SOME REAL NEWS FROM NEWS CORPORATION
A clear statement about why the submarines will be built in Japan can be seen in a report by Ian McPhedran, the national defence writer for News Corporation. An article published on March 10 this year begins with this simple statement:
“Buying a Japanese submarine has more to do with the US alliance and protecting Japan from China than jobs or capability, according to two former Japanese admirals.”(1)
Perhaps the admirals in Japan have noticed the absurd nature of the “debate” in Australia and decided to set the record straight. The article continues:
“In a document obtained by News Corp, former Japanese Navy chief Vice-Admiral Yoji Koda and former submarine fleet commander Vice Admiral Masao Kobayashi argue that the ‘north-south cooperation’ between Australia and Japan would provide ‘strategic and operational flexibility to the USA’s re-balancing policy. This strategic relationship is a thing which no other nation can replace,’ the document says.”
The “re-balancing” policy is the US push to “contain” China. So Australia has been told by the US and Japan to work with them as they build up the military hardware necessary to keep China in her place. We have our marching orders: Do not build the subs in Australia and do not cooperate with anyone else.
MORE REAL NEWS FROM THE DRUM
Buried in the middle of The Drum on March 25 this year is a a more detailed account by Bruce Haigh, a former Australian diplomat.(2) He explains that the Collins class of submarines were built because the Americans used the previous model, the Oberon class, to sit off the coast of the USSR and China for intelligence gathering. The US only has large and noisy nuclear powered submarines, while the British made conventional submarines used by Australia were much smaller and harder to detect.
So the Collins class of submarines were made in Australia because the US wanted us to make them here. Haigh explains that the situation now, a not very well kept secret in Canberra, is that the Americans have told Australia to build the new submarines in Japan. This is part of their wider plan to build up Japanese defence industries so that they, and Australia, can help counter China. He also notes that Japan will need to construct brand new facilities to build these submarines. The Americans want the Japanese to get new facilities so they can build more submarines for their own and Australia’s navy. His view is that we have been “sucked in” to a “particularly bad deal”. We are going to give Japan the seed money to build the new facilities.
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?
This means that the Japanese do not now have the facilities to build these new submarines. So much for the government claim that “time is of the essence” in a choice of where the submarines are built. The facilities for building subs already exist in Adelaide, but in Japan they do not exist. How is this going to help deliver the subs more quickly?
Haigh is quite clear that the decision on this and the F-35 (made by the Howard government) were taken under American pressure. He thinks fact that we have succumbed to American pressure on this is not good for Australia. He insists that both sides of politics are bad on this. We need to go back to the drawing board and see how much can be built in Australia and with sufficient independence. He explains that when we got the Collins class submarines, the Americans insisted on putting in all the communications equipment. This meant that they can track those submarines anywhere they are in the world. “Thanks. We don't need that,” he said. “It’s not all America anymore.” Here he puts his finger on the central problem. Should we tie ourselves so closely to the US in the current world situation?
WHY IS THIS NOT FRONT PAGE NEWS?
Why is the decision to build submarines in Japan hidden behind a bogus “debate” in the public arena? Australia is a colony that pretends not to a colony. Both the private and public media in Australia report the “news” by concentrating on the statements made, the words used, by politicians in government and opposition. The leaders of our political parties want to hide from us the fact that certain policies are dictated by the US government and/or major multinational companies. They know they must do what they are told, but they cannot reveal this to us. So they pretend that we elect them to make the wise decisions for us. This is how “democracy” and a “free press” works.
The fact that Australia has been told by the US to build our new submarines in Japan will be officially denied by the Government, and ignored by the opposition. The extent of our “free press” is that a few correct accounts can appear here and there, but they are buried among all the other reports of “he said” and “she said” so that most people will not pick them up.
WHAT IS THE REAL ISSUE BEHIND THE CHOICE OF SUBMARINES?
