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ASPI – Australians Serving Predatory Imperialism

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by Nick G.  (June 2014)

Darwin residents are having to get used to the sights of US tanks in their streets. On the third weekend in June, US tanks, all decked out with weapons poised for action, put on a display that many locals felt quite confronting.

No doubt the US imperialists see such displays as part of a softening up process and a precursor to an expanded military presence in this country.

ASPI offers our sovereignty to US imperialism
Just such an expansion was urged at the beginning of June by the government funded Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI).

Like other right-wing think tanks, the role of the ASPI is to provide a platform from which advocates for imperialism can urge on the further subordination of this country to the US. It provides them with the means with which to fly kites to soften up the public.

In its analysis of the 2014 “defence” budget, ASPI raises the unlikely prospect of US “disengagement” from the Asia-Pacific and puts forward a treacherous and bizarre proposal for turning the whole of our continent into a US base against the peoples of the region.

“Leaders need followers,” argues the paper.

“But there’s also something that Australia can offer the United States which goes to the heart of its economic and security interests - access to 7.7 million square kilometres of terrain stretching from the Pacific to Indian Ocean and from the Great Southern Ocean to the base of the Asian archipelago.”

“As the Western pacific becomes more contested, the value of access to Australian ports, airfields and training grounds will surely grow.  It’s arguably the most valuable thing we can offer our ally… a solid strategic base straddling the sea lanes passing from the Indian to Pacific Oceans.”

Top Army chief urges subservience to US
In a speech to ASPI on 13 February 2014, Lieutenant General David Morrison, Chief of the Australian Army, offered his own view of the role of the Australian “Defence” Forces (ADF).

He said that the ADF has “always really existed to defend Australia’s sovereignty, not its geography as defined by a continental landmass”.

And he defined our “sovereignty” as that of a “trading state”, as a state that is essentially maritime in nature, and one that must therefore be able to engage in conflicts outside of its borders.

Australia, he pointed out, has been at war for more than one third of the time since Federation in 1901, but not once has that involved fighting within the continental boundaries of the country with the exception of Japanese bombardments of northern cities and towns during World War 2.

For Morrison, aggressive actions beyond our borders in support of an imperialist-led “global order” are a necessary part of the ADF’s role.  “The real issue is not whether we need to be able to deploy military forces away from our shores.  I take that as a given.  The issue is whether they are prepared adequately to do their jobs with an acceptable level of risk.”

For Morrison, being a client state of an imperialist master is also a given.

He sees the future of the Australian ruling class as “guaranteed by the dominant maritime power of the day,” and that “area sea control is unachievable for us and it remains the monopoly of great naval powers.” 

He argues for inequality in relations between countries.  “… formal inequality – where someone, or some state or group, has more authority and power than others … prevents chaos”. 

Top US commander defines our role
On April 9, 2014 Admiral Harry B. Harris Jr., Commander of the US Pacific Fleet, spoke at an ASPI gathering at the Australian War Memorial.

He noted that it was his third visit to Australia since assuming command last October.

Like Morrison, he stressed maritime power as “the minimum necessary condition” for the accumulation of capital by the world’s biggest and most exploitative corporations (or for “global prosperity and trade to flourish” in his own chosen weasel words).

He painted a picture of an increasingly assertive and aggressive China and saw the role of the US and its “allies” as “fostering a rules-based system that respects international law and adheres to international norms.  This is a strategy that makes great powers great.”

That is, US imperialism will define the rules and then force compliance through its military.

He called for weapons development and procurement that “will further increase interoperability between our two navies” and praised Australia as a “truly great maritime power”.  

He concluded by stating that the Pacific Fleet, with which Australia is to be a subservient and interoperable member, “must be ready to fight tonight.  From Hollywood to Bollywood, from polar bears to penguins, and everywhere in between…”

We must end our subservience to US imperialism
The aggressive and predatory beast that is US imperialism always seeks full spectrum domination at the expense of the peoples and nations of the world.

We cannot allow our future to be determined by and tied to the self-interest of a global superpower. 

We must pull down the kites flown by ASPI.

We will determine our own future and our own foreign policy in the fight for anti-imperialist independence and socialism.

We will strive to replace an army committed to subservience to a foreign power with an army committed to the true interests of the working people of this country and those of our friends in the working classes of all nations.


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