I watched this documentary when it aired on ITV on 6th December. I had been really looking forward to it as I am a fan of John Pilger, but I must admit to being a little underwhelmed, dare I say it, on the grounds of his journalistic quality. The documentary started very well, with a broadside against the appalling US record in the Marshall Islands, but after a potted postwar history, I felt there wasn't much evidence for what Pilger was saying, beyond the expansion of 400 military bases in the area. I know that's a crazy sounding thing to say, but as Pilger pointed out in the film, the US have been expanding their bases in every country and corner of the planet that they can, so the China situation is not unique.
Please don't get me wrong; any idiot can see America's imperialist intentions in the area, but I was looking for an expose or some incontrovertible evidence, like a CIA or administration insider ready to spill the beans, but hawkish apologist Andrew Krepinevich just farted a lot neocon hot methane, like neocons do. I was waiting and waiting to see the economic, or political case for the coming war on China, evidence of wounding cyber attacks, or some kind of paper trail like the bank statements funding a coup attempt or political uprising, diplomatic gerrymandering, trade war, or even a leadership assassination as with Cuba, but nada. Even the discussion of China's human rights record was shallow considering how much there is to go on. The thing I was most surprised about was the failure to engage the Russia question in any substantial way. It was the elephant in the room throughout the whole documentary. Having intimate trade connections and treatise, China and Russia are a combined military force to be reckoned with but this remained unaddressed. Oddly, I left the documentary feeling mildly reassured that if John Pilger armed with a ginormous wooden spoon and some formidable journalistic abilities couldn't unearth anything material, we're probably going to make it to the other side of 2017 in one piece. It comes to something when that's your grounds for optimism I know.
Anyway, Happy New Year!