The real issue here is whether it is a good idea for Australia to continue with its complete subservience to US interests. This is not just an interesting issue of principle. Another fact that is hidden from the Australian public is that the while US Empire is in decline, it is in the middle of a huge military build-up directed against Russia and China. By allowing a major US Marine base in Darwin and locking the Australian navy into an American and Japanese military strategy directed against China, we are forced to take sides against our largest trading partner, China. It may be in the interest of US and Japan to “oppose” China, but it is definitely not in Australia’s interest. Australia is like the Titanic. The iceberg can be seen from the bridge but the captain will not change course.
ICEBERG? WHAT ICEBERG?
For more than 100 years Australia has been either a colony of Great Britain or the US. We have had decades of peace and prosperity since WW II under the wing of the US Empire. The problem is that, as Haigh said to The Drum: “It’s not all America anymore.” The US Empire and its control of the world economy is being challenged by the BRICS countries, led by Russia and China. (BRICS countries are Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa.)
The battle shaping up is similar to the situation before WW I. Then the British Empire was challenged by Germany. Now the US Empire is challenged by the BRICS. This is not like the Cold War. It is not about Capitalism vs. Communism. It is about one dominant capitalist block, the US Empire, and the BRICS block of capitalist countries. Australia’s economic and political future lies with the BRICS block. We don’t need to join it, we only need to be independent enough to stay out of any war between the two.
WHY SHOULD AUSTRALIA STAY OUT OF SUCH A WAR?
The US had adopted a very aggressive military strategy both in the Middle East and against Russia in the Ukraine. If a conventional war were to break out between US/NATO and Russia in Europe, the simple fact is that the conventional forces of US/NATO are no match for the size and quality of the Russian conventional forces. The US/NATO cannot win such a war. This means that if a conventional war starts, the US must either back down or escalate to nuclear weapons. In this case our only hope is a military coup in the US, in which the lunatics running the US are replaced by the sober heads of the military who know that they, the US, cannot “win” such a war.
If a nuclear war breaks out, people in Australia must realize that Russia and China are allies. They know that the US is out to destroy them, and they will not let this happen. The Abbott Government seems to think they can be enemies of Russia but friends of China. This absurd position is only possible because the political elite in Australia are so obedient to US demands that they cannot think for themselves. If Russia is attacked by US/NATO, China will respond, and Australia will be caught in the middle. Why is this?
Pine Gap in the Northern Territory is the most important US military base outside of the US itself. In the first few minutes of such a nuclear war, if not earlier, Russia, and perhaps China, will launch missiles at this base. What happens after that is anyone’s guess, but it is unlikely that the US, troubled as it is by unemployment and declining services, could survive in anything like its present form after an attack by Russia and China. Remember what happened to New Orleans after the floods. It has been abandoned, not rebuilt. Is Australia going to continue to fight against Russia and China on its own without US support? Perhaps the US and the Australian Government assume that Russia/China will back down, so there will be no open warfare. We will all pay a high price for such blindness.
THE FUTURE WILL NOT BE LIKE THE PAST
Australia’s political elite have had a comfortable existence for at least 100 years following along behind the British and American Empires, but all this will change once they are gone. Australia needs to think for itself now. However almost nobody sees the need because they are only concentrating on the comfortable past. They cannot see ahead that the US is declining in its power, and it could decline into nothing virtually overnight. The only prominent person to question this unthinking acceptance of US control has been Malcolm Fraser.(3) Sadly, while he has been honoured with a state funeral, our leaders hope that his questions can be buried with him. We need to work to stop this.
2. http://iview.abc.net.au/programs/drum/NU1505H048S00. The comments by Bruce Haigh are found in the eight minutes between 13:30 and 21:30 in the program.
3. A good account of Malcolm Fraser’s views on the Australian alliance with the US can be found here in his interview with George Megalogenis: http://iview.abc.net.au/programs/malcolm-fraser-life-wasnt-meant-to-be-easy/.