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US military expansion tramples on Australian sovereignty

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by Bill F.

The US military ‘pivot’ into the East Asia-Pacific region threatens to drag Australia into a devastating imperialist war with China. It is driven by monopoly capitalism’s insatiable need for natural resources, new markets, cheap labour, and areas of new investments for capital.

There are already more than 320,000 US military stationed in the region, with bases in Japan, South Korea, Australia, Guam, New Zealand, and Thailand and access to military facilities in the Philippines, Indonesia and Singapore.

The two main parliamentary parties enthusiastically welcomed the rotational stationing of 2,500 US marines in Darwin.  However, no one is under the illusion that this will be all.  The decades’ long mass struggle by the Japanese people to rid Okinawa of US troops and bases is forcing the US to relocate to a more stable country. Guam, a significant US outpost, has no more room to expand and is also subject to local opposition.  It is likely Australia’s compliant governments will hand over even more of the country to the US military in the future.

There are more than 20 highly secretive, so-called joint military and intelligence bases and facilities in Australia, in reality under the US command.  Some of these, like Pine Gap near Alice Springs and North West Cape, are used exclusively by the US. There are plans to turn the Cocos Islands into a launching pad for US drones.

Australia’s military and intelligence facilities have now been officially opened to US war ships, nuclear powered submarines, the US air force, intelligence gathering and spying on other countries and people.  The upgrading of existing Australian military facilities with high tech military equipment, the establishment and maintenance of new bases and hosting US marines will all be paid for by the Australian people through our taxes.

The objective is to deepen the integration and interoperability between US, Australia and Japan’s military forces and foreign policies, with the US in command. This is behind moves by the Australian government to award a lucrative contract to the Japanese to build Australia’s next submarine fleet.

The people’s movement for peace with justice, against foreign military bases and the threat of imperialist war is growing in many countries.  From Jeju Islands in South Korea, the Philippines, Japan, Guam and New Zealand right through to Australia, broad opposition to the US war plans is spreading.

In Australia, the Independent and Peaceful Australia Network (IPAN) has joined with others to hold rallies, public meetings and forums to demand the ending of the so-called US Alliance and the removal of US forces from our country.

These demands were echoed by former Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser and many academics and historians who could see the great risk to Australia by slavishly endorsing the US war plans.

The working class gains nothing from war, only death and misery. From the great struggles against conscription in the 1914 World War 1, through the waterside workers refusal in 1939 to load pig iron destined to Japan for its war preparations, to the Vietnam war in the 1960s and 1970s, and refusing to transport and load uranium on ships, workers and unions have always been in the front lines struggling for a just and peaceful world.


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