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US imperialism responsible for military tension in our region

Written by: (Contributed) on 1 August 2020


The Indo-Pacific region, in recent times, has experienced a massive wave of US-led militarism.

As one military exercise ends, another begins, in a relentless campaign to dislodge China's influence as a competitor in the wider region.

A closer study of one recent military exercise, however, has revealed a great deal about dominant thinking at the highest levels of the Trump administration and Pentagon and their Cold War positions toward China.

The wave of US-led Cold War militarism sweeping the Indo-Pacific region is not particularly difficult to establish. A recent edition of the Australian newspaper, for example, carried front-page coverage that about 'as many as fifty US patrols have been carried out this month' around Taiwan, together with other military manoeuvres and war-games elsewhere in the region. (1)

A page two article of the same edition carried a five-column article about a supposed network of Chinese secret agents operating in Tasmania. (2) No evidence, however, was provided from official government sources. The article, quoting two little known academics, was highly speculative. Quotations in the article, furthermore, also included lurid reference to China's Consulate in Melbourne being used to co-ordinate 'a network of CCP agents of influence operating in Hobart's political, business and university communities'. (3)

The media coverage was fairly typical of daily Cold War propaganda from mainstream media outlets in contemporary Australia.

One recent US-led military exercise in the Philippine Sea, however, has revealed a great deal about US Cold War military planning: the exercise, composed of US, Australian and Japanese navies, took place in late July with a minimum of publicity. Diplomatic links between the US, Australia and Japan form the main triangular defence and security provision for the vast Indo-Pacific region. The area of the Philippine Sea, close to the main South China Seas, is regarded as highly sensitive with access and egress to major shipping-lanes.
While the military exercise was US-led and planned, it was composed of five Australian naval vessels: the Canberra, Hobart, Stuart, Arunta, Sirius. The US and Japanese contribution was based on one naval vessel each, revealing the commitment the US expects of Australia for regional policing roles. (4)

The exercise also rested upon numerous US military facilities being re-opened in the Philippines in recent times. (5) There was, however, no official Philippine military involvement in the exercise. They were quite clearly, not invited to participate. Duterte, fascist murderer of his own people that he is, said on July 27 in his annual State of the Nation Address that the Philippines would continue upholding an independent foreign policy, would not pick sides between China and the United States, would now not agree to allow U.S. troops back to military bases in the country, and would not confront China over the South China Sea. (6)

The Philippines, nevertheless, has had long-time involvement with the US, being centrally and strategically placed in Asia. However, it has long been regarded by the Pentagon as politically unstable and highly volatile; US military facilities, therefore, are invariably linked to other places for longer-term viability and security.

The US-led military exercise in the Philippine Sea, for example, would appear closely linked to manoeuvres around the strategic Bashi channel in southern Taiwan, which runs to the island of Luzon in the Philippines. The Pentagon, in recent times, has become obsessed with island chains in the Asia-Pacific region, which are assessed as acting as buffers to repel adversaries.  

The Philippines also rests upon the same arc as Guam, in Micronesia, a main US hub, from ADF facilities in Brisbane, forming a strategic triangle for US-led military operations, resting inside the main triangular relations with the US and Japan and providing demarcation lines with Island Chain Theory. (7) The relationship between the two has revealed the linkage between main defence and security hubs and other military sub-facilities. 

The fact the US subsequently flew two bomber planes from the Anderson Air Force Base on Guam to the South China Seas via the Sula Sula entrance point part way through the naval exercise formed part of the grander military plan with real-war scenarios being a calculated option. (8)

The developments have taken place amid an escalation of regional Cold War hostilities directed toward China despite the findings of two recent credible studies:

*Early last year an official US Defence Intelligence Agency assessment of China as an adversary concluded that there 'was no indication China was looking to take military action anywhere soon' (9);
*A risk assessment of likely military conflict between the US and China conducted by Air Power recently published a report stating 'conflict in the next twelve months as likely, over the next two years as highly likely and over the next three years as almost certain'. (10)

Evidence, therefore, from highly credible sources would point to US-led militarisation in the Indo-Pacific region being the outcome of Pentagon planning with calculated real-war scenarios being the chosen option. There is little ambiguity.

With Australia being drawn ever closer to these US-led military plans:

                                         We need an independent foreign policy!

1.     US spy planes track China's monitoring activity of Taiwan, Australian, 29 July 2020.

2.     Ibid.

3.     Ibid.
4.     Australia with Japan and US Navies, Navy Naval Maritime Defence Industry, July News; and, Australia joins US and Japan for navy drills, The Telegraph, 22 July 2020.
5.     Tightening Philippine military involvement with the US, The Philippine Star, 5 May 2018.
6.     China appreciates Duterte's remarks on South China Sea, Xinhua 29 July 2020
7.     The Strategic Significance of Manus Island for the US Navy, US Naval Institute, December 2018.
8.     Beijing sends fighter jets to disputed islands, Australian, 24 July 2020.
9.     Chinese military 'beef up threat', Australian, 17 January 2019.
10.     Temperature rising as China opposition growing, Australian, 28 July 2020.



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