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India needs course correction on Myanmar

By M. K. BHADRAKUMAR | Indian Punchline | February 7, 2021

The Modi government made a strident call on February 1 that the “rule of law and the democratic process must be upheld” in Myanmar. The statement, following a prodding from Washington, was unabashedly intrusive, and, ironically, completely overlooking that human rights, rule of law, democratic pluralism, etc. are universal values that India also can (and should) be held accountable for. Lapping up the neocon prescriptions from Washington may not serve India’s interests, in general, and they are very specific to Myanmar. 

The government failed to fathom the US’ motivations in riding the high horse of democracy so soon after the Capitol Riots in Washington, DC. Human rights issues come handy for Washington to rally allies at a juncture when its leadership of the transatlantic alliance is in drift and major European powers do not see eye to eye with its global strategies on Russia and China and mock at its nostalgia-laden slogan that “America is back.” 

Alas, the government failed to consult the ASEAN despite Delhi’s refrain that it attributes “centrality” to that grouping.

The ASEAN Chair’s statement of Feb, 1 recalled the “purposes and the principles enshrined in the ASEAN Charter” which include respecting the principles of sovereignty, equality, territorial integrity, non-interference, consensus and unity in diversity.” 

The ASEAN Chair’s statement of Feb, 1 recalled the “purposes and the principles enshrined in the ASEAN Charter.” Simply put, India chose to bandwagon with the US, Japan and Australia while the ASEAN and China took a differentiated stance. Geopolitics crept in. But the US has since realised the folly and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan scrambled to contact the ASEAN ambassadors in Washington. 

How come Delhi goofed up? Primarily, it is due to a flawed understanding of the Myanmar situation. The Indian analysts increasingly view world developments through their China prism and began fancying that with the massive victory of Aung San Suu Kyi in the November election provided an opportunity for India to “gear up to implement a major strategy with Myanmar under its ‘Neighbourhood First’ policy… to bring Myanmar under the Indo-Pacific construct” so as to align that country “more with ‘like-minded’ countries… to stand firm against China… to make Myanmar a part of the Indo-Pacific policy… (and) steer Myanmar away from the Chinese grip.”  

Such views betray a zero sum mindset borne out of blind Sinophobia. Whereas, the ground realities are much more complex. The point is, Beijing brilliantly succeeded over the years in building a close relationship of mutual trust and mutual respect with Suu Kyi, parallel to the nurture of links between the Chinese Communist Party and her party National League for Democracy. 

Unlike the western narrative of Aung Suu Kyi as Myanmar’s democracy icon, Beijing regarded her as a pragmatic politician who never uttered remarks to the detriment of China-Myanmar ties, was manifestly eager to maintain good relations and consistently adopted a soft stance on the South China Sea issue. 

Beijing was greatly impressed that although Suu Kyi wanted Western support, she was adamant about national sovereignty. Arguably, it was in sync with what China would like its neighbours to practice. Chinese President Xi Jinping received Suu Kyi seven times since 2015.

State Counselor Wang Yi visited Myanmar recently on Jan. 12, met Suu Kyi and expressed strong support for her government and conveyed a strong commitment that China wants to work with her during the second term. And they agreed to push ahead with Belt and Road projects and lock in a five-year pact on trade and economic cooperation. Clearly, the prospect for the China-Myanmar Economic Corridor under Belt and Road Initiative has become uncertain now, as compared to a month ago. 

In fact, the Chinese media reports already sound a word of caution that “Chinese companies operating in Myanmar need to watch out for contractual and default risks amid the current political upheaval… Government default is a major risk, especially for major and strategic projects in sectors including transportation and energy… But Chinese companies can seek international arbitration if they face illegal confiscation of their property.”

It is no secret that the Myanmar army marks a certain distance from China. Suffice to say, Myanmar developments present an extraordinary case study where Beijing silently feels distressed over the sudden eclipse of western style democracy in a neighbouring country. (See the Reuters analysis Myanmar coup does China more harm than good.)

Surely, the coup creates political baggage for China insofar as it cannot (and will not) take a position against the military, but also comes under compulsion to cover or provide protection for the military internationally. On the whole, this situation poses a major political and diplomatic liability for Beijing and cannot bring good news. Therefore, China prioritises that the concerned parties to solve their differences mutually, according to the constitution and within the legal framework, while maintaining peace and stability. Chinese expert opinion is that Suu Kyi’s political career is in jeopardy. 

Of course, Suu Kyi made some serious errors, too. She heavily depended on people loyal to her personally, without bothering about their competence or integrity. It not only spawned corruption but also led to government failure to deliver, especially in job creation. Her leadership style was often dictatorial. She resorted to draconian laws to muzzle or jail critics. (See the Singapore-based Channel News Asia video titled Aung San Suu Kyi: A Fading Legacy dated October 22, 2020 on the eve of the November elections.)

Suu Kyi had no control over some major sectors of the national economy through two entities, Myanmar Economic Holdings Limited and Myanmar Economic Corporation as well as a network of domestic private business enterprises, known as “crony companies,” which generate revenue for the military and strengthen its autonomy.

Suu Kyi’s biggest mistake was in believing that she could, through her brand of nationalism, dismiss accusations of genocide directed against the Rohingya. In the process, Suu Kyi lost western support. From that point, she has been on borrowed time and the military barely hid its distaste for Suu Kyi.

To be sure, the military anticipated the impact and the reaction from the international community and took into consideration the Biden administration’s preoccupations with domestic issues. Myanmar doesn’t even figure in the top 10 priorities of Biden’s foreign policy. But the US Congress is not going to tolerate a coup in Myanmar and will mount pressure on the Biden administration to punish the military by imposing sanctions, cutting aid or targeting the generals and their companies.

However, a reversal of the military takeover is not to be expected and the probability is that Washington may lose whatever little leverage it would have had in Naypyidaw. Washington is mulling over policy options

But there may be a Plan B. Indeed, the former US Ambassador to the United Nations Bill Richardson, who is no stranger to Myanmar, voiced the opinion last week that the time has come for the West to look beyond Suu Kyi for new faces among the opposition. One way is to mould a leadership that will be friendly to the US. There are signs that the western agencies are inciting the youth in Myanmar to stage protests, as had happened in Hong Kong and Thailand. The military has clamped down on Facebook and internet. Shades of colour revolution? 

This is where Russia’s role merits attention. The struggle for influence in Myanmar has a geopolitical dimension, for obvious reasons. Since 2015, following the signing of a military cooperation agreement, Russian presence has increased, and, importantly, it coincides with the lengthening shadows of Russian presence in the Indian Ocean. 

Russia has emerged as a major military partner for Myanmar. Russia operates a servicing centre in Myanmar. The Russian Deputy Defense Minister Alexander Fomin told the media last month that Myanmar plays “a key role in maintaining peace and security in the region.” 

