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The Defence Strategic Update – defending US imperialism

Written by: (Contributed) on 8 July 2020

 

The recent announcement from the Morrison coalition government about the Defence Strategic Update 2020 (DSU) has little to do with Australian defence and security considerations; it is primarily concerned with strengthening the so-called 'alliance' and 'US interests' with the United States in the Indo-Pacific region.
 
The developments have also taken place within the context of rising US-led diplomatic tensions toward China.
 
Morrison's announcement of an increased $270 billion Australian defence budget for the next decade was couched in political duplicity and jargonised terminology; it included flowery statements including that it 'embraces a new strategic agenda based on hi-tech force projection for Australia' together with other trivia. (1) It was timed to coincide with Pentagon military planning in what may well be the dying months of the Trump administration; US-led military hawks want to strengthen and consolidate their present Cold War position before a likely change of presidency.
 
The so-called DSU, therefore, is primarily concerned with the military alliance with the US and 'US interests' in a region where the rise of China has been assessed as altering the traditional balance of forces and hegemonic positions.
 
US military planning uses Australia as a regional hub for operations in the southern part of the region, with Japan as a northern counterpart. Military planning based on the DSU defines the north-east Indian Ocean, south-east Asia and the south-west Pacific as 'the core of Australian strategic thinking for decades'. Readers of the defence department releases are denied specific important facts to hide the role of the US. (2)
 
In early 1973, for example, the then South African Apartheid government of Prime Minister Vorster opened a Maritime Operational Communications Headquarters at Silvermine, near Cape Town. (3) A few weeks later the US opened similar intelligence facilities on Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean, which were subsequently linked to Pine Gap, central Australia. (4) The system was then linked to similar facilities in Argentina for US-led surveillance of the southern oceans. All four strategic hubs are situated on the same distances, using an actual size world map, revealing compatibility of signals transmission and reception facilities.
 
The US used Australia to host the Pine Gap facilities due to its relative political stability and strategic position, with strong diplomatic links with the neighbouring region. It is, therefore, hardly surprising to note the areas of the Indo-Pacific regarded as the 'Australian Defence Force geographical focus' all exist on the same arc from Pine Gap using an actual size world map. It is, furthermore, important to note the emphasis placed upon electronic warfare provision and other advanced intelligence-based facilities in the DSU budget, for the 'first objective … to shape Australia's strategic environment'. (5)
 
The DSU budget, for example, has included the expansion of the Jindalee Operational Radar Network, based at Longreach, Queensland, to provide greater wide area surveillance of 'Australia's eastern approaches'. (6) No reference, however, was provided about Island Chain Theory, the revamped vogue military strategist standpoint where Australia forms part of the main third chain and the defence and security of eastern coastlines are regarded as potentially vulnerable. (see diagram) The theory was largely discredited in the previous Cold War, although the Trump administration has little time for historical precedents.
 
It is also interesting to note the political duplicity used with official media releases; what has been omitted is far more revealing of Pentagon mindsets. One release about the Australian regional role with US-led military planning, for example, stated 'significantly, the priority zone does not include north-east Asia'. (7) North-east Asia, however, does not form part of Canberra's area of designated interest as shown by the arc from Pine Gap. Other US-led intelligence facilities based in Japan are used for the surveillance of the northern part of the region.
 
US military hawks are quite clearly planning for real-war scenarios and have already issued media releases headlined with 'Australia must be up for conventional war'. (8) And with the Pentagon pulling the strings and their puppets jumping to attention in Canberra,  we need an independent foreign policy!
                                      
1.     Our best defence is a good offence, The Weekend Australian, 4-5 July 2020.
2.     Money must flow if we're muscling up, Australian, 2 July 2020.
3.     Maritime Operational and Communications HQ, The Star (South Africa), 10 March 1973; and, Security in the Mountain, The Star (South Africa), 17 March 1973; see also, The Falcon and the Snowman, Robert Lindsay, ((New York, 1979).
4.     Wikipedia: Diego Garcia.
5.     Morrison shoulders arms to Beijing, Australian, 1 July 2020.
6.     Air, Total Spending, $65 billion – Main New Initiatives, Australian, 2 July 2020.
7.     Weekend Australian, op.cit., 4-5 July 2020.    
8.     Australia must be up for conventional war, Australian, 2 July 2020.
 

 

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