In 1898 the Polish banker Jan Bloch published his book Future War and its Economic Consequences which predicted that war would become a duel of industrial might, a matter of total economic attrition. His prediction of war as a clash of industrial systems came to pass 16 years later with the outbreak of WW1. It is just as true today. China, with its civil-military fusion, is remaking itself for its war of choice.

How do we know that China will start a war? China’s President Xi has been saying for years that China’s military should prepare for war. We now know that it’s not just bluster. China is making real sacrifices that would be pointless without a war to justify them. Russia’s war on Ukraine is just about to enter its third year. China thought that war would be over in a matter of days. The fact that it has gone on for so long has upset China’s own war plans. China planned on the basis that its coming war would be short, sharp and glorious. Now China realises that it will be blockaded, possibly for years. Which is a problem for a country that imports 41 percent of the plant protein its agricultural system is based on.

Nominally, those plant protein imports, mostly soybeans, feed 530 million people on a balanced diet. To get around the problem of a blockade, Xi will make China go vegetarian for the duration of his war. He also issued an edict to increase grain production by 50 million tonnes per annum. To that end China has hired 80,000 agricultural inspectors who are going around rural areas to rip up orchards and forests and any other ground that can be repurposed for growing grain. But what confirms without doubt that war is coming is that a recently completed greenbelt around the western city of Chengdu, built at a cost of $7 billion, is being bulldozed  to put 40,000 hectares back under the plough. At China’s average annual yield of six tonnes of grain to the hectare, this will produce a quarter of a million tonnes per annum – a meaningful contribution to the 50 million tonne target.

What is Australia doing to prepare itself to fight 1,300 million vegetarians? We are destroying our industrial base under a policy called Net Zero. Net Zero raises our operating costs and makes our industry uncompetitive against imports. In fact, the business closures due to lack of competitiveness are continuing as predicted in Brian Fisher’s Economic consequences of Labor’s Climate Change Action Plan, published in May 2019. Mr Fisher found that Labor’s then target of a 45 percent reduction in emissions by 2030 would lead to a contraction of the entire economy and cause particular pain to the manufacturing sector. He predicted a 15.8 percent contraction in the manufacture of chemicals, rubber, and plastic and a 9.3 percent reduction in the manufacture of non-metallic goods. And forecast a loss of 336,000 jobs economy wide.

A few weeks ago Alcoa announced the closure of its Kwinana alumina refinery with 1,200 to become unemployed. The most recent major closure is a steelworks in Newcastle that made railway wheels. Railway wheels will now be imported from China, weakening our economy while strengthening theirs. While foregoing the use of coal in our own economy, we are exporting coal to China which they use to make things to kill Australians.

The most apposite historic analogy of what Australia is doing to itself now is the 1856 cattle-killing frenzy of the Xhosa tribe in what is now South Africa. Briefly, a teenage girl named Nongqawuse and her friend Nombanda went to fetch water. Upon returning, she said that had met the spirits of three of her ancestors who had told her that the Xhosa people should destroy their crops and kill their cattle. In return the spirits would sweep the British settlers into the sea. Then their granaries would fill again and their kraals would have more and better cattle. Nongqawuse was young and not believed right away.

Upon hearing the story, the Xhosa chief and his council attended the waterhole to investigate for themselves. Asked if they could hear the voice and the instructions, some council members said they too could hear the message and confirmed its central elements. Kill, burn on a certain date, and the ancestors will rise out of the ocean and drive the abelungu out of their country. The colloquial name for ‘Whites’ derives from the word ‘mlumbi’ – one who tricks you, or ‘trickster’. So this cattle killing and crop burning was done with the active participation of the powerful and proper ‘peer review’ by the authorities of the day.

The cattle-killing frenzy that followed killed between 300,000 and 400,000 head of cattle. In the resulting famine, the population of the province dropped from 105,000 to fewer than 27,000. This is a photo of Nongqause’s gravestone:

The moral basis of Net Zero is global warming. Most scientists consider global warming to be a scientific fallacy. Prominent physicists in the US who say that global warming is wrong in science include Nobel laureate John Clauser, Professor Steven Koonin and Professor Will Happer. Morally, these eminent scientists would be offended that the purity and sanctity of science is being degraded by false claims in the name of science and that is what motivated them to make their opinions public.

Global warming, as an issue, would have been killed off in the term of President Trump but be was talked out of it by his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, who said it might upset Republican women. If Trump is re-elected as President late this year, killing off global warming will be one of the first things that the new administration will do.

Australia will be left high and dry as the only country still ruining its economy due to ‘feelings’, with a decimated economy and a major war coming. To survive that war, Australians need to get motivated enough to adopt the best possible industrial policy, based on real science.

David Archibald is the author of The Anticancer Garden in Australia.