Gillard’s address to the US Congress: Obsequiousness in the service of anti-China aggression
The March 9 address by Australia's prime minister to a joint sitting of the US Congress was always going to be a cringe-inducing demonstration of complete subservience. But Julia Gillard's extraordinary display of fawning obsequiousness managed to surpass all expectations. Underlying her emotive rhetoric, however, was an unambiguous message - the Australian Labor government will unconditionally stand with Washington as it aggressively confronts China in the Asia-Pacific.
The Australian Labor government has issued its unswerving support and encouragement for the Obama administration's efforts to unite various East Asian countries in an anti-China cordon. "You were indispensable in the Cold War and you are indispensable in the new world too," Gillard told the Congress. "So your growing engagement with key countries in the region - like Japan, India, South Korea and Indonesia - is enormously welcome. We will work closely with you to strengthen the fabric of these relationships and underpin regional stability... Australia in the south, with South Korea and Japan to the north, form real Asia-Pacific partnerships with the United States. Anchors of regional stability."
Far from promoting "stability" as Gillard insists, the US is the most violently destabilising force in world politics today. Washington's attempt to maintain its hegemony in East Asia and the Pacific Ocean is jarring at every step with the new strategic reality created by China's economic expansion. Beijing, unsurprisingly, cannot accept American assurances that it will provide security for the vast daily shipments of oil and raw materials feeding China's industrial expansion, and so is developing its own blue water navy, together with overseas naval and port facilities, and cultivating new diplomatic alliances. All this cuts across American interests, creating a series of flashpoints that could easily see any small-scale military clash erupt into war between the two nuclear-armed powers.
Australia, as Gillard has made clear, would serve as the American military's southern "anchor" of operations in such a conflict. This is why the prime minister has repeatedly emphasised her "enthusiasm" for a larger US navy and army presence in Australia.
RMIT ISSE is holding a meeting this Thursday at 1.30pm in the Student Union Meeting Room 8.3.18 (opposite the gym) to discuss the implications of Gillard's address, and the political perspective and program necessary to oppose the drive to war. We encourage all students to attend.