The military tensions provoked since the Chinese government declared an Air Defence Identification Zone (ADIZ) in the East China Sea sharply pose the dangers of war produced by the US Obama administration’s pivot to Asia.
US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel warned China that the US would support Japan in any war over the disputed Senkaku/Diaoyu islands, which were included in the zone. The US and Japanese air forces are repeatedly flying unannounced into the ADIZ, in reckless challenges to Beijing’s enforcement of the zone. The Abbott government in Australia declared its full support for the US and Japan, making clear it was also prepared to go to war.
The US pivot is a strategy of encircling China and undermining its regional influence, amid the greatest economic breakdown since the 1930s Great Depression, and the historic decline in the global position of American imperialism. It centrally involves preparations for military conflict. Numerous documents from government and private think tanks have spelt out in detail how US, Australian and other allied military forces would blockade China’s access to key Asian sea lanes and launch devastating air and missile attacks on Chinese military and government installations.
At last month’s Australia-US ministerial talks, the Abbott government expanded the former Labor government’s unconditional support to the US war preparations. As well as the spy bases at Pine Gap and North West Cape, and the US marine base established in Darwin in 2012, northern and western Australia will host ever greater numbers of American aircraft and warships and two “space security” facilities. The Australian military is being integrated at every level into the US Pacific-based forces.
The build-up toward war is taking place behind a shroud of secrecy and behind the backs of the Australian working class. It is accompanied by mounting police-state operations and attacks on democratic rights. American whistleblower Edward Snowden’s leaks have exposed the extent of Australian involvement in the vast US-led spy network that is operating around the world, including against Australian citizens.
Calls by media editorials for ABC personnel to be prosecuted for publishing Snowden’s revelations demonstrate a determination to intimidate and silence any opposition to the actions of the Australian state apparatus. The condemnations of the ABC have been followed this week by secret police raids on the lawyer and whistleblower involved in exposing the fact that Australian intelligence agents broke into the East Timorese government and prime ministerial offices in Dili and planted listening devices. There is no line that the ruling elite and the political establishment will not cross as it embroils the Australian population in its militarist agenda.
At the very centre of the 2013 election campaign conducted by the Socialist Equality Party was the necessity for the working class in Australia, across Asia, in the US and internationally to build a unified anti-war movement, based on a socialist perspective that aims to end the cause of the war—the failed capitalist system. The developments in the East China Sea underscore the urgency of taking forward and developing that struggle.
We urge WSWS readers, SEP supporters and all those concerned about the dangers of war to attend our public meetings.
Wednesday, December 18, 7 p.m.
Redfern Town Hall
73 Pitt Street, Redfern
Thursday, December 19, 7 p.m.
Arts House, Meat Market
5 Blackwood St, North Melbourne
Tickets: $3 or $2 concession