More signs of regional war drive
Written by: (Contributed) on 17 September 2021
Moves by Microsoft to push deeper into the Australian economy with satellite systems together with the appointment of a former senior US military official in Adelaide to manage operations show the continued significance of Australia for US regional foreign policy.
As the US increasingly focuses on the Indo-Pacific as a likely 'theatre of war' with China, the significance of Australia as a base for future real war scenarios has increased.
In Japan, the selection procedure for a new prime minister has illustrated a significant shift in right-wing political and diplomatic positions in the US northern regional hub.
The developments carry serious implications for the peoples of the Indo-Pacific region.
In early September Microsoft announced the opening of Azure Space in the Adelaide-based Lot 14 innovation hub. The US corporation has plans for developing defence industry capability with global positioning systems (GPS), satellites and intelligence collection. (1) Working alongside the Australian Space Agency (ASA), Microsoft has planned to assist with the expansion of the ASA.
Australia with its regional alliance with the US, has become essential for their foreign policy provision across the vast Indo-Pacific. Its long-time military alliance with the US and compliant governments in Canberra has enabled the Pentagon to make extensive use of Australian-based military facilities. It is, therefore, not surprising to find the Adelaide-based Azure operation is led by a retired US Air Force Colonel, Lynn McDonald, who was moved from Washington to Canberra earlier this year. In her former US military capacity McDonald was responsible for leading a squadron which ran space-based infra-red systems, working in conjunction with the Pentagon and their GPS and satellite operations for intelligence gathering. (2)
It is also interesting to note the Microsoft planning has also included reference to domestic uses of the technology with 'know how to unlock the value in the trove of data from satellites orbiting the earth, simplifying and streamlining access for defence, intelligence'. (3) The plans also include a close working relationship with Nokia, for 5G telecommunications provision, with likely far-reaching implications for civil liberties with increased powers for tracking, monitoring and the surveillance of the general population together with government psychological warfare operations.
The Adelaide-based ASA already has applications with Emergency Services and it is no coincidence the recent US-led Talisman Sabre military exercises included a simulated counter-insurgency operation which included the involvement of local police. (4)
The moves come at a time when the US has become particularly concerned at the rapid rise of China as a serious regional competitor to their traditional hegemonic positions. Recent coverage of US-led joint military operations included concerns that 'the US may not have sufficient military strength to be confident of winning' a future war. (5)
The US has been particularly concerned about the western Pacific region and the ability of China to push through layers of remote island chains, historically used as buffers for containment of China's influences.
Elsewhere, moves in Japan to select a new prime minister has revealed a significant right-wing shift toward a more confrontational type of diplomacy with China.
In fact, one of the main contenders, Sanae Takaichi, announced as part of her right-wing election campaign the commitment to changing Japan's pacifist constitution and a rejection of government apologies for the Second World War together with defending visits to the Yasukini Shrine in Tokyo where war-criminals were hanged. She also supports moves in Japanese schools to use a patriotic view of history, purged of war-time atrocities. It is not coincidental Takaichi was actually photographed with the Japanese leader of a neo-Nazi party. (6) The far-right, historically, are the most aggressive and violent parts of the bourgeoisie, and kept in a 'reserve' type capacity for future use, if, and when, required.
In Australia, likewise, there have been a well-documented history of senior military and intelligence officials liaising with the far-right and para-military organisations. (7)
Other contenders for the position of Japanese prime minister include former foreign minister Fumio Kishida, who has pushed for missile-strike capability against China, leaving little to the imagination about likely future scenarios. (8)
These are indeed warning signs of US-led Cold War allies arming for war, with Australia being drawn ever closer toward regional hostilities.
We need an independent foreign policy!
1. Microsoft making a splash with push into deep space, Australian, 9 September 2021.
4. Ibid., and, Multinational force 'invades' far north, Australian, 2 August 2021.
5. War-gaming tomorrow, The Weekend Australian, 11-12 September 2021.
6. I can be Japan's first female prime minister, says old rocker, Australian, 10 September 2021.
7. Ted Serong, Anne Blair, (Melbourne, 2002), Chapter 8, The Final Campaign, pp. 174-196, has included numerous references to the Australian far-right and para-military orgnisations designed to preserve class and state power from 'subversion'.
8. Japan contender eyes strike missiles, Australian, 9 September 2021.
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