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The US Imperium Garrisons Australia

On December 6, Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin hosted Australia’s Foreign Minister Penny Wong and Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Defence Richard Marles. It was the 32nd occasion the countries had met in this setting.

The Australia-US Ministerial Consultations (AUSMIN) is really a chat fest held between Australian Ministers for Defence and Foreign Affairs along with the US Secretaries of State and Defense, accompanied by officials of touted seniority. Advertised as an occasion for the states “to discuss and share perspectives and approaches on major global and regional political issues, and to deepen bilateral foreign security and defence cooperation,” it is more accurately an occasion for Washington to keep an eye on its satellite.

The occasion would have been a disappointment for sceptics of the US-Australian alliance, one that has seen Australians join, with somnambulistic facility, failed distant, needless wars. Even with a change of government in Canberra, it is clear that the US security lobby remains ascendant, tranquilising Australian politicians with the virtues of the alliance.

The joint statement from Blinken, Austin, Wong and Marles was filled with the gruel of banality: rules-based order, as they understood it; the importance of the relationship to “regional peace and prosperity,” despite signs it is becoming increasingly dangerous to that cause; and utterances about human rights and fundamental freedoms.

For keen watchers of encroaching militarism, the following would have stood out: “The principals also decided to evolve their defense and security cooperation to ensure they are equipped to deter aggression, counter coercion, and make space for sovereign decision making.”

This could hardly be a reference to Australian sovereignty, given its whittling down over the years to the decisions of an increasingly more engaged US in the Indo-Pacific region. While Canberra decries any moves by Pacific Island neighbours to exercise their own rights of sovereignty to seal security arrangements with Beijing, it ignores its own subordinate, increasingly garrisoned role in the US imperium.

China comes in for a predictable mauling, given its actions in the South China Sea and the making of “excessive maritime claims that are inconsistent with international law.” Wishing to enrage the Yellow Devil further, the parties also reiterate “Taiwan’s role as a leading democracy in the Indo-Pacific region, an important regional economy, and a key contributor to critical supply chains.”

Strategic competition, as a concept, was fine in principle, but to be pursued “responsibly,” a word that has little meaning in the thuggery of international politics. The parties also agreed to “work together to ensure competition does not escalate into conflict” and looked to the PRC “to do the same and to engage Beijing on risk reduction and transparency measures.” More could be done on the issue of transparency and China’s nuclear arsenal, for instance.

The statement then goes on to raise the importance of cooperation with Beijing in some areas of mutual concern followed by a sharp backhanded serve. Cooperation with China on “issues of shared interest, including climate change, pandemic threats, non-proliferation, countering illicit and illegal narcotics, the global food crisis, and macroeconomic issues” was important, but so was “enhancing deterrence and resilience through coordinated efforts to offer Indo-Pacific nations support to resist subversion and coercion of any kind.”

There is also more poking with the expression of “serious concerns about severe human rights violations in Xinjiang, the human rights situation in Tibet, and the systematic erosion of Hong Kong’s autonomy, democratic institutions, and processes undermining commitments made by the PRC before the handover.”

Australia’s promised submarines under the AUKUS security pact, almost as credible as the Loch Ness monster, receives an airing. Giving nothing away, the statement “commended the significant progress AUKUS partners have made on developing the optimal pathway for Australia to acquire a conventionally armed, nuclear-powered submarine capability at the earliest possible date.” No date is provided, but a year on when that optimal pathway will be miraculously revealed is 2023. Best not wait up.

The joint statement does little to dissuade the idea that Australia is moving, inexorably, towards a satellite, garrison state to be disposed of and used by the US imperium. Under the “Forced Posture Initiatives” – the wording is telling – the US will further integrate Australia into its military operations via Enhanced Land Cooperation, Enhanced Maritime Cooperation, and the Combined, Logistics, Sustainment, and Maintenance Enterprise.

The US armed forces would continue its “rotational presence” in Australia across air, land and sea including “US Bomber Task Force rotations, fighters, and future rotations of US Navy and US Army capabilities.” The emphasis, in other words, is entirely US-centric, with Australia’s posture being rather supine, even as it aids “US force posture with associated infrastructure, including runway improvements, parking aprons, fuel infrastructure, explosive storage infrastructure, and facilities to support the workforce.”

What a wonderful list of targets for any future foe, and bound to become even juicier with Austin’s promise to “find ways to further integrate our defense industrial bases in the years ahead.”

While they do not tend to make regular appearances on uncritical mainstream news outlets, Australian civil society members have been alarmed by such moves. The 280 submissions to the Independent and Peaceful Australian Network (IPAN) addressing the high cost of Australia’s relationship with the United States attest to a very different narrative.

IPAN’s report drawn from its People’s Inquiry into “Exploring the Case for an Independent and Peaceful Australia,” informed by those submissions and released last month, should be mandatory reading for Canberra’s insular policy hacks. In his contribution to the report covering the defence and military aspects of the alliance, Vince Scappatura took note of the most pressing concern among the submissions: “that the alliance makes Australia an unnecessary target of America’s foes.”

The alliance has also seen Australia committed to “several needless and costly wars and is likely to do so again in the future, with especially grave consequences in the context of the great power rivalry between the US and China.” Unfortunately for the industrious Scappatura and those honourable souls determined to force a revision of the relationship, the sleepwalkers are in charge. And when that happens, wars are rarely far away.

 

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68 comments

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  1. New England Cocky

    With the USA (United States of Apartheid) as an ally why does any country need any other enemies?

  2. ajogrady

    The problem is the direction National Security and Defense has gone.
    If the basis of democracy is balance and equality then surely if democratic countries have a defence budget then there must be a peace budget. Who remembers when Labor parliamentarians were vocal advocates in the Australian Peace Movement? If so, you are probably part of the Whitlam /Hawke / Keating generation when there were lively foreign policy debates within the parliament, the ALP and trade unions. We questioned the American alliance because many of us had watched the consequences of the Vietnam War. We were influenced by “People for Nuclear Disarmament”, because our generation understood the horrors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki when the first nuclear bombs devastated the people of Japan.
    Now Labor stands for war and does not question America. Albanese needs to reconnect with what made Labor a principled and dynamic political party it once was.
    Australian politicians and MSM have a lot in common with boiling frogs.Albanese and Marles have proven to be total US lapdogs who have, like Morrison and Dutton, sold out Australia’s sovereignty to the US. When will Australian politicians and Australian media act in Australia’s best interests and not those of a failed empire coloniser, Britain, and as the 51st state of a failing empire, USA?
    Despite the best endeavours of Foreign Minister, Penny Wong, to put the relationship with China on a more even keel, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, seems determined to destabilise it.
    Who is in Albanese’s and Marlese’s ear? It would seem many of the people Morrison employed, such as Shearer of ONI, ASPI, so beloved of Marles, and Kennedy, Sinodinos, and a raft of faceless people representing the US Industrial/Military complex.
    Why hasn’t Albanese looked to a new advisers? Why run with Morrison’s discredited team? Why hasn’t Albanese pushed back against this right-wing pressure? After all he is ostensibly a member of the Labor left. He is aware of the Vietnam narrative, a narrative that is being replayed with his consent. Did his left-wing
    ideals die when he went to ground over East Timor at the time of the Beazley/Brereton dust up? The audacity and arrogance of the US is mind blowing. And Albanese has shown he is not the man to take this on. Once again, we are being or rather have been sucked into an American war. This time of likely horrendous outcomes. It will be Australia that pays the price. America will slink away whilst we will be hostage to war reparations and possible occupation.
    Australia’s neighbourhood is Asia and this is the Asian century that China will dominate. Australia’s Asian neighbours do not have the same illogical and short sighted view of China as Australia’s politicians and Australia’s media do. Australia’s Asian neighbours see opportunity and prosperity. Instead of politicians and media advocating for peace with China, they both push that war with China is inevitable and a foregone conclusion..
    Fair and open trade with China is Australia’s best weapon to protect Australia.
    The US hasn’t changed and neither have we. Australia is sycophantic even when jilted by the US. Australia is a vassal state which neither China nor the US respects.

    Defence Strategic Review – Read all about it

    https://thenewdaily.com.au/news/politics/australian-politics/2022/10/15/australian-sovereignty-its-gone/?utm_source=Adestra&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Saturday%20News%20-%2020221015

    https://johnmenadue.com/category/white-mans-media/

    https://www.democracynow.org/2022/7/12/consortium_news_says_it_faces_censorship?utm_source=substack&utm_medium=email

    God save Australia because America will not

    https://johnmenadue.com/with-us-democracy-und er-threat-from-within-aukus-puts-australia-in-danger/

  3. Michael

    A right-on summary of the situation. Make Australia a sitting duck, like when the U.S. wanted to plant nuclear BOMARC missiles in Canada in the 1960’s to make sure Canada took the casualties first instead of the U.S. in the event of a nuclear war. And the Pentagon money machine will be greasing the skids to the right folks shoving money up their bums.

    We’re a helluva lot closer to nuclear war now than in 1962.

  4. Michael Taylor

    ajogrady,

    Our apologies that your comment was caught for moderation. This can happen when a comment has many links. The system thinks it’s spam (which your comment clearly wasn’t).

  5. Phil Pryor

    Disgraceful stuff for anyone with independence of pride. Being a bumboy distorts perspective and focus. Australia, where it is on any map, is a happy neutral place, with potential for friends and partners of all types anywhere and everywhere. Why not? Tojo no longer threatens and Adolf and Josef have long gone, Oafs and anuses abound in politics, so, to be trussed up with a Trump, Boris Bonkfist or a Morrison type is too bestial, ignorant, suicidal, misguided and utterly STUPID in a philosophical way. We are a trading nation, with a need for friends, peaceful movement of shipping, security of everyday living, There are NO natural threats, merely contrived ones where the USA wants a skirmishing outpost to sacrifice and expend ruthlessly.

  6. margcal

    ajogrady

    “America will slink away….”

    AS IT ALWAYS DOES.

  7. Roswell

    It seems to be the day for it …

    margcal, your comment was caught for moderation because of a typo in your name, thus the system didn’t recognise you.

    I fixed the typo and cleared the comment.

  8. Claudio Pompili

    Hear hear Kampmark and especially ajogrady.

    Good cop, bad cop. Wong has been in the upper house since forever and is Leader of the House for Labor. Wong, always the lawyer and opportunist, has more often than not sided with the LNP while Albo and Marles believe that they are clever with realpolitik. Wong curries favour with the Pacific/SE Asian states and, to some degree, even China, although most of the latter are honied words as opposed to action. Albo and Marles meanwhile are hyper-busy taking advice from Morrison’s defence/security apparaticks and acting to ‘the rule-based order’ aka all the way with the USA. Wong is left on the mantlepiece looking somewhat lost.

    Our politicians have hitched our wagon and is the spear-point of the US Imperium. Nothing short of a mass uprising will suffice at this stage. It won’t happen.

