraints of American dominance, indeed undeterred by Washington, Japan’s current prime minister Shinzo Abe has developed an extreme nationalist position, in which contrition for Japanese actions in the Second World War is anathema and the post-war ‘peace constitution’ is likely to be changed.

Abe has gone as far as boasting that Japan will use nuclear weapons if it wants. In any US conflict with China, Japan – which last year announced its biggest ever ‘defence’ budget – would play a critical role. There are 32 US military installations on the Japanese island of Okinawa, facing China. However, there is a sense in modern Asia that power in the world has indeed moved east and peaceful ‘Asian solutions’ to regional animosities are possible.

TJC: Do you think the new trade and investment deals like the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and especially the Transpacific Partnership (TPP) will affect China’s business operations?

JP: It’s difficult to say, but I doubt it. What is remarkable about the rise of China is the way it has built, almost in the blink of an eye, a trade, investment and banking structure that rivals that of the Bretton Woods institutions. Unknown to many of us, China is developing its ‘New Silk Road’ to Europe at an astonishing pace. China’s response to threats from Washington is a diplomacy that’s tied to this development, and which includes a burgeoning alliance with Russia.

T.J. Coles is the author of Britain’s Secret Wars (2016, Clairview Books).

This interview was originally published by the Plymouth Institute for Peace Research.

More articles by:
November 20, 2017
T.J. Coles
Doomsday Scenarios: the UK’s Hair-Raising Admissions About the Prospect of Nuclear War and Accident
Peter Linebaugh
On the 800th Anniversary of the Charter of the Forest
Sheldon Richman
Assertions, Facts and CNN
Ben Debney
Plebiscites: Why Stop at One?
LV Filson
Yemen’s Collective Starvation: Where Money Can’t Buy Food, Water or Medicine
Thomas Knapp
Impeachment Theater, 2017 Edition
Binoy Kampmark
Trump in Asia
Curtis FJ Doebbler
COP23: Truth Without Consequences?
Louisa Willcox
Obesity in Bears: Vital and Beautiful
Deborah James
E-Commerce and the WTO
Ann Garrison
Burundi Defies the Imperial Criminal Court: an Interview with John Philpot
Robert Koehler
Trapped in ‘a Man’s World’
Stephen Cooper
Wiping the Stain of Capital Punishment Clean
Weekend Edition
November 17, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Paul Street
Thank an Anti-War Veteran
Andrew Levine
What’s Wrong With Bible Thumpers Nowadays?
Jeffrey St. Clair - Alexander Cockburn
The CIA’s House of Horrors: the Abominable Dr. Gottlieb
Wendy Wolfson – Ken Levy
Why We Need to Take Animal Cruelty Much More Seriously
Mike Whitney
Brennan and Clapper: Elder Statesmen or Serial Fabricators?
David Rosen
Of Sex Abusers and Sex Offenders
Ryan LaMothe
A Christian Nation?
Dave Lindorff
Trump’s Finger on the Button: Why No President Should Have the Authority to Launch Nuclear Weapons
W. T. Whitney
A Bizarre US Pretext for Military Intrusion in South America
Deepak Tripathi
Sex, Lies and Incompetence: Britain’s Ruling Establishment in Crisis 
Howard Lisnoff
Who You’re Likely to Meet (and Not Meet) on a College Campus Today
Roy Morrison
Trump’s Excellent Asian Adventure
John W. Whitehead
Financial Tyranny
Ted Rall
How Society Makes Victimhood a No-Win Proposition
Jim Goodman
Stop Pretending the Estate Tax has Anything to do With Family Farmers
Thomas Klikauer
The Populism of Germany’s New Nazis
Murray Dobbin
Is Trudeau Ready for a Middle East war?
Jeiddy Martínez Armas
Firearm Democracy
Jill Richardson
Washington’s War on Poor Grad Students
Ralph Nader
The Rule of Power Over the Rule of Law
Justin O'Hagan
Capitalism Equals Peace?
Matthew Stevenson
Into Africa: From the Red Sea to Nairobi
Geoff Dutton
The Company We Sadly Keep
Evan Jones
The Censorship of Jacques Sapir, French Dissident
Linn Washington Jr.
Meek Moment Triggers Demands for Justice Reform
Gerry Brown
TPP, Indo Pacific, QUAD: What’s Next to Contain China’s Rise?
Robert Fisk
The Exile of Saad Hariri
Romana Rubeo - Ramzy Baroud
Anti-BDS Laws and Pro-Israeli Parliament: Zionist Hasbara is Winning in Italy
Robert J. Burrowes
Why are Police in the USA so Terrified?
Chuck Collins
Stop Talking About ‘Winners and Losers’ From Corporate Tax Cuts
Ron Jacobs
Private Property Does Not Equal Freedom
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
Mass Shootings, Male Toxicity and their Roots in Agriculture
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail