BY LAND AND BY SEA: RE-THINKING OCEANIA

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The rift between France and the U.S. over nuclear submarine contracting with Australia is a blunder that the West can’t afford right now.

In announcing that the U.S. would be taking over the submarine contracting, Defense Secretary Loyd Austin said the new trilateral relationship:

"is a testament to the strength, resilience and foresight of our relationship. President Biden has noted that no regional divide separates the interest of our Atlantic and Pacific partners, and AUKUS [Australia, United Kingdom and the United States] is designed to build on our existing alliances."

Austin’s comments came at meetings that also touted enhanced security partnerships with India and Japan.

The U.S. could’ve bolstered the alliances in question without predicating it on undercutting a major ally.

But just as importantly, the thrust of America’s quest to counter and contain China in the far east, especially in the light of foreign policy failures that have played out from post-WWII to the present moment, deserve careful re-examination.

Should we be trying to maintain ourselves as a globalist economic and military power, which has long been predicated on dominance over the seas?

Or is it perhaps time to shift to a different paradigm, based on strengthening our hemispheric overland relationships in the Americas, and revitalizing our core alliance with Western Europe?

China’s oft-cited Silk Road initiatives, with ambitious rail systems and partnerships, can be seen as a 21st century tech fueled re-imagination of routes and centers of trade and influence that have a long history.

The Trends Journal has recently covered some of the more grandiose aspects of that vision in articles such as “CHINA WANTS A BULLET TRAIN INTO THE U.S.” (1 Jun 2021).

Can America respond with its own overland initiative?

The Lure of Oceania and Empire

The latest “trilateral” security agreement between the U.S., the UK and Australia is not hard to understand in terms of the historical strengths of the players involved.

Also tapping partnerships with Japan and India, the U.S. is counting that enough counter forces exist in the region to dissuade China from trying to take Taiwan by force.

Despite the agreements, U.S. naval power remains the lynchpin in containing China. Whether it can or should even try to be the instrument of strategic policy is another question. 

Part of America’s heritage from Britain, and Western powers more generally, including France and the Netherlands, was the ability to build and leverage a world-class naval power.

By the mid-1800’s, America was not only sustaining fleets for commercial trade, immigration and maintaining close cultural ties with the European continent.

It was engaging in a growing trade and geopolitical interest along Pacific routes that extended to China.

As the U.S. Office of History notes about U.S. Maritime expansion:

“The appeal of profits to be earned from the China trade served as the initial impetus to motivate U.S. citizens and officials to enter into the Pacific region. China was the source of some of the world’s most sought after commodities—tea, porcelain, and silk—and Western merchants had sought access to this highly lucrative trade since at least the 17th century. Following U.S. independence, U.S.-based merchants continued to seek opportunity in China…

“During the first decades of the 19th century, U.S. merchants amassed sizable fortunes that they subsequently invested in the development of their homeland. As this trade grew, U.S. traders built a small outpost in China and their interactions with Chinese subjects became more complex and occasionally contentious. The U.S. Government realized that it had to establish formal diplomatic ties in order to protect the interests of its citizens. In the wake of war between Britain and China, and the subsequent opening of diplomatic relations between those two countries, the United States moved to negotiate its own treaty with the Chinese Government. The resulting agreement, the Treaty of Wangxia, was ratified in 1844…”

The bloody infighting of the West in World War I had many disastrous consequences that would play out over the rest of the century. But one effect of the war was that the vacuum of power that came with Britain’s exhaustion was increasingly filled by America, especially on the seas.

The ultimate test of American naval dominance came with World War II, and conflicts literally spanning across both the Atlantic and Pacific, and indeed, around the globe.

Given the history, and the vast wealth America accrued via its command of the seas, it’s easy to see how and why it has favored and tried to maintain that hegemony, from the Atlantic into the middle east, and from the Pacific to Asia.

In the post WWII era, the U.S. experienced another great period of economic ascendance, fueled by wartime technologies and infrastructure, and the fact that the nation escaped domestic damage, unlike many other countries.

The rebuilding of Europe and Japan, among other places, effectively made American trade relationships and its dominance of the seas even more integral to its economy and geopolitics.

Self-Inflicted Wounds and The Rise of China

But a combination of strategic blunders eventually gave away much of that game.

In 1948, America, along with a plurality of the world as represented in the UN, backed the creation of the state of Israel. 

America has borne the brunt of maintaining Israel’s existence, and the cost over the years has been hard to overstate. Not that biblical Zionists would’ve accepted it, but it would’ve been less controversial and costly to establish a Jewish autonomous zone stateside.

As far as America’s economic interest in the oil riches in Saudi Arabia and Iraq, America's backing of Israel has not made pursuing those interests any easier.

The other long term consequential event was the loss of China to Communist revolution. The whole sordid history of U.S. State Department policies that allowed it to happen are available in histories, though not ones commonly taught as part of politically correct curriculums. 

Like other self-inflicted wounds, America has been contending with the repercussions ever since.

Birthed in rancid communist ideology, China visited devastation and misery in bloody and barbaric forms of internal warfare to consolidate and maintain its regime, from the 1940’s into the ‘60’s.

But by 1972, U.S. President Richard Nixon calculated that the West could influence China for the better with normalized relations.

In the 1980’s China, seeing not only the success of rival Japan, but also the failure of the Soviets, embarked on a “communist revision,” loosening economic strictures to allow more economic freedom for companies, while maintaining strict ideological social and political control of its people.

Again, China benefited from decisions of American policy makers. A calculation was made that off-loaded “lower level” industrial production abroad could be made cheaply by the Chinese working at much lower wages.

