Tuesday, July 31, 2012

X-Post: Stephen Franks- Backdown On Fiji Called A “Thaw”

  • July 31st, 2012
If you follow this blog you read in May about the 'thaw" reported today on Stuff.
No sign yet of our democracy working to ask how to avoid such bipartisan stupidity again.
Presumably the lack of leaks from  demoralised MFAT folk, blaming their political masters, means they were equally if not more culpable.
The most worrying sign of our vulnerability to bad judgment on matters foreign  is in the continuing lack of MSM exploration of why this debacle  went unchallenged. I suspect a shared chattering class eagerness to treat good intentions as sufficient for policy formation.

Source: Stephen Franks.com

Further reading:


SiFM:  Stratfor Video Brief: Australia's Bending Foreign Policy

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Friday, July 27, 2012

Bohemian Grove, Bob Carr & Fiji’s Beta Democracy

 (Click above to hear the audio on the Radio Australia interview with Bob Carr, discussing Fiji)
Unelected Australian Foreign Minister, Bob Carr, was interviewed by Radio Australia regarding the upcoming meeting with his New Zealand, Fiji counterparts in Sydney on July 3oth 2012. In the interview,  Carr was hesitant to acknowledge Fiji's progress towards democracy  and would relax sanctions once irreversible progress towards democracy has been attained. The interviewer alluded that Carr wanted a more accelerated pace in Fiji's efforts.

It appears a scripted good cop-bad cop scenario has been mapped out.

New Zealand is acting out the good cop- recently investigating a conspiracy to assassinate Fiji's Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama, involving  the fugitive and nemesis Roko Ului Mara, raided the home of a former SDL politician in New Zealand and softened the travel sanctions.

Playing the 'bad cop' -Bob Carr, the Australian Foreign Minister's new tact- shift the proverbial goal posts towards the Utopian end of the democracy spectrum.

Bob Carr and Henry Kissinger, in San Francisco, California.

The planned meeting in Sydney was to update the Australian Foreign Minister on Fiji's progress towards democracy; since Carr was too busy in secret talks with his handlers at the controversial Bohemian Grove  as outlined in a posting in his own blog.

The irony of the unelected Bob Carr discussing Fiji's democracy, meeting with a U.S Presidential contender, co-mingling with Henry Kissinger, Condoleeza Rice and other neo-conservative stalwarts of the same ilk is astonishing.

The question is worth asking -what was secretly discussed in Bohemian Grove, that involved Fiji, Pacific geopolitics and other world affairs, that is presently changing with break neck speed?

Bob Carr's recent remarks on Radio Australia, dismissed any proposals for Australia to become a broker in the South China Sea dispute; may just have been policy skulduggery, handed down to him at Monte Rio, Sonoma County. Is Australia's Foreign Policy formulated in the Bohemian Grove? Carr's response to a blog comment in his blog is self explanatory, "I don't write the rules. But have a job to do for Australia".

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Thursday, July 26, 2012

X-Post:WSWS - US Demands Greater Australian Military Spending

By James Cogan
25 July 2012
Over the past two weeks, American military commanders and strategic analysts, undoubtedly acting in close consultation with the Obama administration, have publicly criticized the size of Australia’s defense budget.
The criticisms amount to an open intervention into Australian politics, seeking to pressure the minority Labor government to boost military spending in order to ensure that Australian forces can serve as a credible partner in the US preparations for a confrontation with China in the Asia-Pacific region.

The Labor government has already clearly aligned itself with the US. In 2009, it released a Defense White Paper, which named China as a potential threat for the first time, and announced that Australia would spend over $100 billion on new ships, aircraft and other military hardware during the next two decades.
That alignment was intensified after Julia Gillard was installed as prime minister in mid-2010. The Obama administration tacitly backed the ousting of her predecessor, Kevin Rudd, in an inner-party political coup as he was regarded as being insufficiently in tune with Washington’s confrontational approach to China.


" Obama administration’s concentration of US military power in the Asia-Pacific “is not an opportunity for a free ride by anybody—not Japan, not Australia, or anybody else."
In November 2011, Gillard and President Barack Obama announced agreements to develop key staging bases for US air, sea and marine operations in northern and western Australia, requiring major upgrades to ports and airbases. Earlier this year, plans were unveiled to develop the Cocos Islands in the Indian Ocean as a base for US drone aircraft, also necessitating hundreds of millions of dollars in infrastructure development.

The US-Australia agreements form one component of the US “pivot” to the Asia-Pacific. The Obama administration has sought to cement alliances, strategic partnerships and basing arrangements with a number of countries in Asia, with the intention of encircling China.Washington is now sending a blunt message to Canberra that having committed to the US, it must meet the cost of ramping up the size and capabilities of its armed forces.

On July 13, the head of US Pacific Command, Admiral Samuel Locklear, told journalists after meeting Gillard in Canberra that he was “concerned” that Australian military spending was well below the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) standard of 2 percent of gross domestic product (GDP). Locklear stated: “There are many nations that don’t meet that from time to time, and so it’s not for me to comment on how the Australian people decide to do it, but I would hope that in the security environment that we are in that there is a long-term view of defense planning that has the proper level of resources behind it.”

Locklear’s comments were the first public US reaction to the Labor government’s decision, revealed in its May budget, to cut $5.5 billion from defence spending over the next four years, as part of its efforts to meet the demands of the financial markets to return the budget to surplus. He focused on one of the most expensive planned Australian defence acquisitions—a new fleet of 12 submarines that could significantly contribute to US-led operations to block China’s access to the crucial sea-lanes between the Indian and Pacific Oceans. The fleet could cost as much as $30 billion.

The US admiral declared: “If you’re going to build a submarine force, you can take years to figure out how to make that cost effective and get what you need out of it… I would hope that as the Australians work through that, that they recognize and contemplate this.” The US ambassador in Canberra, Jeffrey Bleich, had stated in February that the US would be prepared to sell or lease Australia a fleet of American nuclear submarines to ensure that the Australian Navy had a war-fighting capability that Washington viewed as “crucial to security.” In May, however, the Labor government made no decision about how the new submarines would be financed. Instead, it deferred the acquisition for two years, pending another review of possible options. It also deferred for several years the purchase of some F-35 Joint Strike Fighters.

According to Australian media reports, Admiral Locklear’s criticisms of Australian military spending were repeated on July 17 during a Washington meeting between Duncan Lewis, the head of the Australian Defence Department, and his Pentagon counterparts. The issue was publicly canvassed the next day by Richard Armitage, an assistant secretary of state under the Bush administration and prominent strategic analyst.
Armitage bluntly told the annual Australian American Leadership Dialogue in Washington on July 18: “Australia’s defense budget is inadequate. It’s about Australia’s ability to work as an ally of the US. I would say you’ve got to look at 2 percent of GDP.” In an interview with the Australian, he said the Obama administration’s concentration of US military power in the Asia-Pacific “is not an opportunity for a free ride by anybody—not Japan, not Australia, or anybody else.”

In an indication of the White House’s involvement, the Australian observed: “Armitage is willing to say what is widely said off the record in Washington.”
Opposition Liberal leader Tony Abbott, in Washington for the Leadership Dialogue and to cultivate support for his party from the US establishment, endorsed these criticisms when addressing the right-wing think-tank, the Heritage Foundation. Abbott condemned Labor’s spending cuts, which reduced defence from 1.8 percent of GDP in last year’s budget to 1.56 percent, saying this was the lowest level since 1938. “That is quite a concern,” he declared, “as we do not live in a benign environment, we do not live in benign times.”
Several Australian commentators echoed US demands last weekend endorsing the call for the military budget to be increased to at least 2 percent of GDP. That figure would amount to more than $30 billion a year or $6 billion more than the current allocation.

