The United States is borrowing a page from the playbook of fascistic imperial Japan in creating a tightly-knit military and economic pact among it and its Asia-Pacific allies. China, the prized target of what imperial Japan called its «Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere», again finds itself in the crosshairs of another «prosperity sphere», one that is now run out of Washington instead of Tokyo and is known as the «Trans-Pacific Partnership».
Provocative Japanese military actions against the United States and Britain prior to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor were designed to test the defenses of the Western military forces in Asia. The Pentagon, particularly the commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet in Pearl Harbor, Admiral Scott Swift, is now conducting the same sort of provocations against Chinese military forces in the region. The U.S. strategy is the same as that of fascistic imperial Japan: use American warplanes and warships to conduct penetration operations of Chinese maritime and air defense security zones in the South China Sea and other waters neighboring the Chinese mainland.
Ironically, Japan, under the militaristic government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, is a full partner of the United States in the operations against China and it has announced plans to dispatch its naval and other military forces to assist the United States in operations outside of Japanese home waters and airspace.
Swift has personally flown on one of his Navy P-8A Poseidon maritime surveillance aircraft during close points of approach sorties against disputed Chinese-held islands in the South China Sea. China called Swift’s actions, as well as those of other U.S. military pilots, dangerously provocative. Swift has at his disposal 250,000 naval and Marine Corps personnel, 2000 aircraft, 200 surface naval vessels, and 43 submarines to provoke China. That does not count the assets of the other U.S. military branches in the Pacific area, including the Air Force, Army, and Coast Guard. On December 10 of this year, two U.S. Air Force B-52 strategic bombers flew within two nautical miles of Chinese-claimed islands in the Spratly chain. The Pentagon called the incident a «mistake» but China was not buying the explanation.
The Pentagon’s laughable contention that it was a «mistake» that B-52s flew within two miles of the Chinese island is reminiscent of Japan’s explanation that the December 1937 sinking by Japanese forces of the USS Panay, a gunboat in the Yangtze River of China, was a «terrible mistake». Japan’s explanation flew in the face of accounts that Japanese army launches had machine-gunned the Panay as it sank and that Japanese aircraft strafed survivors in the water. The Japanese also maintained that it was also a «mistake» that Japan attacked three merchant ships belonging to the Standard Oil Company of the United States and that it was also a «mistake» that Japanese aircraft strafed surviving American and other merchant sailors in the water. The Pentagon’s claims of «mistakes» in sailing or flying within Chinese maritime security zones in the South China Sea are as disingenuous as the deceptive claims made in 1937 by Japanese Foreign Minister Koki Hiroto to his American counterpart in Washington.
In October of this year, the USS Lassen, a guided-missile destroyer, sailed within 12 miles of the Spratlys. U.S. air and naval provocations directed against China were followed by the decision by the Obama administration to sell $1.83 billion in arms to Taiwan. The U.S. decision was meant to derail warming relations between Taiwan, a longtime U.S. ally, and China. In November, there was an unprecedented meeting held between President Xi Jinping of China and President Ma Ying-jeou of Taiwan in Singapore. The Obama administration and the U.S. military war mongers in Hawaii decided to poke another stick in the eye of the Chinese dragon when the U.S. Navy announced it would base its Poseidon surveillance aircraft in Singapore, the venue of the historic cross-strait summit, for the purpose of flying additional provocative sorties in the South China Sea.
Swift and other U.S. commanders in the Pacific region, as well as military officials of Australia, Japan, New Zealand, and the Philippines, have warned China that the members of the emerging U.S. economic-political-military Trans-Pacific Partnership bloc will maintain a strong U.S. and partnership military presence in the South and East China Seas. The Philippines, as well as South Korea, Taiwan, Indonesia, and Thailand, are candidate members of the TPP. The Pentagon is taking full advantage of the U.S.-directed TPP to leverage increased basing rights for U.S. military forces in the member states, including Japan, Singapore, Vietnam, Brunei, Australia, and Malaysia. Malaysia’s decision to grant China’s Navy port facilities in Kota Kinabulu in the state of Sabah on Borneo has resulted in U.S. plans to build new bases on Palawan island in the Philippines and in Brunei, adjacent to Sabah.
The United States is also increasing its traditional neocolonialist stance in its former Pacific Trust Territories of Micronesia, Palau, and the Marshall Islands. These islands are independent in name only and usually vote in lockstep with the United States and Israel in the United Nations General Assembly.
The Obama administration has fought hard against an attempt by the Micronesian island group of Chuuk to declare independence with the possibility that it may form an association with Palau. The so-called «Compacts of Free Association» between the United States and Micronesia, the Marshalls, and Palau give the United States the right to establish military bases in the countries at any time of the Pentagon’s choosing. Just as with Guam, a U.S. territory that hosts a large naval and air force base, these Pacific island nations stand to lose much of their territory to the United States as Washington beefs up its military presence in the Pacific. The U.S., for example, has the right to occupy a third of Palauan territory for military use, including a 30,000 tract of jungle on the island of Babeldaob for use as a jungle warfare training center, most of Malakal harbor, and two airfields and a 2000-acre area for munitions storage.
The U.S. maintains a ballistic missile testing center on Kwajalein in the Marshalls and has floated the possibility of a joint U.S.-Australian military command center on Pohnpei in Micronesia.
Against Article XIII of the Palauan Constitution, U.S. munitions stored on the island chain may include nuclear weapons. Over the years, the Central Intelligence Agency is believed to have been involved in the assassinations of three anti-nuclear Palauan political leaders: President Haruo Remeliik, Palau’s first president, in 1985; President Lazarus Salii, the nation’s second president who succeeded Remeliik, in 1988; and anti-nuclear activist Bedor Bins, in 1987. In 1990, Guam Governor Ricardo Bordallo -- whose brother Guam Senator Paul Bordallo favored independence for the U.S. territory of Guahan (Guam) -- and who also seemed sympathetic to the cause of eventual independence, was found shot to death after his federal conviction on corruption charges. Bordallo’s body was chained to a statue of Chamorro Chief Kepuha, wrapped in a Guamanian flag, with a nearby placard that read: «I regret that I only have one life to give to my island». Based on what occurred to Remeliik, Salii, and Bins in Palau, there is no reason to believe that Bordallo took his own life. The CIA is a master at staging assassinations to appear as suicides. With successive Okinawa governors opposed to the continuing U.S. military presence on the island and Okinawan antipathy toward the Japanese emperor and prime minister remaining high, the chances for political subterfuge against the local government staged by American and Japanese covert agents remain high.
When it comes to maintaining its militaristic and aggressive presence in the Pacific region, the United States has shown, time and time again, that its policies are anything but «pacific». War is the name of the game for the admirals in Pearl Harbor, the generals in Guam, and the war planners at the Pentagon. During World War II, it was the United States and China that were allied against an imperialistic fascist Japan. Today, it is the United States and Japan that stand united in a militarist and fascistic pact against China.