    Australia is the low-hanging fruit and the lacky country.

  9. Jack sprat

    “America does not have permanent friends or enemies it just has interests” Henry Kissenger

  10. Fred

    Dr Kampmark: Back to the usual sensationalisation is it? To characterise Australia’s entry to recent wars with “somnambulistic facility” is incorrect. From conscription reintroduced for Vietnam in 1964 under Menzies through Howard taking us into Afghanistan post “911” (2001), to Howard again in 2003, with enthusiastic involvement in the “coalition of the willing” are actions not associated with sleep walking.

    What’s with “gruel of banality: rules-based order”? What are you proposing as an alternative to “rules-based order” – a no order free for all?

    So, apart from distancing ourselves from the US, given the top 10 military spenders are: 1 United States, 2 China, 3 India, 4 United Kingdom, 5 Russia, 6 France, 7 Germany, 8 Japan, 9 Saudi Arabia, 10 South Korea and we are ranked 11, who else should we align ourselves with as a friend to help us if needed?

  11. Steve Davis

    Not only does the US refuse to participate in the International Criminal Court, but the “Hague Invasion Act” (so-called) is a United States federal law which aims “to protect United States military personnel and other elected and appointed officials of the United States government against criminal prosecution by an international criminal court to which the United States is not party.” The text of the Act has been codified as subchapter II of chapter 81 of title 22, United States Code.

    We should have no alliances with nations that have no respect for the law.

    When the law was enacted in 2002 it caused a strong reaction from U.S. allies around the world, particularly in the Netherlands. Yet today the Netherlands is another US puppy, as is Australia.

  12. Clakka

    Indeed ajogardy, and yes, Jack Sprat; “Interests”

    Since the last (not so) great world wars, our putative partners, Britain and USA have taken to blinking and looking askance at the rest of the world for opportunities to institute a means to obtain growth through military machinery, and a way to convince the folk to empty their pockets into it.

    It took no time at all for their political corsairs to stickybeak their way into every territorial rebalancing or political surge anywhere across the globe. With the folk of greater Europe, North Africa and the Near East busy burying their dead, regrowing their agriculture and rebuilding their towns and cities, few would give a thought to the irrelevancies of the Far East.

    Perfect – the Far East. After having previously partaken of the luxuries, beguiled and thieved, then obliterated and subsumed, the corsairs were well versed. A prime opportunity to manufacture a revised story to leverage the pockets of the ever unfortunate, busied and fearful folk at home. Expansionist Japan brought to heel, time to turn the folk’s minds to the global risks those ‘other yellow and red devils’ posed, so just in case….

    Obliterate North Korea, wipe out Vietnam, and ring-fence at close quarters the inscrutable and dangerous China.

    And so it goes, the ‘rules based order’. Vestment by the exclusive cartel in industrialised murder and militarism, homespun propagation of paranoia and the inevitable enervation of the civil economy to the point of collapse.

    So much for the grand scheme of the corsairs. Their immutable raison d’être – never achieved anything for anyone but the aggrandisement of their mindless cartel. Yet, bloated and ill, cowed by reality and lack of imagination, they keep peddling. Meanwhile the clever and inscrutable Far East, fully aware, sets its own course.

    Yet being in, and increasingly dependent on the Far East and its opportunities, as they look on, we defiantly remain toadies to the colonising corsairs from the other side of the world, their self-inflicted desperation, and the guile of their ‘rules-based order’. It beggars belief that without them wising-up, we think we can save them from themselves.

  13. Steve Davis

    Fred said “who else should we align ourselves with as a friend to help us if needed?”

    Good golly Fred, have you no imagination?

    Did you not read Jack sprat’s comment above?

    Why would we want an alliance with an ally that always stirs up trouble in someone else’s backyard? Sooner or later that will be our backyard.

    My personal view (on a subject I have not studied closely) is that the nature of weaponry has changed so significantly that we need no military alliances at all.

    Missile technology is now so advanced that naval power is all but obsolete. With air power not far behind.

    Instead of becoming involved in foreign military adventures that always have the potential to end up as war crimes if not crimes from the start, we could build a high-tech missile defence industry and tell the war-mongers to go elsewhere. We have the means to do so.

  14. Douglas Pritchard

    This idea that “the yellow hordes will be coming over the horizon” is yesterdays thinking. But to those easily influenced by American inspired propaganda it works. Americans are niave enough to buy this line, but they also spend a lot of time in prayer. We are smarter than that? The big worry is that its simply traditional to go to Satan and buy all their stuff that blows things up, and generally causes a lot of premature deaths, and forgo better education, medical services, and some provision to counter climate change for taxpayers here. Wars will only happen if someone with clout is making a buck. Meanwhile cyber warfare in the the go for today, so I am more concerned that my pension, and bank a/c could just disappear one day and death by starvation will follow soon after. I`m sure Taiwan can get by without us.
    PS. I quite like Steve Davis approach. Ukraine was poorly prepared for warfare with big guns, so they have built an affective PR machine around their president, and that seems to work. They just keep shouting “Help”.

  15. paul walter

    So.

    Some folk have finally woke up to the controlly long term nature of this. Yes, We are garrisonned and our politicians and media are “Vichy”.

  16. A Commentator

    In my opinion, there are 3 significant issues that future generations will condemn our generation for.
    Each issue requires an activist government, certainly not a neutral stance.
    1# Political failure and public neglect regarding the dispossession of indigenous people.
    2# Being laggards and failures in addressing climate change and environmental degradation
    3# Failing and equivicating about opposition to autocratic regimes. Future generations won’t thank us if we opt out of acting with other western democracies to oppose (or balance) the expanding influence and ambitions of autocratic regimes.