Americans would benefit from cheap goods, and meanwhile America would develop a market to sell more sophisticated American technology, including computer chips and software.

By the end of the century, China had gained entrance into the World Trade Organization.

Despite calculations by both Republican and Democratic presidents that China could be drawn into a comity with a global framework, it has not happened.

As China has grown in economic strength, it has more aggressively revealed ambitions to bring nations into a mercantilist style economy where it dictates terms, and derives disproportionate benefit.

It has plowed resources into becoming a world-class naval power (see “CHINA: FROM SEA TO SHINING SEA,” 9 September 2020).

While it has kept its own borders closed to immigration a multicultural influence, it has exploited the openness of the West to infiltrate, influence politics and policies, and steal vast sums of IP and innovations (see “CHINA BUSINESS ESPIONAGE NETS $500 BILLION A YEAR,” 29 June 2021 and “AMERICA DRIFTS TOWARD CHINA’S “TECHNO-AUTOCRACY,” 9 February 2021).

That has allowed it to now vy with the U.S. at higher levels of technology innovation (see “CHINA CHALLENGING U.S. HI-TECH DOMINANCE,” 13 July 2021).

Getting America Back On Track: Stepping Away From Oceania

Afghanistan hopefully sounded a death knell for American regime-toppling and nation-building. 

Instead of trying to maintain far flung adventures and alliances via a geopolitics of “Oceania”, America could choose to focus on stabilizing and strengthening the economies in its own hemisphere.

In that regard, it would have to begin with itself. Monetary and financial policies need to be overhauled, and fast. The integrity of political institutions needs to be addressed. And the power of mega billionaires and mega corporations to usurp democratic institutions and Constitutional rights of Americans needs to be reigned in with Teddy Roosevelt style zest. 

An intelligence apparatus that was predicated on combating “terrorism,” but which has instead been progressively aimed at domestic political dissidents, should be strictly redirected and limited to protecting against subversion by foreign nations, with China at the top of the list.

There is much to route out from our businesses and institutions, and doing so would put China at a disadvantage. They don’t have the higher education system to match, nor the edge in technological innovation that the West, together with Japan, still holds.

To give an idea, the U.S. and Japan hold 11 of the top 17 slots for the best technology companies on Earth in 2021.  China still lists only three, and one of those is a joint China / U.S. pc maker Lenovo, which was spun off from IBM:

Source: Wikipedia

South Korea has as many companies on the list as China. The point is America retains an important advantage.

The days of the American military and equipment being sold to defend an “alliance empire,” should be phased out on an orderly timetable. Nations or Unions who can’t or won’t defend themselves, will face the consequences. So will countries that try to extend their empires too far.

Instead of Oceania being routes to global entanglements, the oceans can provide the protection that has always made America the hardest of nations to attempt to invade and subdue. America should play to that strength.

Investments in China could and should be redirected to investments in countries in America’s hemisphere, including primarily Central and South America. 

American companies should receive incentives for doing so. The greater economic opportunities that could be fostered would lessen migration upheavals that are not solving the underlying problems.

These are only a few initiatives that could see America develop its own overland initiatives.

NAFTA, President Bill Clinton’s attempt at integration, obviously had fatal flaws. But the premise that nations of the Americas need to function in a more mutually beneficial economic and political relationship, is an objective worthy of prudent pursuit.   

China’s 21st Century a Foregone Conclusion?

As Gerald Celente has said, America has put itself in a position where the 21st Century will belong to China.

But despite his prediction, it’s not a foregone conclusion. As has been briefly shown, there are factors America and the West more generally can leverage. 

Number one is freedom. Number two is Peace. And number three is Justice.

All three of those things happen to be available in our Western heritage.

It exists in the limitation of dictatorial power, won in a long history, from Greece and the idea of democracy, through Roman federalism, to the Magna Carta and limitations on the rights of Kings, to the Constitution and the dispensing with Kings and radical institution of limited, electoral government and a Bill of Rights.

Now is not the time to lay down, either to China, or would-be despots within our borders.

Neither are invincible. China has signaled weakness, first and foremost by its COVID gambit, which has every appearance of a calculated event. Its recent cultural and economic crackdowns are not signs of strength (see “XI RAMPS UP ECONOMIC ‘CULTURAL REVOLUTION’ IN CHINA,” 27 July 2021 and “THE GEOPOLITICS OF BITCOIN,” 27 July 2021.  

The Evergrande default is another tell that the regime is struggling with forces that may portend more unrest.

The Biden administration appears intent on pursuing a policy of Oceanic projection of power. But As China projects a future along a Silk Road, America might take a cue and work to strengthen overland economic integrations in the Americas. 

Now is a time to conserve and build strength with new stratagems, not squander it.


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2 Comments
  1. Rob Roberts 2 months ago

    Great article. Writer should be in our government and putting these policies in place!

  2. a1achiropractic 2 months ago

    This article makes a lot of sense, but the key phrase, I believe, is the President Teddy Roosevelt style zest. TR had some heavy weight corrupt individuals to deal with, but he had the weight of the American people behind him. Through subversive activities promulgated by the UN this country has been attacked time and time again, since it’s inception, so that now corruption spews from almost, if not all, of our institutions of government and the NGOs, the nonprofits may be the worst. I guess I’m saying that it will be very difficult to get the same weight of the people behind policy makers to clean this mess up. The corruption needs to be dealt with as well as the subversion and the long entrenched powers that be will fight like hell to keep their status quo.

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