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Issue #1593      May 15, 2013

Entrapment – The Australian conundrum

Part 1

The US is a country very comfortable with war. According to the US Congressional Research Centre, it tells us that in the 297 years since the Declaration of Independence the US has regime changed, destabilised, invaded, conducted coups, assassinated leaders, etc., on 200 occasions for various political, ideological and/or economic reasons.

The delusional justification for these crimes against humanity is zealously propagated as the pursuit of democracy, peace, happiness, and stability, in spite of the masses of invalidating evidence to the contrary.

Stephen Kinzer, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and New York Times correspondent makes a telling point in his book, Overthrow: American Century of Regime Change from Hawaii to Iraq: “Defending corporate power is hardly the only reason the US overthrows foreign governments. They do so for the most elemental reasons, which is to acquire more of whatever is good to have. In the modern world, corporations are the institutions that countries use to capture wealth. They become the vanguard of American power, defying them is tantamount to defying the United States”.

Australia’s obsequious servility to the US, bound by two unrequited linkages of US convenience, more commonly known as the ANZUS Treaty and the “Alliance”, have dragged Australia into three indefensible wars: Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan, at an unacceptable cost of life and suffering.

American foreign policy objectives currently function within the foreign policy doctrine “global spectrum dominance”. The following limited statistics seek to expose the extent to which the US has progressed with its doctrinal strategy:

  1. The Pentagon outlays about US$700 billion per annum. This accounts for 41% of all global defence spending. Coupled with its allies’ defence spending, it comes to a total of 71% of global spending. China’s defence expenditure as part of GDP is 8% of global spending.
  2. The US has approximately 300,000 troops stationed abroad, more than the rest of the developing countries combined. That does not include the 90,000 sailors and marines at sea nor is it precisely known how many are in Iraq and Afghanistan. The troops occupy or use some 761 sites in 39 foreign countries.
  3. The engaged countries are: Azerbaijan, Arabia, Australia, Argentina, Afghanistan, Bulgaria, Bahrain, Cuba, Curacao, Columbia, El Salvador, Ecuador, Emirates, Greenland, Germany, Guam, Paraguay, Honduras, Italy, Iraq, Japan, Kuwait, Netherlands, Pakistan, Oman, Puerto Rico, Romania, South Korea, Spain, Saudi Arabia Tajikistan, Turkey, UK, Uzbekistan, Paraguay, Quater, Diego Garcia, and Antarctica.
  4. The Pentagon has divided the planet into unified commands, each under the control of a four-star general or an admiral. They are: Pacific Command responsible for Asia-Pacific region; Central Command responsible for greater Middle East; European Command responsible for EU; African command responsible for 53 nations; Southern Command covers Central and South America and Caribbean; Northern Command is responsible for North America; Strategic Command is responsible for sea and land-based missiles and long-range bombers; and Space Command covers joint space operations.

President Obama, within his first term of office, very quickly moved to shut down the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The real purpose was that the US could not sustain the cost and needed the revenues to fund his Asian re-alignment strategy and the containment of China. Australia, along with other accomplices, namely, Japan, Philippines, South Korea, and India are pressured to join this spurious strategic objective.

Rarely, if ever, has Australia been the centre of such slavish attention with visits from presidents, senior foreign ministers, secretary of state (twice), secretary of defence (three times), army generals, and admirals.

The first visitor was Robert Gates, Secretary of Defence, and Hilary Clinton, Secretary of State. Then, after avoiding Australia to visit India and Indonesia, President Obama, then Hilary Clinton again and a new Defence Secretary, Leon Panetta, the British Home Secretary, William Haig, and the British Defence Secretary, EU Secretary General Fogh Rasmussen, then Admiral Samuel Lochlear and then, twice Richard Armitage – a passionate hawk from the Bush administration.

They were all here, the lackeys of the crumbling colonial powers and declining imperialist power, all with the intent of badgering for Australia’s commitment to the grand Western powers one-dimensional strategy of strategic containment of China.

All were singing from the same spreadsheet. The topics were defence expenditure (or lack of it), joint defence cooperation, joint defence manoeuvres, joint defence ventures, joint strategic ocean tactics, joint strategic planning, and so on. Forgive my cynicism for thinking the spreadsheet may have been crafted in Washington or the Pentagon.

Let us examine the nature of the tactical pressure being applied to the Australian government, by the US, to achieve their objectives.

A statement from President Obama’s office, 19-07-2012: “Australia has used the regular deployment of US Marines to Darwin for half of each year as a shield for slackening its defence expenditures”.

In 2011, President Obama lectured the Australian Parliament on America’s intent of an escalated presence in South East Asia and the expectations of Australia’s role in that process. He said, in part: “Partnerships can’t be just about one nation extracting other nation’s resources”, while not naming the “nation”, it was patently obvious it was China.

The Sydney Morning Herald took the President to task over his overbearing comments by raising questions of the negative implications contained with his assumptions; it raised the following questions:

  1. “Firstly, it was audacious that the President should try to warn Australia off its relationship with its biggest trading partner” (China 25.5% of Australia exports, US 4%).
  2. “It is hypocritical that a president of another country should redefine a free trade relationship between two consenting sovereign states as exploitive”.
  3. “In 2003, the US was Australia’s second biggest export market behind Japan. It received about 12% of our exports; however, in 2004 Australia signed a free trade agreement, hence, and in 2012, our exports had fallen to 4%”.

The next put-down on Australia’s right to determine how it handles its economic responsibilities came from Admiral Locklear, head of the US Pacific Command and Richard Armitage, who publicly launched a tirade of offensive statements: “It threatens the country’s credibility as an ally”, “Australia is freeloading on the American taxpayer”, “Australia defence spending has fallen below what the US expects”, “Australia’s defence budget is inadequate”, and so on.

Next week: Authoritarian disrespect to sovereignty

The Beacon  

Next article – Culture & Life – Chaos and destruction

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