It is entirely conceivable that Russia, which has great expertise in countering colour revolutions, shares intelligence with the Myanmar military. Over six hundred military officers from Myanmar are studying in the Russian military academies presently. Myanmar’s military chief Min Aung Hlaing visited Russia six times in the recent years, more than to any other country. 

During the visit of Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu to Naypyidaw last month, the Russian media quoted Gen. Hlaing as saying, “Just like a loyal friend, Russia has always supported Myanmar in difficult moments, especially in the last four years.” An agreement was signed for supply of a batch of Russian missile and artillery air defense systems Pantsir-S1. 

Tass reported that the “command of Myanmar’s armed forces has shown interest in other advanced weapon systems of Russian manufacture.” Shoigu has reportedly expressed interest to establish visits of Russian warships to Myanmar’s ports. 

All things taken into consideration, we may expect China and Russia to provide a firewall for Myanmar to ward off western penetration, as is happening in Central Asia. (The UN Security Council statement avoids any reference to the military or a coup as such in Myanmar and lays emphasis on national reconciliation, with pointed reference to Suu Kyi’s release.) Russia shares China’s perception of Quad as a destabilising factor in regional security. 

Clearly, India needs to keep the “big picture” in view. It will not be to India’s advantage to create misperceptions that it is bandwagoning with some neocon Anglo-American project for regime change in Myanmar. In regard of Myanmar’s stability, India too is a stakeholder and would have a convergence of interests with Russia and China. 

February 7, 2021 Posted by | Progressive Hypocrite | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Beijing Sends Biden a Warning

By Pat Buchanan • Unz Review • November 20, 2020

Because of Donald Trump, Vice President Joe Biden thundered during the campaign, the U.S. “is more isolated in the world than we’ve ever been … America First has made America alone.”

Biden promised to repair relations with America’s allies. And he appears to have gone some distance to do so in the congratulatory phone call he received from Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga of Japan.

According to Suga, during the brief call, Biden said Article V of the U.S.-Japan Mutual Security Treaty of 1960 covers the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea, islands Japan controls but China claims as its own.

“President-elect Biden gave me a commitment that Article 5 of the US-Japan security treaty applies to the Senkaku Islands,” said a delighted Suga. And what does Article V commit us to?

“Each Party recognizes that an armed attack against either Party in the territories under the administration of Japan would be dangerous to its own peace and safety and declares that it would act to meet the common danger…”

Message: The U.S. will treat a Chinese attempt to take the Senkakus, tiny rocky outcroppings in the East China Sea, as an attack on the USA, and America will fight China to secure Japan’s right to keep the islands.

Biden has removed any ambiguity that may have existed and given Tokyo a U.S. war guarantee that covers the Senkakus.

The response of China’s foreign ministry was to angrily lay claim to the islands they call the Diaoyus as “inherently Chinese” and to dismiss the U.S.-Japan security treaty as a “product of the Cold War.”

This diplomatic clash comes as Henry Kissinger was warning the Bloomberg Economic Forum: “America and China are now drifting increasingly toward confrontation, and they’re conducting their diplomacy in a confrontational way. … The danger is that some crisis will occur that will go beyond rhetoric into actual military conflict.”

Kissinger continued: “Unless there is some basis for some cooperative action, the world will slide into a catastrophe comparable to World War I.”

World War I was the worst calamity in Western civilization — until the next war to which it led inexorably: World War II.

Last week, we also learned that during Chinese military exercises in August, the People’s Liberation Army fired two missiles thousands of kilometers from the mainland that struck a targeted merchant ship sailing in the South China Sea. The missiles were the DF-21D and DF-26B.

Both missiles are known as “aircraft carrier killers.”

The U.S. routinely moves its carriers through these waters to underscore our contention that neither the South China Sea nor the Paracel and Spratly Islands within belong to China as Beijing claims.

Consistent with China’s toughening policies toward its neighbors, four members of the opposition in the Hong Kong legislature were ousted last week, which led to wholesale resignations that have left Hong Kong’s governing council under the total control of pro-Beijing hardliners.

The era of “one country, two systems” for Hong Kong, dating to the transfer of sovereignty by Great Britain, appears to be over. The dissidents and demonstrators who filled the streets just months ago appear to have been routed, and the city’s future looks less like the Hong Kong of yesterday than the Beijing of tomorrow.

These actions are consistent with the hard lines Beijing has taken on its “reeducation camps” for Uighurs in Xinjiang and its border dispute with India in the Himalayas.

While Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has lately sought to round up like-minded nations to stand up to China — Japan, Australia, India — there appears to be a reluctance, rooted in uncertainty as to whether Communist China or democratic America represents the future of Asia.

Trump’s “America First” policy asked the most basic of questions:

Are all these half-century old alliances, these commitments to go to war for Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and the Philippines, as in Joe Biden’s estimation, assets to be nurtured and even expanded to cover more territories like the Senkakus? Or are they liabilities that could drag us into wars the American people do not want to fight?

While we reject China’s claim to all the reefs, rocks and islets in the South China Sea and her claim to the Senkakus in the East China Sea, should we be obligated to go to war over these tiny parcels of land, especially when their legitimate owners are unwilling to fight for them?

Biden repudiates an “America First” foreign policy that puts U.S. security, sovereignty, liberty and vital interests above the interests of any other nation.

But what is it, then, that Biden puts first?

Globalism. A New World Order. A Crusade for Global Democracy.

Been there, done that.

Sixty years ago when Richard Nixon and John F. Kennedy faced off, the foreign policy debate was over whether the U.S. should fight Mao’s China to defend the tiny offshore islands of Quemoy and Matsu.

Kennedy thought not. Kennedy won.

Copyright 2020 Creators.com.

November 20, 2020 Posted by | Militarism | , , | Leave a comment

First Reaction of the Leading Asian Countries to the Results of the US Elections

By Vladimir Terekhov – New Eastern Outlook – 17.11.2020

The close attention widely paid to the recent election campaign in the United States is understandable. We are talking about a change in the leadership of a country, which continues to occupy the position of one of the main pillars of the modern world order.

Leaving aside the theme of the nature of the “democratic procedure” in the United States (which caused “disappointment” for many, to put it mildly), let us note the main thing in this context: each of the other significant participants in the world political game associated some of their own expectations attached to it. In this regard, the first reaction of the three leading Asian countries (China, India and Japan) to the preliminary results of the American elections seems to be remarkable.

First, attention was drawn to the haste of expressing congratulations to Joe Biden, in which the prime ministers of India and Japan did not lag much behind their European counterparts. At the same time, no official reaction followed from Beijing to the democratic candidates declaration of “victory”. Apparently, it will not even be until the official announcement of the results of the elections held in the USA. Despite the fact that the Chinese press is actively discussing everything that is somehow connected with them.

First of all, it is noted that Donald Trump leaves American policy to his successors in a state of “degradation”. This implies an internal political situation, in the catastrophic deterioration of which Trump, however, is definitely less to blame than his opponents.

As for Washington’s course in the Chinese direction, it is to Donald Trump that US-China relations owe the extremely important ‘Phase 1 Agreement’ in the field of trade. The parties are implementing the main provisions of this document without interruption, despite understandable restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic and the aggravation of the political sphere of bilateral relations. Moreover, the latter is more likely a product of the “creativity” on the part of the US political establishment (represented in the current administration by M. Pompeo), over which Trump never managed to establish control.

It is precisely because of the extremely poor state of the political relations with the United States that the Chinese Global Times looks to the future with more than a small amount of skepticism. Believing, however, that there are resources for their improvement, which both sides should not waste.

The NEO has repeatedly noted that the highest ranking of these resources are trade and economic ties between the United States and the PRC (People’s Republic of China). In bilateral trade, the volume of which exceeds 600 billion dollars, there are serious problems, with the solution being aimed at the Agreement of the “1st Phase”. The main supporter of the further development of relations with the PRC remains American business.

China drew attention to the fact that at the third international exhibition the China International Import Expo (CIIE) (Shanghai, November 5 – 10) 197 American companies (5 more than the previous one, CIIE-2019) occupied the most extensive exhibition area. According to the Global Times, foreign exhibitors welcomed the message about J. Biden claim to victory in the recent elections.

But even if an intention to improve bilateral relations appears on the part of the new Washington administration, the “Taiwan problem” has become extremely aggravated in recent years.

In this regard, Taiwan’s reaction to the results of the American elections was remarkable. At first, it was almost mourning in nature, because just during the presidency of Donald Trump, the trend (to one degree or another always present in American politics) to provide comprehensive support to the Taiwanese leadership to acquire a full-fledged statehood for the island increased sharply. In recent months, special importance had been attached to the defense sphere of bilateral cooperation.

However, Taipei’s initial sadness was quickly replaced by official joy expressed in congratulations sent to Joe Biden by President Tsai Ing-wen of Taiwan. A similar metamorphosis in the camp of “Taiwanese separatists” provoked caustic comments from the same Global Times.

In the assessments of Indian experts on the results of the elections held in the United States and against the background of all sorts of speculations about the half-Indian K. Harris as vice president of the United States (which states, however, that she is a “proud American”), there is obviously a factor of a possible improvement in US-China relations.

The fact is that it was during the presidency of Donald Trump that the Indian leadership took a number of important steps towards the United States. Especially in the last six months a sharp aggravation of relations with China due to the conflict in Ladakh. In the wake of the (hypothetical) improvement in US-China relations, Delhi will be faced with a difficult question: how to proceed with Beijing?

Japan, in an absolutely obvious way, is sincerely (unlike many others) happy with Joe Biden, more for the expected departure of Trump as leader of a key ally. Which, as they say, “really got” Tokyo.

First, by regularly spoiling the mood with reminders of the US trade deficit with Japan of $ 70 billion annually. This is a good fact for Tokyo, but it is better to keep it as least noticeable as possible. In addition, the matter was not limited to talk, and the persistent D. Trump set a deadline (at the end of this year) for taking specific measures to correct the “obvious disgrace”.

Washington’s deliberate aggravation of US-China relations (and even against the background of the coronavirus pandemic) reduces the global economic situation, which negatively affects the foreign business of Japanese companies in general and in China in particular.

According to the Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga is going to discuss all these and other issues with Joe Biden during his visit to the United States, which is due to take place immediately after the inauguration of the US president, scheduled for January 20, 2021.

Finally, it is not superfluous to comment (with a short excursion into recent history) on the ostentatious joy that the allies and closest partners of the United States are expressing with unprecedented speed to the (potential) new American president. Let us recall that when at one time the overseas “knight without fear and reproach” courageously fought against windmills (that is, “with communism” and all kinds of “totalitarian regimes”), his allies made a not so small profitable deal.

Four years ago, they suddenly felt like an abandoned wife, who, in anger and tears, exclaimed: “Come back, I will forgive everything”.

And now, when a ray of hope has dawned, the “abandoned” says, smiling and wiping away her tears: “Dear, let’s forget the old and start all over again?”

It will not work. In any case, on the same scale. For Donald Trump is not a one-time aberration in the political life of the United States. Expressed in a style popular at the time, four years ago America “breathed in the long-awaited air of freedom” and is unlikely to allow itself to once again throw on the yoke of obligations to cunning allies and all sorts of “independent” rogues.

Because it is not clear with whom and in the name of what to fight today. More precisely, it is already clear that there is no one with whom and for what. Moreover, the problems inside the country are “through the roof”.

However, one should not underestimate the factor of the possible return to the American administration of one of those “three witches” who at one time whispered and prophesied to the then American “Macbeth”, that is, President Barack Obama, the prospect of a “humanitarian catastrophe” in Libya.

After that, the United States was drawn into the military adventure of its European allies, the real catastrophic consequences of which the people of Libya are still unraveling.

Since the world game is shifting to Asia, a sharp strengthening of the “humanitarian” component of American foreign policy can be expected here. Moreover, the aforementioned second face of the new US administration was also marked with a “humanitarian” diagnosis. The formation of another trio of American political “witches” may complete the candidacy for the post of Secretary of Defense.

However, in connection with the situations in XUAR, Tibet, Hong Kong, the mentioned diagnosis of American policy in the Asian direction manifested itself quite clearly and “under the devil-Pompeo”. That is, with the coming to power in the United States of the new administration, one should hardly expect immediate and radical shifts in the regional political puzzle. As for the non-“immediate” and not “radical” ones, it is too early to say anything definite about them today.

Vladimir Terekhov is an expert on the issues of the Asia-Pacific region.

November 17, 2020 Posted by | Economics, Timeless or most popular | , , , | Leave a comment

Pompeo’s ‘Tokyo Kick’ Cannot Start the QUAD

By  Salman Rafi Sheikh | New Eastern Outlook | October 26, 2020

Mike Pompeo lashed out at China in his latest visit to Tokyo where he met his counterparts from India, Australia and Japan as part of his efforts to revive the QUAD, a US-centered anti-China alliance of the four countries. Speaking to his counterparts, Pompeo said that there was an urgent need to counter China, adding that “As partners in this Quad, it is more critical now than ever that we collaborate to protect our people and partners from the CCP’s exploitation, corruption, and coercion.” In an interview given to a Japanese news outlet, Pompeo also said that the grouping was a “fabric” that could “counter the challenge that the Chinese Communist Party presents to all of us.” “Once we’ve institutionalized what we’re doing – the four of us together – we can begin to build out a true security framework”, he added further. Mike Pompeo, who was clearly on a mission to persuade his allies to join the military alliance, was obviously trying to make US allies sell the same anti-China discourse that the Trump administration has used at home to start a ‘trade war’ with China. The US, now aiming to expand the war, is recruiting allies; hence, Pompeo’s high-pitched speeches against China.

While Pompeo said what he had to say, prospects of the QUAD’s rise as a powerful military alliance or an ‘Asian NATO’ remain bleak. Its most important reason is the fact that none of the countries—India, Japan and Australia—are interested in picking a military fight with China, while the US has no real allies against China.

While there is no gainsaying that all of these countries—India, Japan and Australia—have tense and uneasy relations with China, they appear not in the least interested in formalizing a US led anti-China military alliance, thus making PRC their official enemy.

It explains why these countries have so far chosen to manage their relations with China on their own and continue to shy away from exacerbating the fault lines by joining the US bandwagon of a ‘global anti-China coalition.’

Consider this: while Japan has its economic ties with China and there is no will in Tokyo to ‘de-couple’, following the US in its footsteps, it, with an eye on China, still is increasing its military strength. Whereas it is already converting two of its existing ships into aircraft carriers, it is going to make a record increase in its defense spending as well. Japan’s Defence Ministry has asked for an 8.3 per cent increase in the defense budget, which is by far the country’s largest rise in last two decades. Interestingly enough, one crucial reason why Japan has decided to increase the budget is the pressure that the Trump administration has been putting on the Japanese to manage their own national security. If Japan is anyway going to spend more and more on defense, increasing its military capability to position itself better in the region, not requiring extensive US military support, and it still wants to continue to have strong economic ties with China, there is no reason why it would want to permanently destabilize its relations with China by joining the ‘Asian NATO.’ Although this was prime minister Abe’s dream, his absence from the government will leave a further dampening impact on the alliance’s future prospects and Japan’s standing therein.

Australia’s government has announced a raft of legislation to curb foreign influence that is clearly (though unofficially) targeted at China. And India is actively engaged in a high-altitude, high-stakes game of chicken with China in the Himalayas—a hot-and-cold conflict in which India is no longer acting passively.

The fact that all of these countries have their specific problems with China and yet they have not been able to fully activate the QUAD shows there is no active and strong desire for a US-led military alliance. As such, the QUAD summit failed yet again to issue a joint statement or a communique.

Notwithstanding the US belligerence, the main focus of Japan, Australia and India remains a politically, economically and militarily balanced relationship with China.

This is the crucial reason that explains why, despite Pompeo’s hype and upbeat assessment of the ‘China threat’, none of the countries’ mentioned China directly in their statements issued after the meeting.

Unlike Pompeo, Japan’s Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi notably did not mention China in his remarks, and the Japanese government was quick to clarify that the talks were not directed at any one country. Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar noted the fact that the meeting was happening at all, given the coronavirus pandemic, was “testimony to the importance” of the alliance. Accordingly, while India like Japan, did endorse the agenda of “free pacific region” and “rule-based system”, it did not mention China either. Certainly, Indian policy makers were not looking to further destabilize the situation in and around the Ladakh region. For Australian foreign minister, who also did not mention China, the essence of the QUAD was to “promote strategic balance” in the Indo-pacific (and not start an Indo-pacific military alliance).

Starting a military alliance against China does not make sense. If the US is these countries’ biggest military and security ally, China is by far one of the largest trading partners, which makes the summit more symbolic than substantive. Accordingly, while Pompeo was talking of creating a ‘security network’, Japanese officials confirmed to local media that the subject was not even raised in the meeting; for, such a venture is unlikely to gain traction in the wake of these countries’ main thrust for balanced ties with China.

In the absence of a clear will and desire for building up military pressure on China, the ‘Asian NATO’ will remain an engine-less rail car, one that even persistent kicks wouldn’t be able to ignite.

Salman Rafi Sheikh is a research-analyst of International Relations and Pakistan’s foreign and domestic affairs.

October 26, 2020 Posted by | Economics, Militarism | , , , , | 1 Comment

On Australia’s Potential Participation in the Malabar Exercise

By Vladimir Terehov – New Eastern Outlook – 20.07.2020

On July 10, a number of news agencies reported that India’s leadership is considering inviting Australia to participate in the international naval exercise Malabar, scheduled later this year. The report is noteworthy for a number of reasons, mainly from the perspective of assessing the state of affairs in the Indo-Pacific region. The changes that have taken place in this region are directly linked to the history of the Malabar exercises.

This was the name given to the first joint Indian-US Navy exercise to be conducted in decades, which took place in the Gulf of Bengal in 1992. This was a notable sign of the burgeoning transformation of the entire geopolitical map after the end Cold War. India, for one, was in a state of strategic solitude (because of the disappearance of its former ally, the USSR) in the face of the same foreign policy challenges from China and Pakistan.

Naturally, India’s leadership began to seek a new external “balancing force,” and Washington was willing to fill this role. The very fact that the Malabar 1992 exercise had taken place marked the start of a US-India rapprochement—something that had seemed unbelievable just a few years before. This process has been neither smooth nor easy and continues to this day.

The first sticking point on this path was India testing its own nuclear weapons in 1998. The termination of the Malabar exercise was just one amongst other “sanctions” against Delhi.

However, compared to the Cold War, Washington stayed displeased with India for quite a long time. The prospect of a new geopolitical opponent in the face of China, which was already obvious then, forced Washington to turn a blind eye to Delhi’s recent “nuclear debacles” and to resume developing relations with India. Since then, India itself sees the US as the potential balancing force for the rapidly developing China.

The starting point of the process was President Bill Clinton’s visit to India in March 2000. A year later, Washington made it clear that it was willing to recognize India as a de facto nuclear power and generally cooperate in the field of peaceful nuclear energy. This led to the US-India nuclear deal, signed in 2006 by President George W. Bush. In 2002, the annual Malabar exercise was resumed.

At the same time the idea of forming an “Asian NATO” (evidently based on anti-Chinese sentiments) was put on the table in Washington’s political circles. The core of the new NATO was to consist of the US, India, Japan and Australia. In 2007, at the ASEAN Regional Forum, US Defense Secretary R. Gates formulated a concept to create a so-called Quad comprising the above-mentioned countries.

The evidence of the potential participants of the proposed project taking this seriously was the participation of Japan and Australia (joined by Singapore) in the Malabar exercise held that year.

This was, however, the first and, for many years to come, the last of these exercises to be conducted in a quadrilateral format. However, the very idea of the Quad seemed to have been forgotten. Among other reasons, we note the internal unrest that struck Japan at that time, as well as a sharp change in the domestic political situation in Australia.

As for Japan, with the early (and rather scandalous) end of Shinzo Abe’s first term as prime minister in 2007, the country entered a period of annual changes of government. At such times, it is difficult to conduct any significant foreign policy actions. Japan’s partners (including the US) also had doubts about doing serious business with a country whose leaders were replacing each other so quickly.

The domestic political situation in Japan only stabilized after Abe’s triumphant return to the Prime Minister’s seat at the end of 2012. This dramatically boosted the country’s foreign policy activity. In the summer of 2014, the Japanese Navy took part in another Malabar exercise after a seven-year hiatus. For the first time, it was held not in the Bay of Bengal, but on the eastern coast of Japan.

Since then, the exercise has adopted a trilateral format, and Japanese ships head to the Indian Ocean to participate in it. However, this wasn’t the only occasion for the Japanese Navy to frequent the Indian Ocean.

Australia paused its participation in the Malabar exercise due to a bloc of left-centrist parties coming to power in 2007. Their foreign policy (along with certain ideological considerations) considered economic wellbeing its main priority. China had already begun to occupy the position of Australia’s leading trade and economic partner, and it seemed absolutely unnecessary for the latter to spoil relations with it because of some “solidarity with the democratic countries of the region.”

Its foreign policy preferences underwent dramatic changes again in 2013 with the return of the bloc of center-right parties, who then won again twice (in 2016 and 2019) in the parliamentary elections. For the center-right government, the aforementioned factor of solidarity, which Canberra still tires to demonstrate on various occasions, was quite significant. One of the examples of this solidarity, recently discussed in the New Eastern Outlook, was the question of the “culprit” of the SARS COV-2 pandemic, as well as Australia joining a Western propaganda campaign connected to events in Hong Kong.

From the moment it came to power, the center-right government renewed its interest in the Malabar exercise and repeatedly asked the Indian leadership to allow Australia’s participation. The latest such request took place in late April 2018. For quite understandable reasons, Delhi refused every time.

A positive answer would obviously indicate the Indian leadership’s departure from the strategy of keeping the country in a neutral position (which over time grows more and more relative) in the aggravating confrontation between the two leading world powers.

Despite all the difficulties in China-India relations, the leaders of both countries, Xi Jinping and Narendra Modi, have made efforts to keep their development in a positive and constructive direction in recent years. Two informal meetings between them were of particular importance in this regard. The first took place in Wuhan at the end of April 2018, and the second in the Indian resort town of Mamallapuram a year and a half later.

Something negative had to happen recently between China and India in order for the latter to start considering the possibility of Australia joining the Malabar exercise in Delhi, which is tied to the prospect of forming an anti-Chinese Quad. And there is no doubt about what this “something” was. It is connected with another escalation of the situation on one of the China-India (quasi) borders in the highlands of Ladakh. This happened on the night of June 16 and resulted in the largest collision between the border patrol units of both countries over the past 40 years.

There was another noteworthy event taking place between early May and June 16, namely the Australian-Indian virtual summit, attended by Prime Ministers Scott Morrison and Narendra Modi. The parties focused on cooperation defense and security in general.

Perhaps the June 16 incident in Ladakh was intended to serve as a warning to India in response to the outcome of this summit. This summit, in turn, could also be seen as a response to the aggravation of the situation in Ladakh that began back in May. Thus, a possible invitation extended to Australia to join the upcoming Malabar exercise could well be an answer to the “response” of June 16.

This raises the question of how far the spiral of mutual “responses” can reach. The fact that this question has been raised at all leads to some upsetting conclusions.

Hopefully, however, the “spirit of Wuhan” has not yet been completely eroded from the relationship between the two Asian powers, and even with the (possible) quadrilateral Malabar exercise, the idea of building an “Asian NATO” with India’s participation won’t develop further.

July 20, 2020 Posted by | Militarism | , , , , | Leave a comment

India should not participate in Washington-led anti-China coalition

By Lucas Leiroz | July 13, 2020

For years, the US, Japan and India have maintained Malabar military exercises on an annual basis. As the US and Japan are absolutely aligned countries and India is a Washington regional strategic partner, the common objective of the three participants is to face the Chinese advance and to strengthen a coalition against Beijing and its presence in the Indian Ocean. Now, with the increasing of tensions between China and the United States for naval supremacy and between China and India for territorial reasons, Malabar exercises take on a new dimension, being the moment of greatest risk of war in the region in recent years.

Since 2017, Australia has asked to join Malabar naval exercises. The US and Japan have already voted in favor of the Australian participation, but India has not allowed it – the US, Japan and India are the permanent members of the tests and the adherence of a new country depends on a unanimous vote. There was a logistical disagreement between India and Australia, which prevented them from reaching a consensus on the execution of the exercises. In June, both countries signed a mutual logistical support agreement, thus removing the obstacle to Australian participation. Now, as the impasse with China increases, India can change its vote and finally approve Australian participation. The result would be an even stronger coalition scenario against China, which would certainly respond accordingly.

Beijing will not allow its oceanic region to be the target of powerful military exercises by enemy powers without offering high-level war tests in return. China has recently reached an advanced stage of naval military power, practically equaling American power by crossing the International Date Line. In addition, China has significantly increased its military campaign in the South China Sea and has built a large fleet for the Arctic. It is this adversary that the Malabar coalition is facing when promoting a siege in the Indian Ocean. So, what will happen if China invests even more in naval power, modernizing its Navy and devoting itself to a military strategy focused on maritime defense?

On the other hand, Beijing’s reaction may be different and even more effective: investing in Sino-Pakistani military cooperation to affect India. If China and Pakistan start joint naval exercises in the Indian Ocean, a coalition dispute will form, in which both groups will begin a series of regular tests and demonstrations of strength, seeking to intimidate each other.

In all scenarios, a central point is inevitable: the increase of tensions and violence in the Indian Ocean. Perhaps this is, in fact, the American desire in the region, taking into account that the increase in the crisis will inevitably forge the strengthening of the anti-China coalition and its ties with Washington, in addition to encouraging regional reactions from the Chinese Navy and delaying Beijing’s global projections – like the Chinese presence in the Arctic, for example. Having been subjected to the American naval umbrella for decades, Japanese and Australian participation is predictable and it is not surprising that Tokyo and Canberra support aggressive operations against China in the Indian Ocean. However, the same cannot be said about India.

