New US bases in Argentina to strengthen its global domination
The announcement that US imperialism has planned new military bases in Argentina indicates revised military planning with three main considerations.
Firstly, Argentina has historically been a central regional hub for 'US interests'. During the period 2003-15, however, 'US interests' were threatened by centre-left governments in Buenos Aires.The present Trump administration now appears to be attempting to re-establish Argentina as a strategic, regional hub at the earliest opportunity.
Secondly, wider considerations including Venezuela, Bolivia and Ecuador continue to act as a threat to traditional US regional hegemonic positions. The US has, however, been hampered until recently with governments not wanting to be regarded as compliant with its foreign policy objectives.
Finally, US attempts to roll-back Chinese influence in Argentina, across the Latin America region and globally, will be assisted by military facilities in Argentina linked to others, elsewhere, including Australia.
Argentina was a long-time important regional hub for 'US interests' in Latin America. While it received less US military aid and had fewer US-trained military personnel than other countries throughout the southern half of the Americas, Argentina was a centre of operations for the Pentagon. (1) Soon after the new millennium, however, Argentina joined numerous other countries in the region and was less compliant with US imperialist dictate, causing major problems for US regional defence and security planning. Between 2003-15, the country was governed first by Nestor Kirchner until 2007, then by his wife, Cristina until 2015, both pursuing more independent and popular domestic and foreign policies.
Following the election of President Mauricio Macri three years ago Argentina has swung back toward the US and its foreign policy objectives. Since 2015, for example, the Argentina military has had joint exercises with US counterparts. The diplomacy displayed by the US toward Argentina has also become more aggressive in recent times revealing important military planning and a sense of urgency.
In July, US Special Forces undertook training of forty Argentine police officers for a 'Special Group for Federal Operations'. (2) The bill for the program, amounted to US$1.5 million and was paid by the Pentagon. What is particularly revealing about the training program was that it ran counter to sections of the Argentine constitution under Law 25,880 which requires congressional approval for the entry of foreign troops into Argentina.
Moves are now underway for the US to build three new military bases in Argentina, at Neuquen, Misiones and Ushuaia.
The moves rest upon US-led defence and security planning which began in the mid-1960s with technological advances which the Pentagon used to enhance hegemonic positions with global intelligence communications. (3) In October, 1969, readers of the Star newspaper in South Africa were to learn the significance of the Three As: Argentina, South Africa and Australia for defence and security planning for southern oceans and the centrality of their country for western defence and security planning. (4) In 1972, likewise, an elite British military journal, Brassey's Annual, drew attention to the significance of the Three As for western planning. (5)
Later, in early 1973, the whole military plan became operational; the Maritime Operational and Communications Headquarters at Silvermine, near Cape Town in South Africa was linked to similar facilities on Diego Garcia and Pine Gap in central Australia. (6)
The stated range of the Silvermine facilities included Argentine, north Africa and the South Pole, providing defence and security provision for the South Atlantic with Indian Ocean coverage to Bangladesh. Direct contact with the US was maintained through Puerto Rica, with similar contact with Whitehall in London conducted through Mauritius. (7)
The military facilities have been continually updated, a trend which has continued to the present day with US defence budgets.
Using a Peters Projection Actual Size World Map, Scale: 1: 1,230,000,000, the distances between Buenos Aires, Silvermine, Diego Garcia and Pine Gap all remain a constant 17cms, revealing the compatibility of signals transmission systems. Later studies of additional US-led defence and security provision have revealed both Diego Garcia and Guam being developed as hubs for military operations. They, likewise, rest upon an arc of 17cms from Pine Gap, and have been noted as possessing 'a single goal of targeting China'. (8)
The final link in the chain of intelligence communications stretching across the South Atlantic from Argentina and the Indian Ocean is the further 17cms radius of the arc from Guam providing the connection with the US Indo-Pacific Command based in Hawaii.
It should be no surprise the US has linked considerations in Latin America with other military facilities in the Asia-Pacific region due to rising Chinese influence. Many governments in Latin America have attracted large investment and favourable trade with Beijing in recent years.
