The Guardian • Issue #2067

PEACE NOTES

More War Games

PEACE NOTES

Australia has just hosted the Malabar Exercises which were held in Sydney and across the NSW south coast from 10th to 21st August. The naval war games involved Australia, India, Japan, and the United States – the four Indo-Pacific countries which make up the Quad (Quadrilateral Security Dialogue), a de facto military alliance directed against China.

Coming on top of US-led military activities throughout the region, particularly in South Korea and the Philippines this year, and now in Australia, Malabar was unmistakably a show of force aimed at China.

So far this year there have been exercises in Europe, South Korea, the Philippines, and now Australia.

The Malabar exercises were one more example of the US drive to build military alliances to help contain China and reassert imperialism’s unipolar domination and exploitation of the region.

The Malabar Exercise began in 1992 as a training event between the United States and India. Japan joined in 2015. In 2008 Australia withdrew from the war games, but from 2015, the Australian government was eager to participate again following the US pivot to Asia, a vast military build-up directed against China.

This year Australia for the first time hosted Exercise Malabar which included constabulary operations, air warfare activities, anti-submarine warfare, naval gun-firing and anti-ship missile defence activities, and communications, and replenishment at sea between ships.

However, little specific information on the activities was made public. Australia’s growing role in the US-led preparations for war against China increasingly looks like “a conspiracy against democracy and the population itself.”

Australia sent the destroyer HMAS Brisbane, the landing ship HMAS Choules, a Collins class submarine, helicopters, F-35 fighter jets, an Air Force Hawk 127, and Poseidon aircraft.

India sent a destroyer, frigate, and submarine; Japan dispatched a destroyer; and the US Navy sent ships from the Nimitz Carrier Strike Group and other units for the US 7th Fleet.

The war games are about aggression and intimidation, not defence or disaster response.

The Malabar Exercise followed on from last month’s Talisman Sabre biannual war games. This year’s version involved more than 34,000 military personnel. The main partners, Australia and the US, were joined this year by NATO states France, the UK, Canada, and Germany as well as Fiji, Indonesia, Japan, Republic of Korea, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, and Tonga.

Talisman Sabre involved extensive live-fire exercises, including the use of sophisticated missile systems, as well as maritime and littoral combat exercises clearly aimed at rehearsing a war with China.

Amid Talisman Sabre, the US-Australia Ministerial Consultations (AUSMIN) were held in Brisbane. The talks reached many decisions but their essence was a joint commitment to expand and operationalise the US military takeover of Australia.

The words “Enhanced Co-operation” were repeated throughout the AUSMIN communiqué, describing the terrifying speed and breadth of the surrender of independence, sovereignty, and autonomy by the Australian government.

There will be Enhanced Force Posture Co-operation across land, sea, and air, as well as through the Combined Logistics, Sustainment and Maritime Enterprise. There will be Enhanced Maritime Co-operation, Enhanced Air Co-operation, and Enhanced Space Co-operation.

Australia pledged to expand US basing arrangements, as well as to develop joint missile production and stockpiling capabilities. They also signed a secretive agreement related to the conduct of space warfare.

All these activities are part of Australia’s transformation into a militarised, frontline state for conflict with China. This includes AUKUS and the government’s Defence Strategic Review, which earlier this year outlined the biggest expansion of the armed forces in 80 years, with a focus on the development of strike capabilities for “impactful projection” throughout the region.

Claims that this has anything to do with “national defence” or protecting “democracy” are lies. The real aim is to prepare for war on China because it is the chief threat to US imperialist hegemony.

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