Sydney Morning Herald political editor Peter Hartcher, focused on increased Chinese military spending and growing tensions over the conflicting territorial claims between China and other states in the South China and East China Seas. “It is a time of rising risk of war, even if only by accident,” he wrote.
Australian foreign editor Greg Sheridan wrote that Washington had interpreted the Australian budget cuts as “an ominous erosion of capacity in the US alliance system within Asia” in conditions where regional tensions could lead to conflict.
Right-wing pundit Piers Akerman declared in the Sunday Telegraph: “The US is saying bluntly that Australia is not pulling its weight on defense and that the implications of letting down the side in this manner are enormous and long-ranging.”
The US intervention over the Australian defense budget demonstrates that Washington’s confrontational stance against China, embraced by the Gillard government, necessarily means a stepped-up assault on the social and democratic rights of the working class, as well as the danger of a catastrophic war.
Amid the worsening global economic crisis, greater military spending can be paid for only by drastic austerity cutbacks to social programs and infrastructure, particularly in health care, education and welfare. If Gillard baulks, the next intervention from Washington may well be behind-the-scenes support for ousting her as prime minister.

Source: WSWS

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Monday, July 23, 2012

X-Post: KUAM-Carter: Guam Central to Asia-Pacific Strategy.

by Sabrina Salas Matanane

By Karen Parrish
American Forces Press Service


 Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter said after his meetings with Guamanian and military leaders over the past two days, he is more convinced than ever that Guam has a central role to play in the strategic rebalance to the Asia-Pacific region.
The deputy secretary left Guam today en route to Japan, the next stop on his 10-day Asia-Pacific tour that will continue with visits to Thailand, India and South Korea. "The insights I was able to gather during this visit [to Guam] reinforce the department's optimism that our plan is achievable and in line with our strategic priority of maintaining security and stability in the Asia-Pacific region," Carter said.

A senior defense official traveling with the deputy secretary told American Forces Press Service on background that during the Guam visit Carter wanted to convey to Guamanian leaders his optimism that the planned Marine Corps relocation from Okinawa "is in a much better place than it was even six months ago."
The processes involved in implementing the plan, including coordination with the Japanese government and Congressional authorization, "all seem to be coming together," the official said.

Carter discussed a number of issues with Guamanian leaders including Governor Eddie Baza Calvo and Congresswoman Madeleine Bordallo. During those meetings, the official said, Carter spoke about the steps involved in the planned Marine Corps buildup on Guam.

Current plans call for moving roughly 4,800 Marines to the island, rather than the 8,000 originally projected, the official noted. About two-thirds of those who relocate to Guam will do so on a rotational basis, which means a smaller permanent-party presence and thus a smaller number of accompanying family members than earlier planned, he explained. A smaller Marine presence means less military construction of community-support facilities such as schools and childcare centers will be needed on Guam, the official said.

The Marines will need land for cantonment, housing and training sites, including live-fire weapons training, the official said. Previous environmental impact studies have determined enough federally-owned land and undeveloped acreage is available on Guam to support training, housing and headquarters requirements, he added. "The reason we have to do a supplemental environmental impact study, kind of counter-intuitively, is that because the footprint will be smaller, some areas that were not looked at with the bigger footprint have to be studied to see if they are possible," the official said.

Carter took a helicopter tour of possible sites today. The official said defense leaders are working now to place Marine Corps facilities where they will cause the least possible inconvenience to the island's residents.
"We don't want to set up a situation where Marine cantonment is on the far end of the island, with the live-fire training on the opposite end of the island, therefore creating a lot of additional traffic on the local roads," he added.

Sites for air combat element operations, waterfront operations, and non-live-fire training have already been identified in previous studies and won't change, the official noted. "The Marine aviation element is going to go on the north ramp at Andersen [Air Force Base], the waterfront operations will be at Apra Harbor [Naval Station], and Andersen south will be used for non-live-fire training," he said.

"[Carter] also made the point that the Marine Corps buildup is only part of the story for the military on Guam," the official said. "We have significant activities at Andersen Air Force Base and Apra Harbor [Naval Base] that also demonstrate the strategic nature of Guam."

Guam is the westernmost part of the United States and also part of Asia, the official noted. "[There is] a special strategic meaning to having American territory out here in Asia," he added. The official said that during meetings with Carter, Calvo and Bordallo raised topics including visa-waiver approval for Chinese tourists and National Guard funding.