  17. Steve Davis

    Is AC reduced to presenting motherhood statements in order to attract no criticism?

    No. 1 and 2, laudable though they are, are not relevant to the topic.

    And No.3 tries to be linked to the topic but is so lacking in detail as to be irrelevant also.

    AC claims to oppose a “neutral stance” as a response to the three issues.

    In regard to the autocratic regimes that seem to be the focus of his attention in No.3, military self-sufficiency based on protection rather than aggression would not be a neutral stance, quite the contrary. The development of a military self-sufficiency industry would not be a neutral stance. Making the products of a military self-sufficiency industry available to other sane, peace loving nations would not be a neutral stance, and would be something future generations would thank us for.

  18. Henry Rodrigues

    The only requirement for citizens of any self respecting nation, wherever or whoever they are, whatever ideology they follow or subscribe to, is to respect the most fundamental and basic of rights of human beings, and these are, freedom of thought, freedom of speech and freedom of ideas. Any country which employs their military machine and propaganda capabilities and their ‘security’ apparatus to subjugate, dominate or destroy any other country or their own dissenting citizens, because of a perceived threat or fear of disorder, needs to be called out. There are heroes and villains in every country, now and in the past. No one nation can claim vindication or justification. What is happening now in Ukraine is the the crime of the century.

    No amount of theories or excuses can be be employed to legitimize brutality, barbarism or just plain bastardry. And those who tend to ignore it, are being deliberately disingenuous.

  19. A Commentator

    Yes, ambitious/expansionist autocratic regimes are the risk.
    1#. No NATO country has territorial claims on Russia. On the other hand, the Putin regime has territorial claims.
    2#. No western democracy is advocating any position beyond maintenance of the status quo regarding Taiwan
    So there’s scarcely any logic in a suggestion that alliances of western democracies aren’t protective.
    Similarly, defence self sufficiency (or going it alone) is just code for leave it to another generation to worry about.
    Which countries are migrating to that policy?

  20. Douglas Pritchard

    Henry R. While I would not try and justify the crime of the century, dont you think it was a preventable situation.
    On day one of Putin invading i have heard of it being described as “the greatest failure in US foreign policy for a long time”.
    I saw no attempt to negotiate even though the demands were clear enough, and when you look at what had been going on, certainly since 2014, there was a very real danger of what happened next.
    Standing up to a bully is one thing, but the president was elected on a platform saying he would bring peace.
    Outlawing everything Russian was not going to be universally accepted, and its not going so well for civilian life there right now.

  21. Michael Taylor

    AC, I read the room a bit differently.

    From what I’ve observed on this site for ten years nobody has a major issue with America being (perhaps) our closest ally, but rather, that American military bases in our country increases the likelihood of those locations being a target for enemy states.

    Some see the need for those bases. Some don’t.

  22. Steve Davis

    Henry said “Any country which employs their military machine and propaganda capabilities and their ‘security’ apparatus to subjugate, dominate or destroy any other country or their own dissenting citizens, because of a perceived threat or fear of disorder, needs to be called out.”

    Which is exactly what Russia did when Ukraine began shelling their own citizens in the Donbass. The Minsk Accords were the outcome, those accords being used by Ukraine to gain time to prepare for a full assault. This is admitted by Ukraine.

    The Russian intervention was carried out under the Responsibility to Protect, covered by international law.

  23. Michael Taylor

    Steve, can you produce evidence for these claims?

  24. A Commentator

    MT, most of those I have an exchange with don’t support any alliance with the US.
    And clearly I’m of the view that we are at a critical time in international relations.
    Putin was emboldened by-
    ° the weak response to the invasion and annexation of Crimea
    ° the debacle of Afghanistan
    ° a new, inexperienced president in Ukraine
    ° Trump’s ageist campaign against Biden
    Putin showed poor judgement in believing all the factors favoured him.
    ++++++
    And the (nebulous) Minsk Agreements were broken by the Putin regime. They supplied weapons to the separatists in breach of the agreement

  25. The AIM Network

    Without Google ads, this site won’t survive. This from Google:

    “Due to the war in Ukraine, we will pause monetization of content that exploits, dismisses, or condones the war.”

    We take that warning very seriously. As such, we will remove any comment that fits that description.

    You might want your right to free speech, and we respect that right. We ask that you respect our right to try and keep this website alive.

  26. Steve Davis

    AC said “No country has territorial claims on Russia.”

    That is not correct. Repeating misinformation does not make it true. The US plan to break up Russia into smaller states is a territorial claim. This was pointed out to AC in October, but I suppose it was worth one more try.

    AC then said “No western democracy is advocating any position beyond maintenance of the status quo regarding Taiwan.” A pointless point. The status quo is the “One China policy” which is China’s position also. From the BBC; “What is the ‘One China’ policy? It is the diplomatic acknowledgement of China’s position that there is only one Chinese government.”

    AC then said “So there’s scarcely any logic in a suggestion that alliances of western democracies aren’t protective.” The alliances of western democracies can and should be protective, but are they? We turned Iraq and Libya, for all their faults, from stable prosperous states into hell holes, so who or what were we protecting? Not our interests. Not the interests of Iraqis and Libyans. So whose?

    Then this; “..defence self sufficiency (or going it alone) is just code for leave it to another generation to worry about.” What a distortion of my argument that is. I did not imply “going it alone” at all, quite the opposite, and in no way did I imply putting off implementation.

