09-03-2016 – It’s a scenario that would have seemed unimaginable even six months ago – a new war in the Pacific. Yet this is precisely what working people across the world stare in the face. The US Empire, smarting from its defeat at the hands of the Russians in Syria, have yet again ramped up its hostile provocations against the People’s Republic of China, with Canberra obediently falling in behind. It follows on from Resolution 2270 passed by the United Nations Security Council, imposing the harshest possible sanctions on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), for the “crime” of preparing for its own self defence in response to unending hostility from the US government. This year’s “military exercises” – in reality live practice for an invasion – on the doorstep of the DPRK will be the largest ever, involving troops from the US, South Korea, Japan, Australia, New Zealand and others. The slightest error in these war games could trigger a global war – a war in which working people will be the ones who suffer first, and the worst.
It’s the supreme irony – China and the DPRK are almost universally referred to in the West as tyrannical communist dictatorships in which basic democracy is absent. At the same time, Washington and Canberra are preparing for major military operations against both China and the DPRK – without seeking, let alone gaining, any semblance of public support for war. We must ask, where exactly is the dictatorship? Working people here and internationally generally harbour a passionate hatred for war, which is one reason why the respective Western ruling classes do not even present the question for discussion, let alone debate. To be sure, many unsuspecting people will be drawn in by the corporate media’s compliance, and presentation of the question as if there is no other option. But it is essential for workers and all those opposed to war to speak out and protest loudly, not only for elementary justice, but to prevent a catastrophic war from engulfing the globe.
Barely a month passes without yet another open US provocation against China from either their military or those of toady allies in the South China Sea. Part of the US “pivot to Asia”, the goading of Taiwan, the Philippines and Malaysia to pursue spurious claims to reefs and islands they previously had little interest in, is part of the US strategy to build a new “coalition of the willing” against Red China. Like the disaster of Iraq which the previous “coalition of the willing” carried out, the ultimate agenda is no less than war. Unfortunately, the leaders of socialist Vietnam have prostrated themselves to the US against China, an act of disloyalty. Canberra has added fuel to the tinder-box by flying its own “freedom of navigation” operations through the disputed areas.
The arch-reactionary US/Australia alliance has used so-called “freedom of navigation” operations on and off for decades, stretching back to the Vietnam War. One can imagine what the reaction from Western powers would be if China or Russia simply claimed “freedom of navigation” and flew fighter bombers up and down the east and west coasts of the US and Australian mainlands !! Bear in mind, the US has once again signalled that its advanced long-range B1 bombers may well be stationed in northern Australia. Given the release of the Australian government’s Defence White Paper, which contains $195 billion worth of military spending in preparation for war, China has every right to believe that it will be targeted sooner rather than later.
Working people might ask, why would Washington and Canberra want war with China, when there is so much trade at stake? Indeed, China’s powerhouse socialist economy is a major reason why Australia has not sunk into a recession anywhere near as deep as Spain or Greece. There are some indications that the Australian ruling class is to some extent divided in going all the way to war with the US. However, all of the parties of the capitalist class currently represented in what passes for the federal parliament, are in lockstep with Washington, from the Liberals to the ALP to the Greens and Nationals. It seems suicidal, but not from the pathological rulers of the US Empire, who are driven to a state of frenzy by China’s inexorable rise. Make no mistake, China’s rise is due to its predominantly collectivised i.e. state owned, and planned economy. However much “capitalism” appears on the surface in the People’s Republic, its real drivers are its gigantic state owned enterprises, precious gains of the 1949 socialist revolution. The US, in contrast, is in a state of deep recession, with its workers paying a heavy price through unemployment, poverty and crumbling infrastructure.
The US knows that the longer it allows China to rise unimpeded, it will soon overtake the US as the number one world power. US rulers cannot allow any challenge to its bloodthirsty rule of the planet, and certainly not from an arch enemy socialist state. The US of course is not militarily strong enough to invade and overthrow 1.3 billion people, but that does not for a moment slow their other plans to undermine or break up Red China. One is the funding of numerous “labour rights” and “human rights” NGOs in China, another is the backing of anti-socialist religious and national groups within China, from Tibet to Xinjiang to Hong Kong. Another major plan is the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) – a massive free trade deal with 12 Pacific Rim countries specifically excluding China. The TPP is quite literally the economic arm of the “pivot to Asia” – the plan for the US to station 60% of it’s external forces in the Pacific by 2020. Needless to say, the “pivot to Asia” is a euphemism for war.
No less a preparation for war is the annual US-led “military exercises”, carried out on the doorstep of the DPRK. This years “Key Resolve/Foal Eagle” operation will be the largest ever, containing some 300 000 troops – an amount close to the number which invaded Iraq in 2003. As usual Australian troops will be participating, but for the first time New Zealand troops will also take part. These war games are quite literally a rehearsal for an invasion of the DPRK – a socialist state which has defied the US war machine for 60 years. As in the original Korean War, the US and their imperialist allies aim to overthrow not only the DPRK, but also set the stage for the undermining and/or break up of China itself. China’s leadership is well aware of this, despite its treacherous vote in favour sanctions on the DPRK in the United Nations.
Working people have no interest in a war with China or the DPRK. In however a distorted form, the conflict between Washington and Canberra on the one hand, and Beijing and Pyongyang on the other hand, is a battle between capitalism and socialism. If war does break out, working people need to refuse to participate in such a war, up to and including the point of taking concerted industrial action, regardless of whether conservative Union officials back us. Ultimately, such a struggle can only be successful as a struggle for the victory of socialism. Capitalism needs war to survive, but working people do not need capitalism.
NO TO WAR WITH CHINA! LIFT THE SANCTIONS ON THE DPRK!
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