India should not be part of a Washington-led coalition against China. The rivalry between India and China is different from the dispute between the US and China, and the mere fact that Beijing looks like a “common enemy” does not justify a coalition. China and India have an historic dispute of a territorial nature – a regional conflict over a physical, continental space. This is different from the American quest for global hegemony – to which China poses a threat today. China and India have much more in common than opposites: both are emerging Asian nations, with enormous growth potential and which aim to increase their degree of participation in the international scene, at the economic and geopolitical level. Washington, in this sense, is against both – because it seeks to preserve unipolarity and the American global dominance. Beijing and New Delhi can reach a common agreement sovereignly, with regional negotiations and bilateral diplomacy, as, in fact, they have been doing recently, resulting in the reduction of the border violence and the evacuation of troops.

By maintaining its participation in the exercises and encouraging the growth of the coalition, India will be making a big mistake – both in its relations with China and in its relations with Pakistan. Japan and Australia are nations willing to collaborate with American hegemony – India is not. The best path to be taken by the Indians is the abdication from the Malabar exercises, or, if it is not possible, at least, to prevent the Australian entry again, avoiding the strengthening of the anti-China alliance.

Lucas Leiroz is a research fellow in international law at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro.

July 13, 2020 Posted by | Militarism | , , , , | Leave a comment

‘Shameless’: Seoul denounces Japan’s objection to Trump’s plan to include South Korea in G7

RT | June 29, 2020

Seoul has accused Japan of brazen behavior after Tokyo objected to Trump’s idea of inviting South Korea into the G7 as a standing member. The proposal may weaken Japan’s political clout within the group, Japanese media claims.

A South Korean parliament official has accused Japan of constantly “harming” its neighboring country, in reaction to a news report published by Japanese news agency Kyodo last week. The report claimed that Tokyo’s administration had opposed US President Donald Trump’s idea of inviting Seoul to participate in the envisioned Group Seven gathering.

“There’s nothing to be surprised anymore by Japan’s consistent attitude not to admit or atone for its wrongdoings,” the official said. “The level of Japan’s shameless (position) is something of the world’s top.”

Kyodo reported that Japan has conveyed its objection to the US with claims that Seoul is not in “lockstep” with G7 – in particular, it does not share the group’s views on Chinese and North Korean issues.

The outlet suggested that Japan’s objection was expected to aggravate its already tense relationship with South Korea, amid ongoing historical and diplomatic disagreements. The two countries have long been locked in a dispute over World War 2 reparations aimed at resolving wartime labor issues. But the bill had heavily influenced controversies within the economic and defense areas in both countries.

The news agency pointed out that South Korea’s participation would mean ending Japan’s status as the lone Asian member within the group, which also includes the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, France, Germany, and Italy. Earlier this month, Japan expressed its hope to take the lead among G7 nations on issuing a statement about the situation in Hong Kong.

At the end of May, Trump suggested inviting Russia, South Korea, Australia, and India to participate at the G7 summit hosted by the US. The president has criticized the group as “very outdated” and pointed out that it no longer represents “what’s going on in the world.” The meeting was initially scheduled for June but had to be postponed until at least September, due to the coronavirus pandemic.

At a media briefing on Monday, Japan’s government spokesman Yoshihide Suga refrained from publicly expressing its opposition to South Korea’s participation. Still, he stressed that it is crucial to maintain the current G7 framework for coordination in tackling global challenges.

June 29, 2020 Posted by | Aletho News | , | 1 Comment

Gates Invests in Lab-made “Breastmilk” & Nova Scotia Shooter Case Has Hallmarks of Undercover Operation

Corbett • 06/25/2020

Welcome back to New World Next Week — the video series from Corbett Report and Media Monarchy that covers some of the most important developments in open source intelligence news. This week:

Watch this video on BitChute / LBRY / Minds.com / YouTube or Download the mp4

Story #1: Bayer Settles Roundup Cancer Lawsuits For Up to $10.9 Billion

Alt Breastmilk Company Biomilq Raises $3.5 Million From Gates’ Investment Firm

Artificial Breast Milk Investment Fund Backed By Gates, Bezos and Zuckerberg

Nestlé Boycott

Flashback: Gates Grant to Fund Testicle-Blasting Contraceptive (May 17, 2010)

Many BPA-Free Plastics Are Toxic. Some Are Worse Than BPA

#FluorideTrial: Ruling Delayed As Judge Asks Defense and Plaintiffs to Discuss New Evidence

Story #2: Japan to Bolster Defense After Scrapping Missile System

Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution

Arrest of Ex-Justice Minister Could Hasten Abe’s Departure

Story #3: Nova Scotia Shooter Case Has Hallmarks of Undercover Operation

Nova Scotia Killer Had Ties to Criminals, Withdrew Huge Sum of Cash Before Shooting

Police Uniform, Mock RCMP Car Were Key Factors in N.S. Shooting

BOMBSHELL REPORT: Transactions Reveal Nova Scotia Shooter May Have Been RCMP INFORMANT OR AGENT!!!

You can help support our independent and non-commercial work by visiting http://CorbettReport.com/Support & http://MediaMonarchy.com/Join. Thank You.

June 25, 2020 Posted by | False Flag Terrorism, Militarism, Timeless or most popular, Video | , , | 1 Comment

Dozens treated for chlorine exposure as massive fire engulfs hazmat storage at US base in Okinawa

RT | June 22, 2020

A fire broke out inside a chemical compound at a major US Air Force base on the Japanese island of Okinawa, triggering the release of chlorine and affecting multiple people who were treated for exposure to toxic gas particles.

Fire alarms were activated on Monday at a building where hazardous materials are stockpiled, Japanese and US media reported. Located in the central part of Kadena Air Base, the facility burned for a few more hours, though the firefighters didn’t let it spill over the base perimeter.

The base, said to be America’s largest military installation in the region, confirmed on Facebook that the blaze “released chlorine gas particles” into the air. Footage that surfaced online shows thick plumes of black smoke rising from the hazmat facility.

Base command sealed off the roads and evacuated areas both upwind and downwind of the burning site as firefighters put out the flames.

US military media reported later in the day that at least 45 people were treated for exposure to smoke and chlorine, a highly toxic chemical agent.

Those suffering from shortness of breath or coughing, irritation, and runny nose, were urged to consult a doctor. Meanwhile, Kadena’s medical group canceled all routine appointments, apparently bracing for further treatment of those affected.

Kadena Air Base houses over 20,000 service members and their families, along with the USAF’s 18th Air Wing and reconnaissance units.

Okinawa accommodates about half of the American troops stationed in Japan, to the great displeasure of many locals. In recent years, there have been protests against noise pollution, as well as the environmental impact and behavior of US soldiers, who have repeatedly been involved in sexual assaults and even deadly incidents on several occasions.

June 22, 2020 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Militarism | , | 1 Comment

Japan halts plans to deploy Aegis Ashore missile shield, citing costs & technical issues

RT | June 15, 2020

Tokyo has stopped bringing the US-made Aegis Ashore ballistic missile defense sites online on Japanese soil, one month after it suspended plans to deploy an installation in the country’s east following opposition from locals.

