It has been revealed in The Australian newspaper that the 2009 Defence White Paper “Force 2030” included a secret chapter that planned for Australia to fight alongside the U.S. to enforce a naval blockade of crucial sea lanes and how in return Australia might be faced with retaliatory attacks by China on our ports, mines and strategic targets like the U.S. Pine Gap military base. It also reveals that this potential conflict was the reason that the White Paper committed Australia to purchasing tens of billions of dollars worth of military equipment. This revelation is just the latest that documents how the deepening of our military alliance with the U.S. in a time of increasing militarism in the Asia Pacific poses great dangers to the working classes of not just Australia but indeed the whole region.
Related: Coverage in the Australian -- Analysis in the WSWS
The article in The Australian revealed that the purchase of 12 big conventional submarines with missiles, Joint Strike Fighters, air warfare destroyers and giant landing ships was all to prepare for war with China.The article went on:
“The missing chapter focused on Australia's ability to fight an air-sea battle alongside the US against China. The plan was for blockades distant from China but designed to control its sea routes and stop the flow of natural resources on which its industrial engine depended.”
"A major power adversary would be expected to respond to these blockades by mining and attacking ports," the paper said.
"Part of the Defence thinking is that in the event of a conflict with the US, China would attempt to destroy Pine Gap, the US-Australia signals facility near Alice Springs, which is crucial for guiding US military operations in Asia ... the paper envisages a very different world in which Australian naval operations alongside the US in, say, the South China Sea, could lead to direct Chinese attack on Australia ...
"The capability of China to reach out 5000km and touch Australia was a new element of the strategic environment."
It is clear that U.S. and Australian planners are preparing for the ability to cripple China with naval blockades of crucial sea lanes such as the Straits of Malaccas. This provocative strategy is reminiscent of the U.S. blockade of oil to Japan during World War Two which help precipitate the U.S. Japanese conflict in the Pacific.
Since the 2009 White Paper tensions between the U.S. and China have only worsened in the region as the U.S. under Obama has conducted an aggressive “pivot to Australia”. Announced during Obama’s visit to Australia in 2011, Obama declared that the U.S. will now reduce its focus on the Middle East and turn instead to the Asia Pacific. This policy announcement heralded a deepening and increased importance of the 60 year old Australia/U.S. Alliance ANZUS. Marines are now placed permanently in Darwin, the first such permanent basing of U.S. troops in Australia since World War Two. The U.S. is to be granted much greater access to Northern Australian ports, some of which are undergoing upgrading to accommodate U.S. war vessels. The creation of a joint drone spy base on the Australian owned Cocos Island is also in the pipeline.
The overt support for the new U.S. policy of containment of Chinese power in the Asia Pacific from PM Julia Gillard has been much more public. Julia Gillard has also effectively committed Australian forces to Afghanistan indefinitely with the signing of the joint strategic partnership with the Karzai Government and has stated they intend to leave our force in Afghanistan for at “least a decade”. In practice this means our Special Forces will remain in Afghanistan to act as assassination squads for the U.S. It should be remembered that it was “protected” U.S. sources such as Mark Arbib that moved to have Rudd replaced in 2010 by Gillard. Again Wikileaks has revealed how the the U.S.A was hostile to Rudd’s attempts to find a diplomatic way of accommodating the rise of Chinese power in the Asia Pacific.
There is much tension within the ruling capitalist elite in Australia on how to best respond to the dilemma created by our securitiy relationship with the U.S. taking us down the path of conflict with China who are also our biggest trading partners. However it is clear that all parties wish to keep the extent of the risk of war with China essentially a secret from the Australian people.
Resistance to the march to war
The World Socialist Website is providing excellent and ongoing analysis of the rise in tensions in the Asia Pacific and the role of the Australian Government in fueling the road to war. Find them at www.wsws.org
Attend public meetings
SEP Public Meeting:Defend Wikileaks Editor Julian Assange June 10th
Blockade the Swan Island Military Base in Queenscliff in September. The base is where Special Forces train before going to Afghanistan and in addition is home to the Australian overseas spy agency ASIS. Protest the War in Afghanistan, the U.S. alliance and the preparations for war against China.
Understand the system that fuels war!
We need to build an educated peace movement that understands why the U.S. Alliance is keeping Australia permanently at war and how it threatens to put us on the front line of the next world war against China.
We also need to understand the role of imperialism and capitalism in fueling this cycle of war. It is the system of seperate nation states, each ruled by its own capitalist elite who in their need to maximise profits must compete with each other to control markets and resources. This competition is inevitably worsened during times of breakdown in capitalism such has been occuring since 2008. The current situation of increased competition between the imperial powers echoes the situation that occured in the build up to World War One. Under capitalism such crisis's and competition are inevitable and only by replacing the whole system can war be avoided. Whilst protest and dissent is needed we only have to remember the huge anti-war demonstrations of 2003 to see its limitations. Protest must be built on an understanding of the inevitable connections between war, imperialism and capitalism.
It is only by maintaining an internationalist perspective that rejects all forms of nationalism and imperialism that the ordinary people or working classes of Australia, China and the U.S. avoid an impending distaster. The working class do not share the same interests as the capitalist elites and we must reject their efforts to divide us from the workers of China and other countries. Only by building a global socialist movement that unites the working classes of the world can we avoid yet another descent into global barbarity and violence as witnessed during World War One and Two.