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An article in the Wall Street Journal last Sunday revealed that the Pentagon has devised a range of “military options” to intervene against China in territorial disputes in theSouth and East China Seas. The options, described as “muscular” and“provocative,” include “increasing surveillance operations near China,”deploying nuclear-capable B-2 and B-52 bomber aircraft, and sending an aircraftcarrier into the Taiwan Strait in response to any Chinese “provocation.”|
The article waspublished amid President Obama’s four-country tour of Asia, during which hepledged to support Japan in any war with China, signed an agreement to give USforces far greater access to bases in the Philippines, and strengthenedmilitary integration with South Korea. The tour was aimed at assuring US alliesthat Washington remains committed to its “pivot to Asia”—the militaryencirclement of, and preparations for war against, China.
In the Philippines,Obama declared that “our goal is not to counter China.” His administration,however, has encouraged Japan and the Philippines to aggressively pursue theirterritorial claims against China.
Last November, Washington denounced Beijing’sdeclaration of an air defence identification zone covering the Senkaku/Diaoyuislands, which are claimed by China and Japan, then flew B-52 bombersunannounced into the zone.
Plans for war againstChina are far advanced. The Pentagon’s strategy, known as AirSea Battle,envisages a massive assault on China’s military infrastructure, using missiles,warplanes and warships, which could easily escalate into a nuclear war. The USand Japan are preparing for this eventuality by building anti-ballistic missilesystems, using the supposed “threat” of North Korea as a pretext. The plansalso include a naval blockade of Chinese shipping through South East Asia.
An article on Mondayin the Financial Times (FT) entitled “US spreads military presence in Asia”provided further details of the US military build-up against China in Asia.After citing the new US-Philippine basing agreement signed on the same day, itpointed out that Pentagon officials have raised “the prospect of some sort oftemporary presence in other countries such as Vietnam, Indonesia and Malaysia.”
The FT also notedrefurbishing World War II airstrips on Pacific Islands such as Tinian andSaipan in preparation for a war with China. Chillingly, the article began bynoting that Tinian was the airstrip from which the Enola Gay took off to dropan atomic bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima in 1945, and by implication,could be used in a nuclear war with China.
The W all S treet Journal (WSJ) reported that the Pentagon’s latest “action plan” is intended toaddress “concerns” held by Washington’s “closest allies in Asia” over the Obamaadministration’s willingness to confront Beijing. The newspaper said theseallies “have told American counterparts” that the response to Russia’s“aggression” in Crimea “is seen as a possible litmus test of what Washingtonwill do if China attempted a similar power grab.” It also noted that “concernswere raised” by South Korean officials last September after Obama’s last-minutedecision to call off plans to bomb Syria—partly to avoid a potential militaryconfrontation with Russia.
In reality, it is USimperialism that has grabbed power in Ukraine, and recklessly ratcheted uptensions with Russia by directing a fascist-led putsch to topple thepro-Russian government of Victor Yanukovich. Washington is providing militaryequipment and financial support to its new puppet regime in Kiev, which ismobilising the army and fascist Right Sector militia to crack down on anti-regimeprotesters in Russian-speaking southeastern Ukraine.
Washington’s ongoinginterventions in Ukraine and Syria, and the military build-up in theAsia-Pacific, are all parts of the over-arching strategy of the US ruling eliteto counter its economic decline by securing domination over the entire Eurasianland mass.
The WSJ, paraphrasingUS officials, wrote that “Asian allies who want to know how Washington wouldrespond to future acts of Chinese aggression... [should look at] Pentagon movesto reassure Eastern European allies and Baltic states since the US is bound bytreaty agreements to help defend them.” The US has utilised the crisis it hasunleashed in Ukraine to deploy troops to Poland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania,while sending warships to the Black Sea—actions that risk provoking a war withRussia.
The article notesthat under the Pentagon’s new protocols, “any new moves ... by China to assertits claims unilaterally would be met by an American military challenge intendedto get Beijing to back down.” It states that “provocative” actions “can betaken without risking a shooting war, officials say, citing intelligence thatsuggests there are divisions within the Chinese military establishment abouthow to respond.”
In other words, theUS would deliberately provoke and threaten the Chinese regime with a militaryassault, gambling that Beijing will “back down” and accede to US demands.
While the Wall StreetJournal ludicrously pretends that the Pentagon’s military strategy is “designedto avoid war, not push the US into war,” reckless actions such as deployingaircraft carriers to the sensitive Taiwan Strait would have extremelyunpredictable consequences.
In 1996, PresidentBill Clinton’s administration sent two aircraft carriers to the Strait during atense confrontation between China and Taiwan. Since then, China’s military hasdeveloped long range “anti-access/area denial” (A2/AD) missile systems,specifically to deter naval vessels from the Strait and elsewhere off China’scoast in the event of a conflict. Last year, Beijing responded to Taiwanesemilitary exercises on the Penghu Islands by stationing hundreds of thousands oftroops along the Strait, as well as hundreds of warplanes and 1,000 tacticalballistic missiles.
The WSJ itself notedthat Chinese leaders told a visiting American delegation in February “that theydidn’t take US warnings seriously.” A “former administration official” who tookpart in the delegation told the paper: “Unfortunately, I don’t think they’reconvinced by our muscularity... If we think we’re ready to pull the trigger butthey don’t think that we’re ready to pull the trigger, that’s when bad thingshappen.”
These commentsunderscore the immense danger of war that is being driven by Washington’smilitary build-up and its willingness to “pull the trigger” against China orRussia.