The Japanese Defense Ministry has suspended the deployment of the Aegis Ashore systems in Japan, Defense Minister Taro Kono announced on Monday, according to the Kyodo news agency. Without going into detail, Kono attributed the U-turn to overwhelming costs and unspecified “technical problems.”

Kono did not say how long the plans would stay on the backburner. Japan’s military was planning to activate two Aegis Ashore sites, in the Akita and Yamaguchi prefectures, by the year 2023.

The two locations would cover the country’s airspace from both east and west, according to the news agency.

However, residents and local politicians in Akita rebelled against hosting the compound on their lands. They insisted that Aegis operations would take a toll on locals’ health and protested that it would likely become a high-priority target were an armed conflict to break out around Japan

The missile defense systems, designed by a number of American companies including Lockheed and Raytheon, were sold to Japan along with other defense equipment back in January 2019, with the deal totaling an estimated $2.15 billion.

Japan has been one of a few nations tapped to host Aegis Ashore. Far away from the Pacific, one such site has already entered service in Romania, while another is under construction in Poland – right on Russia’s doorstep.

Moscow considered the Aegis deployment an immediate threat to its security, with defense experts claiming the system’s launchers – officially defensive in nature – could easily be converted to fire offensive munitions like Tomahawk cruise missiles.

It also voiced concern over the Japanese deployment plans, saying that placing Aegis Ashore in Japan would “adversely affect the Russian strategic containment arsenal.”

June 15, 2020 Posted by | Militarism | , , , , | Leave a comment

Okinawa’s Governor Promises ‘Fierce Opposition’ to Plan for New US Missile Bases

Sputnik – 10.06.2020

A US plan to build new missile sites on the Japanese island of Okinawa has encountered stiff resistance by locals, including the governor, who was elected on a position of getting US forces out of the prefecture.

‘Absolutely Unacceptable’

In the event of a war with China, land-based missiles placed on Okinawa would provide a major leverage point for US forces. However, with the island already a major target due to several large US military installations, Okinawans are fed up with the idea of bringing in even more targets for China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA).

“I firmly oppose the idea,” Okinawa Governor Denny Tamaki told the Los Angeles Times for a Wednesday story. “If there is such a plan, I can easily imagine fierce opposition from Okinawa residents.”

“Intermediate-range ballistic missiles can be used to attack other countries, so deploying them would conflict with the Constitution and lead to a further build-up of the US bases,” Tamaki told Bloomberg News last November. “To have new military facilities would be absolutely unacceptable.”

The Straits-Times noted last November that similar opposition is just as likely from other US allies, such as Australia and South Korea, which would then become targets in the event of a shooting war between Washington and Beijing. Similar fears quelled early Cold War enthusiasm in Canberra for a nuclear weapons program, too.

Last October, the Okinawan daily Ryukyu Shimpo reportedly uncovered evidence the US government had informed the Russian government in August 2019 of its intent to base missiles violating the shredded Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty in Okinawa within two years. The US formally withdrew from the treaty, which governed the ranges of land-based missiles used by Russia and the US, just days earlier.

Battle Plans Hinge on Okinawa

Never having been bound by the INF Treaty, the PLA has spent decades building up its Rocket Force into a formidably armed corps, wielding a variety of long-range cruise missiles and ballistic missiles and even hypersonic weapons, which the US has yet to field.

Sitting just 500 miles from Shanghai and 400 miles from the Zhejiang coast, Okinawa-based missiles would find much of mainland China within striking distance. However, the Ryukyu Islands would almost certainly fall under heavy attack by the PLA during a prospective war with US allies, as the archipelago falls within the “First Island Chain,” or the first string of islands sitting just off the east Asian coast. Beijing’s long-term strategic plans call for forcing its adversaries increasingly away from the Asian mainland, beginning with the First Island Chain, which stretches from Russia’s Kamchatka Peninsula south to Borneo, in Indonesia.

Likewise, the US Marine Corps is busy reenvisioning the way it wages war, including a pivot from the heavy land-based forces of the last several decades toward a more maritime role.

Commandant of the US Marine Corps Gen. David Berger told Congressional lawmakers in March that the Corps would be expanding its missile capabilities twentyfold in the next five years, as well as introducing the Navy Marine Expeditionary Ship Interdiction System (NMESIS), which is based on the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) but mounted atop a Joint Light Tactical Vehicle chassis. The weapons system will be able to fire a variety of anti-air and anti-ship missiles.

The purpose of these weapons can be found in Expeditionary Advance Base Ops (EABO), in which Marines will rush forward to set up small outposts on scattered islands that would house batteries of long-range anti-ship and anti-air missiles, creating a “no-go zone” for Chinese air and sea forces. A graphic illustrating the concept by the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments think tank happens to show EABOs deployed across the Ryukyuan chain.

Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments

Land-based missiles deployed at “Expeditionary Advance Bases” could form a virtual wall against Chinese aggression

Widespread Japanese Opposition to US Missiles

US plans for deploying weapons previously banned by the INF Treaty elsewhere in Japan have met strong resistance as well. An Aegis Ashore system that was to have been built in the western city of Akita was canceled last month amid heavy opposition from locals. Another site, on the western coast of Yamaguchi Prefecture, also met opposition, but so far plans for its construction remain unchanged.

Tokyo approved their construction to provide anti-missile defense against potential attack from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), but with the US out of the INF Treaty, the Aegis Ashore systems can easily be converted to fire offensive weapons, as the site in Deveselu, Romania, has already demonstrated.

Sonata
Marine Corps Station Futenma, in Ginowan, Okinawa

Okinawans have also fought the continued presence of several US military bases on the island, which was stormed by US forces in the closing months of World War II in a furious battle that killed nearly half the island’s population of 300,000 at the time. US Marine Corps Air Station Futenma sits in the middle of Ginowan City, and Tamaki was elected to the governorship on a campaign to get the base removed from the prefecture. Just four miles north of Futenma is another air base, the US Air Force’s colossal Kadena Air Force Base; between the two installations are half of the 50,000 US service members deployed in all of Japan.

In a February 2019 referendum, 70% of Okinawans voted against a US-Japanese plan to relocate Futenma on the island, but Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe insisted Tokyo “cannot avoid the necessity of moving Futenma,” and land reclamation for the new site, on the coast of rural Henoko to the north, has continued.

June 10, 2020 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Militarism | , , | 3 Comments

It is Time for Japan to Become a Truly Independent State

By Valery Kulikov – New Eastern Outlook – 03.05.2020

As the entire world suffers the tragic consequences of the coronavirus pandemic, the latest anti-American scandals are gaining momentum in Japan.

