The Guardian • Issue #2097



Hannah Middleton

As we pass 200 days of Israel’s military assault on Gaza, the death toll has reached 35,000 and the aid blockade has subjected millions of Palestinians to starvation, dehydration, and disease.

Both the US and Australian governments have refused to put pressure on Israel to allow more aid deliveries to provide relief to the millions who are being subjected to collective punishment.

Our government cannot be allowed to continue to claim they want to help Palestinians, but in secret continue to sell arms to Israel and refuse to condemn genocide.

Al-Shifa hospital massacre

Pepe Escobar has written of the attack on the aid workers: “The ‘logic’ behind the deliberate three-tap strike on the clearly signed humanitarian convoy of famine-alleviating workers in Gaza was to eviscerate from the news an even more horrendous episode: the genocide-within-a-genocide of al-Shifa hospital.”

At the same time, the unearthing of mass graves and testimonies from survivors of Israel’s assault on al-Shifa hospital receded into the background as attention was diverted to Israel’s possible response to the Iranian counterattack.

As one commentator put it: “Between obligatory crocodile tears and theatrical anger, the US continues to arm and provide full support for Israel’s genocide, while pleading for Israel to call a “ceasefire” and allow food into Gaza through more crossings – all the while holding veto power at the UN Security Council.

“In other words, it is obfuscation coupled with escalation, while the killing in Gaza continues.”

Military spending

The world spent $2.4 trillion on military forces last year, 2.3 percent of the global gross domestic product. This is the highest amount ever recorded by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).

Yet imperialism’s military-industrial complex wants even more super profits from death and destruction.

US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan claims that even if peace broke out tomorrow (can you believe this comment!), “there is such a gap between where the collective West is and where it needs to be in terms of munition stockpiles, that … there is a need for replenishment on all of these systems that extends out years.

“The arrows are all pointing in the direction of the collective West ramping up its defence industrial base in a way that has been long overdue.”

Asian NATO

Over the past couple of years there has been a flurry of activity linking NATO with Asian states, principally Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand.

It is clear that the plan is for NATO to become a ‘one shop stop’ for US imperialism, expanding both in geographical reach and geopolitical function.

In just three of many examples, the German Bundeswehr joined the Talisman Sabre war games last year. A British army unit participated in military exercises in South Korea. The US, Japan, the Philippines, and Australia conducted joint military exercises in the South China Sea in early April this year.

Leaders of Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand have been invited to NATO summits in Madrid and Vilnius, and NATO has been signing Individually Tailored Partnership Programs (ITPPs) with these four regional states.

However, the path has not been straightforward. There are objections to the extension from the Atlantic to the Pacific from both within Europe, particularly France, and the US itself. It was Macron’s veto that scuttled the plans to open a NATO liaison office in Tokyo.

One response to these difficulties has been the promotion of the “United Nations Command” (UNC), based in Seoul. Despite its name, the UNC it is not an organisation under the control of the United Nations. In fact it is a US-controlled military alliance.

Interestingly, senior military personnel from Australia, Canada and Britain have been appointed to the post of Deputy Commander of the United Nations Command.

Its name and its illegal use of the UN flag and logo mean the UNC can be portrayed as a UN body, an expression of the international community rather than the US military.

Under this cloak, the US has been making efforts over recent years to rejuvenate the UNC and to transform it into the core of an expanded and repurposed global alliance structure to deploy against China.

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