  27. Michael Taylor

    AC, if it’s any comfort, I don’t share their views.

  28. Michael Taylor

    But don’t let that lull you into thinking that I always agree with you. 😁

  29. Steve Davis

    Michael, just a few days ago Angela Merkel admitted in an interview for Zeit magazine that the Minsk accords were signed to “give Ukraine time” to strengthen itself. Very little coverage in the western press, of course.

  30. Michael Taylor

    I have a ton of respect for that lady.

  31. A Commentator

    1#. There is no US policy advocating the break up of Russia. In the past, you’ve posted links to some non government organisation
    2#. I presume you opposed Iraq and Libya military actions, but you use those military interventions to excuse Putin’s?
    3#. The status quo re Taiwan is that it is autonomous, and chooses it’s government.
    4#. If I have misinterpreted your “self sufficiency” in defence, it’s because of your obtuse expression

  32. Steve Davis

    Michael, I should have also included this from the UN “…the primary responsibility for the protection of its people rests first and foremost with the State itself. However, a ‘residual responsibility’ also lies with the broader community of states, which is ‘activated when a particular state is clearly either unwilling or unable to fulfil its responsibility to protect or is itself the actual perpetrator of crimes or atrocities.”

    Also, we know from the Kosovo Advisory Opinion of the ICJ that a unilateral declaration of independence does not violate international law. Accordingly, neither Lugans’k Oblast nor Donetsk Oblast violated international law when they seceded from Ukraine and declared independence.

    I hope I have not caused you any problems.

  33. Ankisip

    Getting back to the U S Garrison.
    Why would we buy submarines by the yard, when we’re metric??

    Someone send ADF a tape measure….

  34. Steve Davis

    AC said “1#. There is no US policy advocating the break up of Russia. In the past, you’ve posted links to some non government organisation.”

    Except that the organisation you refer to, the US_Helsinki Commission says on its website “ U. S. Helsinki Commission Mission We are a US government commission…”

    Then “2#. I presume you opposed Iraq and Libya military actions, but you use those military interventions to excuse Putin’s?”

    Yes I did oppose those actions, because unlike Russia’s there was no responsibility to protect.

    Then “3#. The status quo re Taiwan is that is is autonomous, and chooses it’s government.”

    And the Chinese hope that one day they will choose China. You are tilting at windmills.

    Then “4#. If I have misinterpreted your “self sufficiency” in defence, it’s because of your obtuse expression.” I hate to be pedantic, you know that’s not my style, but an expression cannot be obtuse. The person reading an expression on the other hand, can certainly be.

  35. A Commentator

    1#. I’ll note that as agreement. As a minor publicly funded agency does not establish government policy. Because if you advocated that it does establish policy, you would then agree that the Russian agencies and political allies of Putin that advocate the use nuclear weapons, are establishing Putin’s policies.
    2#. Responsibility to protect was also the propaganda narrative Hitler used to invade Poland. Putin uses the excuse for his domestic political reasons. Putin domestic politics doesn’t represent reality.
    But let’s not ignore the fact that the civil war continued because the Putin regime supplied weapons to the separatists in breach of the Minsk Agreement
    3#. In Taiwan the pro unification movement is a minority. Retention of the status quo is the majority, but that’s a matter for Taiwan.
    4#. If I have misrepresented you, that because your expression lacked clarity

  36. Steve Davis

    AC said “I’ll note that as agreement.”

    Then he notes incorrectly.

    Then “…a minor publicly funded agency does not establish government policy.”

    That’s the same argument he used in regard to the Rand Corporation back in October, but as we saw with Rand, policy advice became government action and many thousands of Ukrainians and Russians are dead as a result.

    AC said “Responsibility to protect was also the propaganda narrative Hitler used to invade Poland.” Dear me, he’s scraping the bottom of the barrel now. Comparing a UN legal provision to Nazi propaganda. Whatever will he come up with next?

  37. A Commentator

    °The Rand corporation was the other non government organisation you raised months ago.
    Can you simply advise of the policy of the US government that advocates dismantling of Russia.
    It’s no use pointing to agencies that don’t provide government policy
    •Yes, fascist regimes routinely use a warped interpretation of law for their political purposes. So do their apologists

  38. Steve Davis

    I asked in regard to AC “Whatever will he come up with next?”

    This was it, “Can you simply advise of the policy of the US government that advocates dismantling of Russia.”

    I’m trying to think of a suitable word to describe that demand. “Naive” does not quite cover it. “Ignorant” gives it an element of innocence that is certainly lacking.

    Let’s cut to the chase. AC wants readers to accept the crazy notion that a country with plans to destroy another country would broadcast that intention for all the world to see. So logically, if that intention has not been broadcast, then it does not exist. Wow.

    There’s another problem with AC’s position – one of consequences. If the US was to make such an intention known, it would possibly prompt a pre-emptive action by Russia. Not a wise move in the nuclear age.

    Then to compound the silliness he said “Yes, fascist regimes routinely use a warped interpretation of law for their political purposes. ” Indeed they do. But I just had a flashback of Colin Powell delivering a presentation to the UN about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction to convince the UN of the legal basis for intervention. Surely AC is not suggesting that the US is a fascist regime?

  39. Fred

    SD: You mockingly say “Let’s cut to the chase. AC wants readers to accept the crazy notion that a country with plans to destroy another country would broadcast that intention for all the world to see. So logically, if that intention has not been broadcast, then it does not exist. Wow.” then taking your logic further you are implying those countries that have not broadcast their intentions secretly do have existing plans to destroy another country.

