Flat White

What happens to Australia if Pax Americana fails?

3 March 2022

4:00 AM

3 March 2022

4:00 AM

The invasion of liberal Ukraine by a revanchist Russia is as good an occasion as any to muse upon Australia’s political posture amidst the broader schism opening up between the America-led liberal order and Russia, China, and other traditionalist states.

As is well known – and has been the case since John Curtin’s ‘turn to America’ and the ‘all the way with LBJ’ rhetoric of the 60s – we’ve barely budged from our American masters. It is a stance that doesn’t look like shifting any time soon either: witness last year’s Aukus agreement and the long-term binding of our military to America’s Pacific strategy, or Scott Morrison’s recent aping of Anglo-American rhetoric and sanctions vis-à-vis Vladimir Putin and Russia.

The geopolitical justification for all of this is obvious, and even the most strident anti-American must give the devil his due. Aside from saving us from Japanese domination, the American moment has produced a wealth of indubitable benefits. Not only has it permitted our mere existence as a ‘Western’ nation down here at the edge of East Asia, it has given us almost eight decades of uninterrupted peace and produced, through democratic capitalism, the most stable, longest-lived, and prosperous era known to man – or what the French dubbed ‘les trente glorieuses’ (the thirty years of ‘glorious capitalism’).

One should, of course, seek the maintenance of the status quo. The Pax Americana has served us well and any shift in strategy is surely a turn for the worse. Hence the bipartisan consensus towards the ANZUS alliance, and why any remarks to the contrary from figures such as ex-Labor Prime Minister Paul Keating about Australia ‘finding its security in Asia and not from Asia’ are largely ignored by those in office and ring hollow in the public square.

With respect to our geography – and the natural, cultural, and religious differences this entails – is there ever a situation where an Anglo-European-derived nation such as Australia will feel completely secure in such a setting? Given our unchanging and parochial nature, the answer is of course ‘no’. And for any sceptics, a quick read of Thucydides and the fate of the Melians at the hands of the stronger Athenians should dispel lingering doubts.

In light of this largely-beneficent American order, why would anyone critique at all? Well, the cost-benefit analysis of the United States alliance is becoming increasingly questionable. Gone are the days of a relatively benign American hegemony as symbolised by Elvis, blue jeans, and Ford pick-ups; with America now the principal purveyor of ‘Wokism’ and most of the other uber-liberal insanities enveloping us. With even the French – those self-same global inflictors of post-modernism – warning of the dangers of too much American cultural import.

The price of American protection is thus to accept all manner of social malady and to ape the worst aspects of America’s domestic social politics. As the writer Niccolo Soldo has noted, one of the first actions requested by the US State Department to countries seeking American alliance is to provide gay-pride parades to prove their ‘progressive’ bona fides to those in the American metropole. On top of that is the catastrophe that is the global adoption of the American diet and the crudity inherent in America’s pop culture. Why should Europe – the birthplace of Bach, Beethoven, Plato, and Pushkin – turn itself into another outlet for the worst of Americana: a type of Euro Disney-meets-Las Vegas on the Loire?

This is not to explicitly mention the ahistorical and incongruous import of American racial politics into places that don’t desire it.

Given these developments, the willingness of what are (in theory) independent Westphalian states to keep following the American lead is increasingly uncertain. This might explain the newfound support of many conservative Westerners for the officially despised regime in Moscow and other less liberal alternatives in places like Hungary. A circumstance which may appear prima facie preposterous (why would anyone act against the national interest?), but starts to make sense when we appreciate that large swathes of the Western working class feel utterly betrayed by an elite that looks upon them as ‘deplorable’, has off-shored their industries, and imported vast amounts of culturally distinct immigrants. Putin may be a thug, they say: but at least he appears to care for his people.

Support for Putin and other such ‘anti-liberal’ nationalists becomes more and more comprehensible. From both a philosophical and long-term vantage point, the foundations upon which traditionalist states like Russia rest are stronger than Australia’s, which follows the American-led status quo.

The rationale for this situation is nature itself: with our liberal-cosmopolitan movements floundering upon the rocks of unyielding natural reality. This is something that Putin recognises and was referred to in the presidential address given upon Russia’s incursions into Ukraine. In addition to Putin’s acknowledgment of the West’s now-standard stigmatisation of Russia’s traditionalism, it was incredibly insightful with regard to the degeneracy of the West’s late-stage liberalism and its anti-natural character:

Properly speaking, the [Western] attempts to use us in their own interests never ceased until quite recently: they sought to destroy our traditional values and force on us their false values that would erode us, our people from within, the attitudes they have been aggressively imposing on their countries, attitudes that are directly leading to degradation and degeneration because they are contrary to human nature. This is not going to happen. No one has ever succeeded in doing this, nor will they succeed now.’

This is not to be naive towards Putin’s cynical domestic appeals, atavistic tendencies, or the geopolitical rationale for his invasion. It is merely to note the starkness of his indictment of the West and the undeniable truth of his remarks: witness our anaemic birth rates and the parlous state of the Western family; our drug crises and obesity epidemic; our riots, toppled statues and civil discord; and our utter cultural degeneracy as represented by events such as the Drag Queen Story Hour.

For Putin, the United States and the countries under its umbrella are in the grip of an epoch-ending insanity and mass delusion: ‘One can say with good reason and confidence that the whole so-called Western bloc formed by the United States in its own image and likeness is, in its entirety, [an] “empire of lies”.’

It’s clear, then, that we in Australia are deeply enmeshed in this ‘empire of lies’ and require extrication. A rethinking of our whole strategic and philosophic positioning due to this global schism and how we best navigate it is thus required. It is a stance that assorted European leaders have come to realise and that some of our more perceptive commentators have too.

In an ideal world, a conservatively-inclined elite would steer us through such turbulent waters, promoting a type of Israel-like consensus around domestic defence capability, cultural coherence, and national unity.

Given our non-nuclear status, dependence on American power, and lack of a patriotic elite, there is no practical alternative for Australia except to remain wedded to the fractious America-led order: one whose most pernicious tendencies – excessive diversity and mass immigration, and uber-social and economic liberalism – we show no sign of repealing. A superior state to Chinese vassaldom, to be sure, but one that’s anti-natural and redolent with a degeneracy that’s becoming increasingly difficult to sustain.

Got something to add? Join the discussion and comment below.

Show comments