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Posts Tagged ‘AUKUS’

America is in danger of having more rivals than it can handle

Posted by M. C. on January 25, 2022

The Biden administration has neither the leadership, political will, nor gambit to do what Richard Nixon did 50 years ago with his historic visit to China to meet Chairman Mao and to make a move which would benefit US interests – and the world’s interests – in the long run. No, it is all seen through the dangerous prism of continued American dominance – bow down to us, or we will hurt you.

Tom Fowdy

Tom Fowdy

is a British writer and analyst of politics and international relations with a primary focus on East Asia.

As the Ukraine crisis rolls on, there is a growing fear among Western commentators and foreign policy elites that a “China-Russia” axis is consolidating, which will pose a gargantuan threat. With this thinking, many, especially on the right of US politics, have called for an effort to split Moscow from Beijing by courting Russia as an ally to tackle the threat of China. 

While that is not yet the position of the Biden administration, it is reflected in its foreign policy goals somewhat, in its wish for a “stable and predictable” relationship with Russia, while seeking to prioritize China. However, owing to the unresolved dilemma of further NATO expansion along Russia’s borders, and a repetition of the flawed Obama-era logic that Moscow should be spoken down to as opposed to being treated as an equal, things haven’t worked out as planned. Read more This devastated South Pacific nation sits on a geographical fault line, and a geopolitical one

US policy continues to be ultimately defined by a rigid absolutism which is destabilizing global security, in what one American academic characterizes as the “overstretched superpower,” asking, “Does America have more rivals than it can handle?”

Moscow has set out clearly its demands for an improvement in relations with the US, but irrespective of what foreign policy realists suggest, the neoconservative thinking dominant in Washington cannot feasibly conceive the prospect of any compromise with a country deemed adversarial – be it Russia, China, North Korea or Iran. 

American foreign policy strategy since 1991 has been fanatically obsessed with affirming its unilateral hegemony over the entire international system at all costs, irrespective of how realistic that is. This makes a balanced policy impossible. Now, Washington finally finds itself facing pushback on multiple fronts, from rivals who are much stronger than they were. This factor is the true driver of the burgeoning China-Russia strategic partnership, their growing closeness with Iran, and Pyongyang doubling down on its nuclear program. The Biden administration’s foreign policy may die on this hill of conflicting pressures.

The United States has been a major power for more than 100 years, and will continue to be one for the foreseeable future. Its domestic politics may be increasingly unstable and unpredictable, but the country is not on the verge of collapse. That isn’t the issue. 

The problem is that America has, for the past few decades, attuned itself to believe it must be the sole unipolar power in the world, and that its hegemony affirmed after the Cold War amounts to a form of destiny and fate. This has produced a foreign policy premised on extreme levels of aggression, zero-sum thinking, and a rendition that any competitors in any region of the globe must be subject to the full weight of military and economic containment. They cannot be dealt with pragmatically or creatively, or allowed to join a partnership with the US in what might be in the world’s best interests. Unless the world is permanently and irreversibly molded to America’s image, there never can be peace. Read more America builds military bases around the world. China builds economic ones

In some ways, this hegemonic thinking has corroded its domestic politics as much as it has its place in the world. Slogans such as “Make America Great Again!” and “America is back!” are affirmations of a sense of self-status which, in fear of losing dominance in the shifting geopolitical world, must be regained. This all-or-nothing approach to foreign policy has led to a new cold war with China, a growing conflict with Russia spurred by NATO expansionism, a series of proxy conflicts in the Middle East against Iran, and a nuclear North Korea which, despite facing maximum sanctions, continues to build its military capabilities. 

All of these foreign policy frontiers have very different contexts and historical backgrounds, but all are rooted in the doctrine that compromise with these countries on any level is unacceptable, short of their accepting American military and strategic supremacy over them. If they respond in kind to Washington’s belligerence towards them, they are then branded “aggressors.”

In the midst of all this, America’s relentless campaign against Beijing has only emboldened others to find the strategic space to push back even harder. The China-Russia strategic partnership, and their growing trilateral partnership with Iran, is not a plot for global hegemony or even an alliance in formal terms, but a coalescing set of shared interests against American attempts to impose military and strategic hegemony over each respective country’s peripheral regions.

