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Issue #1774      April 26, 2017

NO to war

Peace is union business

The world is spiralling towards World War Three, a nuclear war which nobody can win. US imperialist aggression is out of control, directly or indirectly threatening independent nation states on every continent of the globe.

Photo: Avante Media Australia

Donald Trump has wasted no time in overturning pre-election rhetoric rejecting “endless war” or war in more than one theatre. He is shaping up to become the most reckless and dangerous of war hawks yet to hold the US presidency.

Trump’s appointments to senior government positions and actions reveal an alarming and power-hungry, ultra-conservative hell bent on asserting US global economic, political and military domination by force. Trump appears prepared to do whatever the US war machine and its military industrial complex demand of him.

US Vice-President Mike Pence has just completed a tour of the South East Asia region including Australia, briefing allied governments in South Korea, Japan, Indonesia, as well as here.

Pence did not hold back with his warnings to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea). In provocative and chilling threats, Pence repeatedly made the same threat in relation to North Korea: “The era of strategic patience is over”.

Pence raised the stakes saying: “all options are on the table”, that “if China is unable to deal with North Korea, the United States and our allies will.” The DPRK has resorted to heightened defence response mode to protect itself from the US which holds annual joint exercises with South Korea, rehearsing an invasion of the north.

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull faithfully and blindly echoed Pence’s threat of war, describing the DPRK’s regime as “reckless and dangerous” and claiming it “puts the peace and stability of our region at risk”.

Tensions heightened

In 2011, President Barack Obama flew to Australia to declare, in an address to parliament, what became known as the “pivot to Asia”: the biggest build-up of US air and naval forces in the Asia-Pacific region since the Second World War. The target was China.

In July, one of the biggest US-led naval exercises ever staged, the biennial Exercise Talisman Sabre, is set to rehearse a blockade of the sea lanes through which run China’s commercial lifelines. Based on an Air-Sea Battle Plan for war with China, which prescribes a pre-emptive “blinding” attack, this “war game” will be played by Australia and other allies.

China has been encircled by about 400 US military bases. In a similar fashion, the US has encircled Russia with its own and NATO bases.

Pivot to Asia

The real threat of peace and stability comes from US imperialism and its allies, which includes Australia.

The target remains China. The bombing and invasion of North Korea would provide the US with yet another strategic military base and facilities on the border of China. North Korea also has a short border with Russia, another target high on the US’s list, near Vladivostok.

Last month the US announced the deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defence System (Thaad) in South Korea. This raises concerns for China’s security as well as that of North Korea.

Xinhua, the official Chinese news agency, warned that Thaad would bring an arms race in the region: “More missile shields of one side inevitably bring more nuclear missiles of the opposing side that can break through the missile shield,” it said.

North Korea’s Ambassador to the UN, Ja Song-nam, said in a letter to the UN Security Council that the US was using nuclear propelled aircraft carriers, nuclear submarines, nuclear strategic bombers and stealth fighters in joint exercises with South Korea which began on March 1.

“Consequently, the situation on the Korean Peninsula is again inching to the brink of a nuclear war,” the letter said.

These joint exercises encroach on North Korean waters on an annual basis, rehearsing an invasion of North Korea, a blatant intimidation.

The US is also in the process of increasing its military forces and weaponry in Australia.

Endless war

When Détente ended with the demise of the former socialist Soviet Union, the US became emboldened and more bellicose.

“Islamist terrorism” has replaced the “threat of communism”. On September 11, 1990, US President George Bush made his public declaration of a “new world order”. Then on January 16, 1991, the bombing of Iraq began, Operation Desert Storm was underway.

In 1992, a document titled “Defence Planning Guidance”, was published openly declaring a long-held aim, that the United States would become the sole superpower handling the military needs of the world. The document offered pre-emptive wars, allegedly to eliminate “weapons of mass destruction” (WMDs).

In 2002, the Bush administration’s Nuclear Posture Review included plans to use nuclear weapons against China, Iraq, Russia, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Iran, Libya and Syria. Nuclear weapons were no longer considered weapons of “last resort”.

The policy of “pre-emptive” strike was announced. Pre-emptive strike is a term for out-and-out aggression against independent states, in complete violation of international law. It was supported by the then Howard Coalition government.