    What utter nonsense, as is “a pre-emptive action by Russia”, which would only end in mutual destruction.

    The logic is as bad the Bushism of “If you are not with me then you are against me”. Despite your denigration of “Naive” and “Ignorant” you have not provided real evidence of “the policy of the US government that advocates dismantling of Russia”.

    You have been down this rabbit hole before – time to put up or shut up.

  40. A Commentator

    The amount of evidence of a US government policy of dismantling Russia you have provided-
    ZERO, null, none, nil, zilch, naught, nothing.
    Yet in some sort of contorted way you claim that the lack of evidence, is the proof you claim
    Are you aware that there is a difference between speculation and evidence?

  41. Steve Davis

    AC persists in his demand that I produce documentary evidence of US plans to dismantle Russia, even though five seconds reflection tells us that such a document would not be open to the public, as I explained previously in order to ease the comprehension process.

    Yes, AC insists that I produce a State Dept. Document that reads “The United States will dismantle Russia into regions small enough to allow US exploitation of Russia resources and will consign Vladimir Putin to a prison camp in Siberia.”

    But jokes aside, let’s assume that a statement of intent does exist.

    If the US was to actually have such a plan it would have to be expressed in nebulous diplomatic language to avoid global condemnation. Would something like this do the trick?
    “The U.S. goal of preventing the emergence of regional hegemons in Eurasia, though long-standing, is not written in stone — it is a policy choice reflecting two judgments: (1) that given the amount of people, resources, and economic activity in Eurasia, a regional hegemon in Eurasia would represent a concentration of power large enough to be able to threaten vital U.S. interests; and (2) that Eurasia is not dependably self-regulating in terms of preventing the emergence of regional hegemons, meaning that the countries of Eurasia cannot be counted on to be able to prevent, though their own actions, the emergence of regional hegemons, and may need assistance from one or more countries outside Eurasia to be able to do this dependably.” (“Renewed Great Power Competition: Implications for Defense — Issues for Congress”, US Congress)”

    The wish to dismantle Russia is not merely a recent flash in the pan. It has been a pet program of such influential figures as Dick Cheney and Zbigniew Brzezinski. The fact that a US government Commission has now actually proposed such an action has of course prompted alarm in Russia.

    And for those who believe the US – Helsinki Commission is a toothless think tank, as AC does, consider that the Commission is made up of nine members from the US House of Representatives, nine members from the United States Senate, and one member each from the Departments of State, Defense, and Commerce.

    Manifest Destiny. Ya gotta luv it!

  42. wam

    We, are lucky to share the $2b cost of the septics in Australia who, if we were attacked, would consider, whether it is in their interests to come to our aid.
    Japan and Germany are paying a squillion or so since the war?
    The septic armed service economy could collapse, if their bases were closed and 180000 personnel returned?
    I would reject paying the septics and send them home. I expect we will have to pay for their travel?
    ps
    I have been on several war ships, from *US, Taiwan and Thailand over the years my darling was in politics.
    As she was official and I the spouse, I hung around the bar and food table, talking to the servers, many of whom spoke english.
    A couple of times I took golfers for a game. The Thai officers came and paid for the day.
    The young septics were almost all petty crims offered the navy instead of gaol.

  43. Henry Rodrigues

    Douglas Pritchard….. Wanting peace when the other guy, only and ever, wants war, conquest, and utter domination of their weaker neighbours is not a great start to a constructive of cooperation. This red eyed, messianic jingoistic vision that the little Putin has of the world is not going to convince anyone that appeasement will work. It never has and never will. If the other guy brings a gun to the fight, is it not craven stupidity to take a knife to the fight ?
    So when did Georgia or Moldova or Romania or Ukraine or Lithuania or Estonia or Latvia, ever threaten Russia ? Does anyone consider these countries to be suicidal or foolhardy or just oblivious to the massive nuclear arsenal and vast natural resources that Russia possesses ? Putin and his cronies and sycophants and his undemocratic mob of representatives in the so-called Duma, do not believe in peaceful co-existence. They delight in the destruction and slaughter of civilians and boast about the utter devastation they have wrought on the women and children and old people of Ukraine. Are these criminals worth defending because they meet some people’s idealistic view of ideological politics ?

  44. A Commentator

    SD said – “The US plan to break up Russia into smaller states is a territorial claim”
    You didn’t preface your comment with something like- “I believe that…” or ” a prominent US think tank proposes …” or “Some observers have postulated…”
    You simply use your speculation in place of evidence.
    Then you apply some lame ridicule.
    Neither tactic is effective.

  45. Steve Davis

    AC is critical of my comment that “The US plan to break up Russia into smaller states is a territorial claim.” And so it is. I continue to say that, as any clear thinking person would.

    But the situation is actually worse than that. Breaking up Russia could be achieved (in some fevered imagination) by way of colour revolutions – it does not necessarily require armed intervention.
    And a serious threat of this nature does not have to be a strictly territorial claim.

    As I explained to AC back in October (yes, I know, this is getting tiresome) the 2019 RAND Report which was implemented as US policy in Ukraine, stated in part “Reposturing bombers within easy striking range of key Russian strategic targets has a high likelihood of success…” to which I commented “A threat to bomb Russian targets is a threat to Russia’s territorial integrity. It matters not at all if the threat is only a ploy, a tactic. A threat is a threat. A territorial claim is not necessary.”

