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Vol. 75/No. 44      December 5, 2011

Crisis drives U.S. encirclement of China

In recent weeks, President Barack Obama marched across Asia and the Pacific from Australia to Indonesia strengthening U.S. imperialism’s trade and military ties throughout the region in order to counter the growing influence of China, its most formidable rival. The rulers of the world’s foremost imperial power will not passively watch as their hitherto unchallenged dominance of the Pacific begins to slip from their grasp for the first time since it was conquered with U.S. imperialism’s bloody triumph in World War II.

During his trip to cement deeper military cooperation with the government of Australia, Obama crowed the hackneyed refrain: “The United States is a Pacific power, and we are here to stay.”

But toward Washington’s allies and potential allies the imperial arrogance was well restrained during Asian summits in Indonesia and Hawaii, where the Obama administration appeared to do an effective job of advancing the U.S. rulers’ priority of strengthening alliances to China’s west, south and east.

The U.S. rulers’ accelerating shift to the East takes place in the context of substantial cuts in its military budget and drawdowns in Iraq and Afghanistan. This does not represent a move away from military aggression and war. On the contrary, like the world crisis of capitalism that propels imperialism’s military conflicts, we are seeing just the beginning of the unending wars that will spread and pose ever greater threats amid intensifying cutthroat competition for markets, labor and resources. And the central arena of the escalating trade wars—which have a tendency to lead to shooting wars—is Asia.

The military cuts, Obama said while in Australia, “will not—I repeat, will not—come at the expense of the Asia-Pacific.”

This is unfolding alongside another dangerous development. Over the last decade, for the first time in its history, U.S. imperialism has conducted two wars without increasing the size of its all-volunteer military. Now the U.S. rulers are preparing to cut government expenses in response to their economic crisis, while the White House advances the liberal dream of military operations “on the cheap” with minimal boots on the ground, by increasing reliance on hunter-killer special forces and aerial drones in an effort to assassinate its way to victory from Pakistan to Somalia.

All these trends in foreign policy and military matters abroad flow from the propertied rulers’ war on working people at home, from spreading lockouts to incessant attacks on our rights. From Europe to America, the rulers have no solutions to the spiraling crisis and disorder of their system short of deepening their wars at home and abroad.
Related articles:
US, Australian rulers deepen military ties, target China  
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