As NATO has expanded eastwards, the US and its allies have also militarized China’s surroundings and announced destabilizing new arrangements such as AUKUS. The Sino-Russian partnership is not proactive in its goals, but reactive to the geopolitical environment the US has put in place against them. It is a sign that a multipolar international order is coming, but Washington is not accepting this reality, and is attempting to suppress it. This leads to a growing risk of conflict in multiple areas, and a new global arms race. Read more It’s time to prepare for the post-American age

But the main problem for the US is that it is in danger of overstretching itself. How can it attain supremacy on so many fronts? All while not being prepared to compromise or cede an inch? This is indicative of how US foreign policy is not so much strategic, but power-obsessed at its core. Washington talks of the “Indo-Pacific” as its priority, but has fingers in every single pie to the point that, even when it wants to downplay certain issues, such as North Korea or Iran, or Russia, it cannot. 

All because it is inconceivable that it makes any concessions to countries that challenge the US-dominated status quo. Russia must leave Ukraine alone, and accept NATO expansion. Iran should return to the deal the US abrogated, but give more concessions. North Korea must completely denuclearize and accept US military hegemony over it before it gets any sanctions relief. China must give the US the right to economically and militarily dominate it.

The Biden administration has neither the leadership, political will, nor gambit to do what Richard Nixon did 50 years ago with his historic visit to China to meet Chairman Mao and to make a move which would benefit US interests – and the world’s interests – in the long run. No, it is all seen through the dangerous prism of continued American dominance – bow down to us, or we will hurt you. 

This zero-sum and universalist rendering of US foreign policy means there are some hard lessons ahead, as well as more potential crises as Washington pursues its crusades on multiple fronts. An America in denial of its fading place in the world is the true danger to peace, and there’s little inclination Washington is about to have an epiphany about that, as it seeks to impose its policies on the Middle East, the Indo-Pacific, Eastern Europe and the Korean Peninsula.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

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Pentagon: U.S. military footprint staying right where it is – Responsible Statecraft

Posted by M. C. on December 1, 2021

Just before the Thanksgiving holiday, National Guard units from Virginia and Kentucky sent 1,000 troops to Africa for “Task Force Red Dragon.” As Page/Plant wrote, “everything that’s small has got to grow,” and this footprint isn’t going anywhere, at least not yet.

VA and KY Guard in Africa. How does that defend VA and KY?

Written by
Kelley Beaucar Vlahos

An unclassified summary of the Defense Department’s Global Posture review was released Monday and in the words of the indomitable Jimmy Page and Robert Plant, the song of American military primacy worldwide pretty much “remains the same.”

Of course the summary of the GPR, which has been long anticipated, doesn’t offer much detail, but the bottom line is this: China remains a key “pacing threat” and it will be met. There seems to be no plan, however, for reshuffling U.S. military forces from other theaters to grow the foot print in East Asia. Instead, Washington aims to build upon its strategic partnerships in the region. Where there is actual growth in the footprint, mentioned below, much of that had already been announced previously:

(The GPR) directs additional cooperation with allies and partners to advance initiatives that contribute to regional stability and deter potential Chinese military aggression and threats from North Korea.  These initiatives include seeking greater regional access for military partnership activities; enhancing infrastructure in Australia and the Pacific Islands; and planning rotational aircraft deployments in Australia, as announced in September.  The GPR also informed Secretary Austin’s approval of the permanent stationing of a previously-rotational attack helicopter squadron and artillery division headquarters in the Republic of Korea, announced earlier this year.

Most of the hullabaloo over the Australia-UK-U.S. (AUKUS) agreement in September had been over the transfer of nuclear submarine technology to Australia. But as David Vine pointed out in this RS article, AUKUS is also allowing the U.S. to station more assets and personnel Down Under, including, “combined logistics, sustainment, and capability for maintenance to support our enhanced activities, including…for our submarines and surface combatants” and “rotational deployments of all types of U.S. military aircraft to Australia.”