    So all these threats to global security, whether real, or tactical, or merely preliminary, put us all in danger and have already been fatal for many, yet the only concern for AC is that I do not preface my comments to his liking. As I’ve noted before, AC always manages to give us an uninspiring insight as to his thinking process.

  46. A Commentator

    There is no “plan”, there is some wishful thinking by a couple of think tanks. There are think tanks that will have a published paper on every possible perspective.
    They don’t form government policy.
    Keep digging yourself into that hole by trying to defend your speculation as a fact.

  47. Steve Davis

    “They don’t form government policy.”
    And yet, we see with the Rand Corporation that they do.

    It’s been pointed out to AC that threats have consequences, and that applies to perceived threats also. But he continues to argue trivialities while people die.

    As I said, “AC always manages to give us an uninspiring insight as to his thinking process.”

  48. Canguro

    All of the above comments nowithstanding, and noting the usual positions of commentators reflecting their views on the US Imperium and its garrisoning of this country, it could also be noted that the arrogance of the governing class in that country along with their weddedness and allegiance to the corporate oligarchy that is the real power behind the throne, both phenomena underpinning the sorry state of affairs which any sensitive observer can hardly fail to notice, has lead inevitably to the type of hubris that ignores real time challenges such as the accelerating state of decline of the global ecosystems; a wilful ignorance that places the pursuit of profit and amassing of greenbacks above all else.

    Well, when the kaka hits the overhead spinning blades, it’ll be interesting to see how greenbacks can be used to nourish instead of naturally sourced food products, which one expects will become increasing difficult to maintain and supply as environmental conditions worsen.

    The imperium, blinded by arrogance, hubris, mistrust, jealousy, malice and its misguided sense of being the ruler of the universe, naturally won’t collapse without fighting til the bitter end, but such is the fate of all empires.

    George Monbiot’s essay in today’s Guardian nails it, again.

    The US is a rogue state leading the world towards ecological collapse.

  49. A Commentator

    “…argue trivialities while people die.”
    I’m not the one trying to pass off speculation as fact
    Meanwhile people die because Putin targets civilians and civilian infrastructure.

  50. Douglas Pritchard

    Henry R. I am listening to an echo of a general ill feeling toward Putin.
    He is simply looking after the Russian interests, as Biden does for USA. It involves energy and military hardware trading and its complex.
    The USA has something like 800 bases around the world to get the message across, and the majority of these are grouped geographically to intimidate its competitor.
    In 2014 the USA took Ukraine to one side and said “Hey little buddy, we can help you”. This is actually the same situation we find ourselves in right now.
    Merkel cautioned against arming a fairly corrupt nation where you cant be entirely confident of who might be using them. The left hand side of Ukraine has a very different set of alliagences to the right who were let down by events after 2014. We have been doing Russian history in depth here…its worth digging deeper.
    Who needed this proxy war most is debateable but the outcome for us all is that we suffer.
    My worry is that when USA says it wants tio help its little buddy, what follows is disastrous.
    Foreign bases now are destined to be beefed up here and our children will not thank us for letting this happen.

  51. Steve Davis

    “Meanwhile people die because Putin targets civilians and civilian infrastructure.”

    Which quietly pushes into the background the 14,000 or more killed in the Donbass after 2014, where the Ukraine govt shelled their own citizens as even the US media concedes. Shelled them for exercising their right under international law to declare independence.

    I’ll keep repeating it until it sinks in – AC always manages to give us an uninspiring insight as to his thinking process.

  52. Steve Davis

    Canguro,

    Thanks for that link.

  53. A Commentator

    Let’s recap 2014 in Ukraine.
    1#. The Ukraine legislature voted 328 to ZERO to oust former president Viktor Yanukovych. That is Yanukovych couldn’t get a single vote in support.
    2#. The significant reason for the disaffection was that the parliament had established a process to seek membership of the EU. Yanukovych had previously committed to this. He broke his commitment and sought membership of the Russian trade zone.
    Yanukovych tried to suppress the protests through violence, but failed.
    3#. In the aftermath, Russia invaded and occupied Crimea, with little response from the west.
    4#. Putin supplied weapons to the separatists in breach of the Minsk Agreement.
    5#. The separatists shot down a civilian aircraft

  54. Roswell

    The US plan to break up Russia into smaller states is a territorial claim.

    Congratulations on gaining access to Putin’s top-secret propaganda files.

  55. Steve Davis

    AC, in your recap you somehow forgot the 14,000 killed by the Ukraine govt. Shelled for eight years.

    I’ll keep repeating it until it sinks in – AC always manages to give us an uninspiring insight as to his thinking process.

  56. Steve Davis

    “Congratulations on gaining access to Putin’s top-secret propaganda files.”

    Blimey – my cover is blown !

    )

  57. Roswell

    AC, in your recap you somehow forgot the 14,000 killed by the Ukraine govt. Shelled for eight years.

    I’ll keep repeating it until it sinks in – AC always manages to give us an uninspiring insight as to his thinking process.

    Yesterday you had a go at AC for introducing material not relevant to the article. Yet here you publicly announced that you’re going to keep doing what you accuse others of.

    If you persist with that, as a moderator I will close off comments to this article, or preferably, put your comments into moderation.

  58. Clakka

    Godheads, demigods, divine interlocutors, emperors, autocrats, dictators, premiers and leaders of the ‘free world’, and the ‘ists’ and ‘isms’ assigned to them all have things in common. They see an opportunity then wheedle away, trumping up the ancient or recent history of the people they espouse to represent, then to meet their own ends, implant ideologies, ambitions and rights ad hoc, whilst concurrently devising opponents as a raft of enemies (you’re either with me or against me).