The US has also had a preoccupation with developments in Venezuela for nearly two decades. Left-wing governments have successfully challenged traditional positions of dominance by US imperialism. Despite massive destabilisation programs by the US the present government of President Nicholas Maduro is still popular and has planned further rounds of progressive legislation including raising the basic minimum wage to about $40 a month. (9) Venezuela, as a dominant country in the region, has also successfully lobbied other governments to not follow US directives, a move which resulted in the Trump administration actually discussing a possible US invasion of the country recently.
Elsewhere, in Bolivia and Ecuador, progressive governments continue to be actively supported by lower socio-economic groups. In the former, however, constitutional practicalities may involve major government changes next year. In the latter, the government has shown less motivation in recent times to challenge the US as the case of Julian Assange has shown. The US, nevertheless, remains deeply unpopular in Latin America following decades of their support for repressive regimes. They now appear, however, to be attempting to reassert traditional hegemonic positions by removing governments not compliant with their foreign policy objectives and to challenge Chinese influence.
A frequent complaint of US foreign policy toward China is that the Pentagon has adopted a Cold War mentality after equating the rising economic power of Beijing and its ability to shape regional and world affairs with increased military and intelligence capability. (10) The new National Defence Act recently passed in the US is another example of a Cold War position. It has been noted the draconian legislation 'puts Chinese companies wanting to invest in the US under closer scrutiny', particularly with supposed 'dual-use' technologies thought to possess civilian and military applications. (11)
It is interesting to note in this light how some elements of Chinese expertise have attracted more US attention than others: in 2009, for example, the government of Argentinian President Cristina Kirchner gave approval for China to develop a satellite tracking system for space research to study the dark side of the moon. Argentina was used as China required a strategic location on the far side of the world for communications. (12) The facilities became operational in 2016 and it is therefore not coincidental the newly proposed US base in Neuquen is near the joint China-Argentine satellite tracking system. (13)
In conclusion, the US-led attempts to roll-back Chinese influence in Argentina also form part of larger military planning which include Australia through intelligence communications. We should be on our guard for possible Australian military connivance and involvement in the southern half of the Americas, following similar interventions elsewhere, including Iraq, Syria and the Korean peninsula, at the behest of the US.
1. The Sun and its Planets, Diagram, The Washington Connection and Third World Fascism, Noam Chomsky and Edward S. Herman, (Boston, 1979), Inside Cover.
2. Argentina's new US base, The Guardian, 1 August 2018.
3. The Falcon and the Snowman, Robert Lindsay, (London, 1981), page 237.
4. New Role for the SA Navy, The Star, South Africa, 4 October 1969.
5. Not in Europe Alone, John Biggs-Davidon, M.P., Brassey's Annual, Defence and the Armed Forces, (London, 1972), page 87.
6. Maritime Operational and Communications HQ, The Star, South Africa, 10 March 1973; and,
Security in the Mountain, The Star, South Africa, 17 March 1973; and,
Website: Naval Support Facility, Diego Garcia, US Defence Department; and,
Fundamental Study of American Military Power, H. Fudzii, (Tokyo, 1986), page, 214; and,
Website: SPACE.COM – Declassified US Spy Satellites Reveal, 18 September 2011; and,
GCHQ, The Secret Wireless War 1900-86, Nigel West, (London, 1987), page 345; and,
Website: Rhyolite Satellites, Rhyolite 2, NSSDCA / COSPAR ID 1973 013A.
7. Star, ibid., 17 March 1973.
8. US Intensifies Military Presence in the Indo-Pacific, Global Times, 24 July 2018.
9. Millions flee Venezuela's crumbling economy chaos, Australian, 21 August 2018.
10. Beijing tires of being target of Uncle Sam's 'Cold War' blasts, Australian, 21 August 2018.
11. Cold War is over, Beijing tells US, Australian, 16 August 2018.
12. Argentina's new US base, The Guardian, 8 August 2018.