November 18, 2011 · 2 Comments
By Michael McGehee:
The imperial “paper of record” strikes again.
In yesterday’s New York Times (NYT) article by Jackie Calmes, “Eyeing China, U.S. Expands Military Ties to Australia,” we learn how “President Obama and Prime Minister Julia Gillard of Australia announced plans on Wednesday for the first sustained American military presence in Australia, a relatively small deployment that is still a major symbol of American intentions to use regional alliances to counterbalance a rising China.”
President Obama told a news conference that “I am making it clear that the United States is stepping up its commitment to the entire Asia-Pacific region,” in order “to maintain the security architecture in the region.” Obama made it “clear” that “we are here to stay.”
One might inquire on what is it exactly about “rising China” that is being “counterbalanced” with an increased American military presence in the Pacific. No worries, we are told that “the arrangement with Australia will put an American footprint closer to the southern reaches of the South China Sea. The sea, a major commercial route — including for American exports — has been roiled by China’s aggressive claims of control.” Of course, no examples provided. It is clear however, that the U.S. is not putting a military presence in the region to be an impartial or fair mediator, but to protect its own interests, and that of its allies who are competing against China for ownership of resource-rich islands (including oil). Nor is the Times proving to be an impartial or fair source of information.
Whatever one thinks about the competing claims it’s pure hypocrisy for the U.S. and its media parrots to accuse China of “aggressive claims of control” of the “South China Sea,” especially when considering that the nearly two-hundred year old Monroe Doctrine is still in effect. It has barely been five years since USA Today reported that the “U.S. will train Latin American militaries” because of “Concern about leftist victories in Latin America has prompted President Bush to quietly grant a waiver that allows the United States to resume training militaries from 11 Latin American and Caribbean countries.” The waiver was necessary because of a “military training ban” that former President Bush signed in 2002 and that ”was originally designed to pressure countries into exempting U.S. soldiers from war crimes trials.” Perhaps the “leftist victories in Latin America,” and refusal to accept the U.S.’s demand for immunity are in response to the decades of genocidal policies in Latin America, where the U.S. backed brutal military dictatorships and their death squads that destroyed the place. But now, USA Today tells us, “China stepped into the gap,” and so the U.S. must forget its demand for immunity and return because, as U.S. Southern Command spokesman Jose Ruiz said, China “has approached every country in our area of responsibility.”
While the U.S. finds it objectionable that China lays claim to the South China Sea, there is no question that the Western hemisphere is “our area of responsibility.”
Back to the recent New York Times article. True, “For China, the week’s developments could suggest both an economic and military encirclement,” but President Obama will not back down. “The notion that we fear China is mistaken,” the president said.
This follows an article last month by the Times where U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta was in Italy and assuring allies that while
We’re concerned about China . . . The most important thing we can do is to project our force into the Pacific — to have our carriers there, to have our fleet there, to be able to make very clear to China that we are going to protect international rights to be able to move across the oceans freely.
—the latter comment being an imperial euphemism for unfettered access to the resources of other countries. While protesters at various Occupy events are seeing their ”rights” violated (with the aid of President Obama) because U.S. mayors, like New York City’s Mayor Bloomberg, see them as secondary to imaginary “health and safety” concerns, it is the imperial rights—the so-called “international rights”—that that the U.S. is “protecting” via an expanded military presence in the Pacific.
An honest observer might entertain the notion of what the U.S. would do if China carried out similar actions with similar rhetoric. What if the U.S. were involved with territorial disputes with a neighboring country (who also happened to be a Chinese ally) and China responded by increasing its military presence and saying, “The notion that we fear America is mistaken”? So long as it is “us,” and not “them,” don’t look to the dishonest New York Times to have the journalistic integrity necessary to speak out against the imperial hubris of Uncle Sam.