Since then the US and its proxies have waged endless and wars and effected regime change or destabilised governments in a host of countries. The justifications for these illegal and horrendous acts have been based on lies, such as the alleged stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq or the demonisation of leaders. These include in Somalia, Yemen, Sudan, Yugoslavia, Libya, Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Ukraine.

The US turned its attention to economic rivals Russia and China and the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation which is an Eurasian political, economic and military organisation covering China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

The US has military and spy bases in over 150 countries with 160,000 active-duty personnel and is directly or through its proxies is presently involved in conflicts in Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Sudan, Afghanistan, Ukraine, the strategically placed and oil rich Middle East and Horn of Africa.

It is in the process of attempting to destabilise the governments of Venezuela and Bolivia, and still has Cuba in its sights.

The US envisages the construction of new military bases in Latin America including Colombia on the immediate border of Venezuela.

Trump has indicated his full support for the right-wing Zionist government of Israel and ongoing oppression of the Palestinian people. The unspoken agenda is outright elimination of Palestine and the installation of “Greater Israel”.

When Donald Trump launched his recent missile attack on Syria – following his bombing of a mosque and a school – he was having dinner in Florida with the President of China, Xi Jinping. All the media could do was focus on the chocolate cake he was eating.

Role of media

The media’s role is to lend legitimacy to the US’s war-mongering, presenting the US as a global peace-maker bringing democracy and human rights to the countries it bombs and invades. The media in Australia sings the same tune, churns out the same line, word perfect with every new bombing, drone attack or lie.

The Washington Post’s claim, “Wars make us safer and richer”, was a classic. In reality, they do nothing of the sort. Wars are eating up budgets, making the people poorer, causing mass destruction and misery and feed into the global growth of terrorism. A nuclear war will leave the planet inhabitable.

The corporate media have come to the party, repeating and failing to question the lies and trotting out the same slogans of “failed states”, “global war on terror”: to make war an acceptable necessity.

Western trained and funded mercenaries such as in Syria are referred to as the “opposition” fighting “a civil war”. The immediate goal in Syria is regime change followed by the installation of a compliant government and control over resources and the country which is strategically placed in the Middle East.

The wars are illegal and unjustified.

Shift to right

The drive to war and to make war appear acceptable has been accompanied by a marked shift to the Right. In Europe, neo-fascist movements, backed and funded by the US, have made significant gains. In particular in the Ukraine, Poland, Lithuania and Romania where there are governments of the extreme right.

Le Pen in France and New Dawn in Greece are amongst others which have made significant gains, and not without considerable assistance from the corporate media and corporate donations, which has done a great deal to “mainstream” them.

In Australia, Pauline Hanson’s One Nation party, which fuels the racist and xenophobic hatred and anti-Islam sentiments, has received considerable assistance from the media in a process aimed at normalising fascists.

The treatment of asylum seekers, many victims of the endless wars, fuels the racist fires and detracts from the real cause of people’s insecurity and suffering – capitalism.

Fight for peace and independence

Since the Second World War Australia has been involved in numerous conflicts on behalf of the US. These range from outright war and the training of foreign forces, to espionage and destabilisation of governments.

The US’s military facilities at Pine Gap in South Australia are dedicated to spying and war fighting.

Its most important function is as a ground control station for US satellites which covers one third of the earth, encompassing the strategic areas of southern Russia, China and the oil fields of the Middle East.

Australia, willingly or not, would be immediately implicated in any war fought by the US against China or Russia, because of the role that Pine Gap plays and the use of Australia as a launching pad for US forces. The only way for Australia to be completely independent is to close Pine Gap and all other foreign military facilities and end the ANZUS Treaty. The US military installations, particularly Pine Gap, also make prime targets in any US-instigated conflict.

Pine Gap is also used in the carrying out of extrajudicial, illegal killings using drones.

Peace is union business

This May Day the world is on the brink of two irreversible catastrophes – nuclear war and destruction of human life on our planet as a result of human induced climate change.

Both catastrophes are being driven by capitalism and its rapacious and blinkered pursuit of profits.

In Australia, we can play our part by joining the anti-imperialist movement to end the US alliance, close all foreign bases and adopt and assert Australia’s sovereignty and independence.

Next article – Editorial – Shared values

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