    At what point, and by whose measure do they shift from demagogue to despot? Once the nodding people attain a critical mass?

    Whether to be elected, implanted or just floating to the top, they and the assembled craven sycophants set about drafting and promulgating ideologies of convenience. So often based upon policies of conquest and expansion despite any cost to others. By any means, the world is their oyster, cheers all round.

    If the madding crowd ever started thinking, it could stop, get on with proceedings, as it found a ‘rules-based order’ and can abdicate all responsibilities to the grand scheme of things. Until ultimately it peers out from the wreckage wrought by hubris and linguistic jiggery-pokery, and the ad hoc manoeuvres of either conquest and expansion or idleness.

    Looking globally over its shoulder it might observe the cycle repeating since the year dot. It may even add up the score (by any measure of convenience), and seek to balance the books by assigning blame, decrying cultural divergence, or even acknowledging missteps, and going for it all over again.

    But where are we going and what do we aim at? Paradise, utopia, the land of absolutes and no further potential? Perhaps along the weirding way the recalling of pains is served not to fuel explanation or aspiration to an end, but as chatter on the path to Nod.

    What else to expect from the eggs in the great egging on?

  59. Roswell

    Brilliantly said, Clakka. Much food for thought there.

  60. GL

    Steve,

    Without some sort of evidence to back up what you have been all you have been doing is spouting unsupported opinions. Put up or shut up.

  61. A Commentator

    I don’t wish to continue any disruptive exchanges, but the claims of 14,000 deaths should not be left unchallenged…
    The figure of 14,000 casualties, is often quoted by pro-Russian types.
    It comes from a UN estimate of between 14,200 and 14,400 victims during the civil war.
    The victims were not civilian separatists killed by the Ukrainian military.
    10,900 victims were soldiers – 4,400 were Ukrainian military and 6,500 were pro-Russian military.
    Civilian victims were between 3,400 and 3,500 and many of this number died in the parts of Luhansk and Donetsk that remained under Ukrainian control during attacks by separatists.
    Also included in this figure are the 298 civilians on flight MH17, found to have been shot down by the Russian backed separatists.

  62. Douglas Pritchard

    AC. A “civil war” prompted by their president deciding it was a good idea to extinguish Russian, in all forms, from the eastern provinces who had a culture originating from Russia, and were being neglected to the “new” regime.
    So there was a history behind Putins special military excursion?

  63. A Commentator

    By definition, civil wars always have 2 intractable perspectives, but they don’t provide a reason for a powerful neighbour to invade
    My comment was simply to debunk the misrepresentation of-
    1#.14,000 civilian deaths due to the Ukrainian military
    2#. Which is the basis of the “responsibility to protect” pro Putin propaganda

  64. Michael Taylor

    Douglas, do you think that Australia should have invaded New Guinea when they wanted independence from us?

    Or that perhaps Great Britain should have invaded Hong Kong rather than hand the island back to the Chinese?

  65. Douglas Pritchard

    Michael, I could not possibly justify what happened, but it is taking place in a part of the world which has both a brutal past and a brutal climate.
    Their priorities, and values are entirely divorced from the way we approach things. Are we always right, and they are always wrong?
    We did well to stay out of NG conflict, and after the Falklands the UK got wise too.
    There has been a lot of gun boat diplomacy in western history!
    Ukraine, (and some surrounding countries) have a complex history, and following the break up of the Soviet Union not everyone was happy with the outcome. Certainly many living in the Donbas etc etc resented the way things were turning out after 2014.
    And they did something about fixing it….the way they understand.
    So, there was civil war, and unrest, so that its not too much of a stretch of the imagination to see Putin intervene.
    Its not nice, but thank goodness I dont live there because yet again its the “poor bloody infantry” that comes off second best when they are caught up in a proxy war between 2 nuclear powered nations
    And back to the main theme, I believe that USA only avoids civil war by sprinkling its “forces” over 800 bases on this globe rather than housing them on American soil when they will want to play soldiers.

  66. B Sullivan

    AC: “5#. The separatists shot down a civilian aircraft”

    Prior to that incident the separatists had captured and were occupying two major airports in the Eastern Provinces that the Ukrainians then attempted to recapture by landing civilian aircraft carrying armed assault troops. (This may come as news to you. I only heard about it recently, just before the US (who else?) sabotaged the Nord Stream Gas pipeline – which you also may not know about because the Australian media has shown no interest in contemplating the implications of that particular incident and have kept very, very quiet about it indeed). Two civilian jets containing Ukrainian armed forces had already been shot down by the separatists before the Malaysian airliner ill-advisedly flew into the war zone. Ill-advisedly? Were they advised of the danger at all?

    If people like Tony Abbott and Julie Bishop knew that at the time, they didn’t make much of an effort to inform the Australian public nor even the bereaved relatives. Instead, they chose to make a lot of political mileage out of demonising Putin by holding him personally responsible.

  67. Henry Rodrigues

    B.Sullivan,

    Who or what should be held responsible for the utter destruction of the Ukrainian landscape, the utilities, the slaughter of civilians, I repeat, civilians not regular soldiers or volunteers, but women, new born babies septuagenarian pensioners, disabled people, subsisting on a few bottles of water huddled up in basements lit by candles.

    By your accounting, certainly not Putin and his so called professional army of ‘patriotic’ but militarily incompetent murderers.

    Thanks for enlightening us.

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