The Australia-United States Ministerial Consultations (AUSMIN) 2020 seem to have been little more than an opportunity for the federal government to re-affirm its position as loyal junior imperialist lapdog to the United States. Washington says “War!” and Canberra says “Yes, Sir!”
That’s been the case for more than half a century: Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq and, now, China.
Yes, the Australian government has signed up to a new war on China without so much as discussion in parliament, let alone the agreement of the people.
It may not be an old-style war, but it is a war nonetheless — one that involves threats, regular acts of gunboat diplomacy and offensive cyber warfare through the Five Eyes spy network.
A new secret agreement was signed at the AUSMIN 2020 talks to coordinate this war: “The United States and Australia are determined to strengthen defense cooperation, including on force posture, and acknowledged that the presence of US forces in the Indo-Pacific has been vital to preserving the region’s security and prosperity for 75 years. They signed a classified Statement of Principles on Alliance Defense Cooperation and Force Posture Priorities in the Indo-Pacific …”
Australia signed up to this new US war on China despite the fact that the US now has the most crazed, right-wing, racist and misogynistic megalomaniac, Donald Trump, as its president.
It did this even as Trump is waging a multi-fronted war on the people of his own country.
Trump has killed off more than 150,000 people with his COVID-19 irresponsibility. He has locked up tens of thousands of migrant workers, and he has sent armed militias to fight Black Lives Matter protesters in cities like Portland.
He did this while most other governments are focused on dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic and while the huge challenge of the climate emergency has still to be tackled.
This new war drive doesn’t come cheap. We have been told of the $270 billion spend on the military, but that’s only part of the bill.
The graph above, compiled by journalist Greg Bean on michaelwest.com.au, shows the blow out in Australian military spending is now eclipsing the spending in all other departments.
A major reason for this is that expensive military equipment bought from US arms manufacturing giants always blows out in cost.
Bean points out: “It seems that defence contractors have seen the profitability, and perhaps the willingness of the Department of Defence, in amending contracts; and for the first time, in 2020, the price of contract amendments has outstripped even the contracts themselves!”
So, Australia has signed up for a new war initiated by a crazed right-wing US president supported by the US military-industrial complex and the fossil fuel companies while, on the home front, it has put mining companies in charge of steering the economy through the COVID-19 pandemic.
Green Left opposes the new Morrison-Trump war drive. We say spend the money on addressing the urgent medical, social and environmental crises instead.