17 August 2016

China, the US, UNCLOS and Australia

The UN Conference on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) represents a classic case of US manipulation and hypocrisy. Washington helped to craft the treaty and has utilised it as a standard by which to judge and even coerce other nations.

But the United States itself refuses to be party to it. The US instead plays by a different set of rules and extends its boundary waters far beyond the claims of any other nation.

The United States cannot bring charges against China because it is not a member of the conference. And yet the US has encouraged the Philippines to pursue the case and Manila was recently rewarded with American diplomatic and financial support.

The 'Pivot to Asia' is in part a diplomatic agenda that seeks to manipulate other East Asian nations into a militaristic stance vis-à-vis China. The South China Sea disputes have been generated by the US in order to provoke and ultimately contain China. Beijing has responded by moving to secure their interests in the region and is ultimately playing right into US hands.

Western Media has successfully spun the story into a tale of Beijing's aggression. To question US domination is to be an aggressor. Under the pretense of stopping a 'bully' the US bullies and intimidates nations and regions and when they protest, the US feigns benign innocence and cries aggression.

It is absurd to suggest Beijing wants to suppress trade in the region as this very trade is the lifeblood of their economy. Would the US want to stop oil tankers leaving the Middle East? It is Washington not Beijing that is pushing for war. Many strategic thinkers in Washington believe this conflict is inevitable and believe it must be pursued now as opposed to later. If China is allowed to strengthen over the next couple of decades the US hand could be considerably weakened... though this thinking seems to ignore the growing trouble and tensions within China itself.

Sadly, such calculus often becomes self-fulfilling and we are reminded of the events of the first phase of the Cold War (1947-62), a fifteen year collision course that was hardly necessary and brought the world to the brink of catastrophe.

The Philippines v. China is a US backed project and now gives the United States diplomatic cover for what can only be described as its militarism. Based on the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) ruling, the US can now browbeat nations like Australia and all but force them to support US strategy.  Biden's recent Australian tour was not just about opening a cancer centre or 'assuring' Canberra of US intentions. The newly elected Turnbull was less than enthusiastic regarding US policy just a couple of years ago. Viewed as 'soft' on China, He didn't want the US alliance to destroy Australia's China-dependent economy.

Biden's statement was basically "I find your lack of faith disturbing," and was all the more alarming when one considers US involvement in and manipulation of Australian politics. His remarks about the relationship being baptised in blood also carried an ominous tone.

While the mainstream media spun the story and made it sound like it was a weakened and unstable US pledging support, those in the Australian Establishment would have heard a different message. You will 'bet on' the US, and your relationship with China is secondary. I would argue you have to read between the lines and take in the entirety of the context of Biden's visit, Turnbull's new administration and US plans for Australia and the region. What seems a benign and encouraging speech is actually full of hubris and danger.

In the meantime the US is utilising every tool in order to marshal a policy devoted to US hegemony in East Asia. This includes military, diplomatic and trade alliances and the US will use everything from NGO's to international bodies in order to effect this policy.

Australia, like it or not will remain a key base in the Anglo-American alliance and a participant in US Imperialism.

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