They came over the horizon, and they kept on coming, and we never had a chance. Floated on a foaming tide of bubble-thought -- yes, it was the hundreds of "reasonable" op-eds about AUKUS and the new drift to global war. All agreed upon the nature of the Chinese threat, the "deep bonds" with the US, our ally in liberal democracy, and the Quad, consisting of (to paraphrase Tom Lehrer) our recent allies such as India and our traditional allies such as Japan. With the awkward squad of Hugh White and Paul Keating out of the way, the mainstream media could turn to what it has mostly wanted to do: sell the new dual semi-formal treaties as something for which there is no alternative.
Thus in The Australian we had a Chris Patten reprint from Project Syndicate portraying China as the unique purveyor of realpolitik in the world; Marise Payne in The Age/SMH giving the soft view that all these new arrangements are simply an interconnected world making links -- which just happen to exclude and surround China; an advertisement for military front group ASPI posing as an op-ed by Stephen Loosely... and on it went. Our brief flurry of debate was over. We will be there, wherever there is.
This is the full disaster of the AUKUS/Quad deals as they stand.