Trouble brewing

If the thought of President Trump fumbling about with the nuclear codes is enough to give you serious night sweats, you might be wise to avoid John Pilger’s latest piece of frontline journalism, The Coming War on China, which presents the alarming case for an inevitable and potentially catastrophic conflict between the world’s two greatest superpowers.



Director: John Pilger
Rating: (E)
Three and a half stars (out of five)


Both confronting and highly polemical, the film aims to posit US military activity in the Asia-Pacific region throughout the past 70 years as a gradual strategy of not only reasserting its dominance over China after the indignities of Mao’s revolution, but of retribution for China’s modern-day status as an economic powerhouse currently matching the US at its own game.

Curiously, the first third of this two-hour documentary is devoted to a horrifying and vividly detailed expose of nuclear testing in the Marshall Islands during the ’40s and ’50s, propped up by some appallingly racist propaganda films from the era.

It’s sobering viewing, and is by far the strongest segment, although it’s unclear exactly how it adds to Pilger’s overall thesis other than to paint America in the worst possible light.

The next hour or so focuses on the massive US expansion in the Asia-Pacific region between then and now in order to form what Pilger calls a "giant noose" of missiles, bombers and warships encircling China.

Only time will tell how this story ends, but it’s evident that Pilger’s brand of provocative and passionate reportage is needed now more than ever.

- Jeremy Quinn 

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