As the Wall Street Journal noted Monday in its summary of the summary, the Biden administration’s goal of meeting “China’s military buildup and more assertive use of power” doesn’t seem to be coming at the expense of U.S. force posture in other parts of the world. Those forces are largely staying put.

According to the DoD summary, in Europe, the GPR “strengthens the U.S. combat-credible deterrent against Russian aggression and enables NATO forces to operate more effectively.” This includes leaving the 25,000 troops President Trump wanted to take out of Germany right where they are in the region (which we already knew about). There is no further detail on how Washington plans to “strengthen the deterrent” against Russia, though we know there have been plenty of efforts on Capitol Hill to send more troops to Europe.

Those hoping to see the Biden administration begin to extricate from the Middle East won’t find much solace in this summary either. Without committing either way, the DoD says “the GPR assessed the department’s approach toward Iran and the evolving counterterrorism requirements following the end of DoD operations in Afghanistan. In Iraq and Syria, DoD posture will continue to support the Defeat-ISIS campaign and building the capacity of partner forces.  Looking ahead, the review directs DoD to conduct additional analysis on enduring posture requirements in the Middle East.”

The big news here is that Washington is not even considering leaving Iraq and Syria, which many smart analysts deem essential not only for American interests, but for the security of the region. On the greater question of whether there will be a major shift toward reducing the U.S.-led security obligations in the Middle East, the summary, at least, seems to punt. On Africa and the Americas, as indicated by the release yesterday, no discernible change in posture.

This shouldn’t come as any surprise, as the signs of status quo are all around us — just read the RS piece by Nick Turse on U.S. commando presence in Africa, and then in Europe. Just before the Thanksgiving holiday, National Guard units from Virginia and Kentucky sent 1,000 troops to Africa for “Task Force Red Dragon.” As Page/Plant wrote, “everything that’s small has got to grow,” and this footprint isn’t going anywhere, at least not yet.

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Réseau Voltaire-The AUKUS preparing a nuclear war to sustain Taiwan

Posted by M. C. on September 24, 2021

The official reactions to the announcement of the Australian-British-US pact (AUKUS) are only about the termination of the Australian-French arms contract. As terrible as this is for the shipyards, it is only a collateral consequence of a reversal of alliances aimed at preparing for a war against China.

by Thierry Meyssan

The announcement of the Australian-British-US (A-UK-US) pact [1] was like an earthquake in the Indo-Pacific region.

There is no doubt that Washington is preparing for a long-term military confrontation with China.

Until now, the Western deployment to contain China politically and militarily has involved the United States and the United Kingdom as well as France and Germany. Today, the Europeans are left out. And tomorrow the area will be controlled by the Quad+ (US and UK, plus Australia, India and Japan). Washington is preparing a war in one or two decades.

While France and Germany have not been consulted on this strategy, nor even warned of its public announcement (but other countries had been warned, such as Indonesia), the new device should be staged next week in Washington.

While it is logical that London and Washington should rely on Camberra rather than Paris, since Australia is a member of the “Five Eyes” with which France is just associated, the entry into the game of Japan and especially India puts an end to a long period of uncertainty. More troubling is the role assigned to Germany, which could join the “Five Eyes” [2], but not the Quad, i.e. spying on telecommunications, but not military action.

Admiral John Aquilino, commander of US forces in the Indo-Pacific.

Alliances shaken up

This new situation forces each alliance to reposition itself.

The A-NZ-US, which linked Australia, New Zealand and the United States, has not been in operation since 1985 and has been definitively buried. New Zealand had affirmed its policy of nuclear disarmament and consequently refused entry to its ports to nuclear-armed or nuclear-powered ships. Since the Pentagon refuses to reveal these “details”, no US warship has entered the country. Future Australian submarines will also be banned.

For the moment, the European Union has not reacted. Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, who was giving a state of the Union address [3] on the same day the AUKUS pact was announced, is paralyzed. She was talking about her new strategy in the Indo-Pacific area, while the Brexit Brits were pulling the rug out from under her. Not only is the European Union not a military power, but those of its members who are, will no longer have a say.

NATO is silent. It had ambitions to expand in the Indo-Pacific and understands that it will not be part of the game.

See the rest here

Thierry Meyssan

Roger Lagassé

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