The Kyodo News agency was the first to report the announcement made by Japanese Defense Minister Taro Kono on April 17 that a joint investigation would be conducted by the Japanese and United States military into a leakage of carcinogenic organic substances (firefighting foam) at the US Marine Corps Air Station Futenma on the southern island of Okinawa. However, the Japanese Minister did not provide any details on the nature of this investigation. The article briefly mentions that before this announcement, the Vice Governor of Okinawa Prefecture Kiichiro Jahana had met with the Marine General in charge of the American air base to voice his protest over this spill.

The incident took place on April 10, when about 143 thousand liters of firefighting foam leaked out at the US Marine Corps Air Station Futenma, which contains PFOS, suspected to be carcinogenic to humans. In terms of area, 70% of all American military facilities in Japan are located on this island. All kinds of accidents have been a regular occurrence at the Futenma military base. Okinawa authorities have long been calling for the Futenma air base to be closed, which is located in the densely populated urban area of Ginowan City.

The incident that took place on April 10 has heightened the demands being made by Okinawa Island’s residents and the Okinawa Prefectural Assembly to have operations at the US Futenma air base shut down, but the US have not taken any action in response to these demands, nor have they done anything to prevent these undesirable accidents from taking place.

Another scandal that is gaining momentum also has to do with the military and political alliance between the United States and Japan. As noted in the Japanese Shūkan Gendai magazine, Japan has fallen into America’s trap, and is now effectively their loyal little “vassal state”, which is the cause of the new misfortunes than have befallen Japan. The publication emphasizes that America is to blame for the chaos that the Middle East has long been mired in, and now it seems that Japan will have to answer for all of America’s actions. However, is an alliance with America worth all of this? That is the question posed in the Shūkan Gendai, which has published information about the plight that the Japan Self-Defense Forces stationed in the Middle East have been suffering, who have practically been immured in their ships, as they come face-to-face with the coronavirus pandemic.

In order to get to the bottom of the problems Japan is currently experiencing, the Shūkan Gendai reminds readers of a special plan adopted by Abe’s Cabinet in December 2019 without having received prior approval from the Diet. Under the pretext of the worsening political and military situation “amid rising tensions between the United States and Iran”, two P-3C anti-submarine patrol airplanes with more than 100 flight and technical personnel were deployed to the region for “intelligence-gathering” purposes at the beginning of 2020, as well as a Takanami guided-missile destroyer, which began operating in the Gulf of Oman, where no coalition forces are providing Japan with any serious back up. The Japan Self-Defense Force Base is in Djibouti. It is worth noting that even though the United States invited more than 60 countries to participate in an anti-Iranian coalition (formally created by Washington in November 2019), only 6 countries have joined the US-led Persian Gulf naval coalition. Apart from America,  they are the United Kingdom, Australia, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Albania. The coalition was joined by Lithuania at a later stage. Japan is not officially a member of the coalition, but the Japanese military says that if the Japanese troops were to pull out of the region, a gap would be created, leaving the coalition vulnerable.

Since March, the likelihood of the Japanese Self-Defense Forces remaining there has been seriously jeopardized due to the outbreak of the worldwide coronavirus pandemic. This is mainly due to restrictions on the 200 crew members on the Takanami destroyer, who are refraining from leaving the ship to avoid becoming infected with Covid-19, and also due to the closure of Djibouti’s borders, which is not allowing the crews and maintenance personnel for the two P-3C anti-submarine patrol airplanes to be rotated. As the sailors cannot leave the ship, they are living in cramped and crowded conditions, and the Japan Self-Defense Forces were deployed to the Middle East without the necessary medical test kits, have not had enough rest, and are suffering severe stress. Given this situation, the Shūkan Gendai questions whether it is worth risking the lives of these crew members in order to clean up the mess made by the US, whose actions have unleashed chaos in this region.

At the same time, the Japanese press recall a statement made by Defense Minister Taro Kono back in January after holding talks with Pentagon chief Mark Esper, who said that Japan would not be participating in US operations to protect the Persian Gulf from possible attacks from Iran. Even the largely conservative Mainichi Shimbun newspaper has stressed that Japan’s complete dependence on the United States has led to Japan “blindly” following American foreign policy, and the decision taken by Abe’s Cabinet to deploy a limited Japan Self-Defense Forces unit to the Middle East is a clear proof of this. The controversial plan to build a new American military base at Henoko is further proof of this. The newspaper emphasizes that the Japanese government is wrong to be cracking down on the protests held by local residents against this new base being constructed. The government also needs to take urgent action to address the numerous civil rights and security violations that citizens living on Okinawa Island have suffered at the hands of the US military. This erodes mutual trust between the parties to the Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security between the United States and Japan and weakens it.

A common theme runs through an article published in the liberal Asahi Shimbun newspaper, which is the belief that since President Trump was elected with slogan “America first!”, America’s own short-sighted military and political decisions have exposed the Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security Between the United States and Japan to risks. The question of how Japan should cooperate with America is currently a real headache, as the United States has gone from being the “guardian” of the current world order to the instigator of disorder and chaos.

The Hokkaido Shimbun daily recalls the mass protests that broke out in Japan when the Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security Between the United States and Japan was signed in 1960, as well as the fact that its approval by the Diet was practically forced through.

The Akahata newspaper draws particular attention to the fact that a number of secret annexes were included when the Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security Between the United States and Japan was signed, according to which the American army can deploy nuclear weapons on Japanese islands and carry out military operations from them without notifying Japan, and this is not limited to operations in the Far East, they can be anywhere in the world. The US has already used Japanese territory to launch attacks on Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq.

To this day, Japan remains one of America’s closest partners in East Asia. This situation is certainly a paradox, given how many times the actions taken by the US have been unfriendly towards Japan and Japanese citizens. One example which stands out was the internment of Japanese Americans from March 17, 1942, when 120 thousand US residents who were ethnic Japanese or of Japanese descent were forcefully relocated and incarceration in concentration camps, even if these were American citizens who only had one Japanese ancestor, a great-grandmother or great-grandfather who was a Japanese national. What was happening to the Japanese on the territory of the United States at that time was purely fueled by racism, and there was no military justification for it. Then, on the night of March 9-10, 1945, the Bombing of Tokyo took place, which is regarded as the single most destructive bombing raid in human history, even more so than the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Time and time again over the 60 years that have passed since the Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security Between the United States was signed, Japan has had to endure lawless acts committed by American occupying forces in their country.

It is therefore no wonder that although there is a desire among today’s Japanese government circles to demonstrate a practically servile willingness to follow in Washington’s footsteps, the Japanese public are taking to the streets in rather frequent demonstrations, and are clearly trying to voice their rejection of US policies and America’s actions, both in Japan and in other parts of the world.

May 3, 2020 Posted by | Environmentalism, Illegal Occupation, Militarism, War Crimes | , , | 2 Comments