The governor also expressed concern about the impact the Marine Corps relocation will have on Guam's infrastructure, the official said. "He made the point that the people of Guam are strongly supportive of this move," the official added. "They're patriotic Americans, but they are concerned that their infrastructure deficiencies are also addressed as part of this realignment."

The governor specifically mentioned fresh water, waste water, and power supply and distribution as sensitive areas in the island's infrastructure, the official said. He added that Calvo also noted positive developments in port improvements and defense access roads, both of which are largely federally funded.
In response to the governor's concerns, the official said, Carter explained additional environmental studies are planned to determine what effect a smaller Marine force will have on the island, and what new sites for relocation might support the decreased "footprint" required to support those Marines. Those studies will "delay significant construction for a couple of years," the official said.

The deputy secretary's visit demonstrates U.S. leaders' determination to develop strategic rhetoric into reality here in the Pacific, the official said. "He's here not only to convey that message, but to hear from the people out here, throughout his trip, on what the rebalance means to them, and make sure we do it right," the official added. Carter also met with U.S. military leaders on Guam during his visit, the official said, and listened to their concerns relating to the strategy shift.

Navy Rear Adm. Paul Bushong, Air Force Brig. Gen. Steve Garland, and other Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force leaders stationed on Guam shared their perspectives on service priorities there with the deputy secretary, the official said.

Source: KUAM

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Saturday, July 14, 2012

South America: Pacific Orientation or Destabililzation?

 LaRouchePAC video analysis of the Pacific geopolitics orientation and South America, currently unfolding . Posted date: July 6th 2012.

Video (posted below)content description:

A clear line has been drawn between the Transatlantic nations that seek to hold on to their bankrupt system, and the pro-development Pacific oriented nations that seek genuine progress. Russia and China have recently begun allying with kindred interests in South America to seek new development agreements.

Original Source: http://larouchepac.com/node/23303

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Friday, July 13, 2012

X-Post: Islands Business- China’s Clever Game In The Pacific

"China has played its game in the Pacific cleverly. It has employed what is termed as ‘soft power’ 
to win influence. It has extended the hand of unconditional friendship and one cannot say there has 
been coercion or threatens of any sort. That is one of the reasons why its influence has grown so rapidly 
over such sweeping swathes of the Pacific under the radar as it were."

That the Pacific islands region will be the theater of action in the next big global race for geopolitical hegemony is not a question of if as much as it is of when. And that when may be soon. Once it breaks out, the race could stay a cold war for a long time with all sorts of posturing from all parties, or it could escalate into a full blown battle. No matter how it finally turns out, the next big theatre for the big powers’ global machinations will be the Pacific and its epicenter could well be Fiji’s capital, Suva. 

At the turn of the millennium, this twenty first century was touted as the Century of Asia/Pacific. The promise was great: the Pacific Rim countries’ confidence brimmed, powered by their blitzing growth rates; the Asian tigers were on a roll; and the Pacific islands were redrawing the extent of their sovereign oceanic territories as new mineral discoveries were being made on land and the seabed. 

The first decade of this century saw sustained forays by the Asian giants into the Pacific islands region, establishing new outposts in tiny islands nations, helping build infrastructure and doling out loans and grants with a firm eye on the vast natural resources that the islands are thought to possess. All this happened as the Pacific islands’ traditional western world partners were progressively downsizing their long-held commitments to the islands.

Throughout the first decade of this century, China had a fairly open run of the Pacific Oceanic region. It upped its financial assistance and infrastructure building programmes around the region in schemes and arrangements that were different from the ones Pacific islands governments were used to when such assistance came from Western friends.

Pacific islands leaders spoke approvingly of China’s ‘no strings attached’ approach to aid, in marked contrast to the West’s more structured and highly conditions-based manner of dealing with assistance programmes. This was enticement enough for most Pacific islands countries to happily get into bed with China for several ‘development’ initiatives in return for poorly documented (at least in the media) concessions in tapping natural resources and fisheries.

Islands Business

" China has played its game in the Pacific cleverly. It has employed what is commonly termed as ‘soft power’ to win influence. It has extended the hand of unconditional friendship and one cannot say there has been coercion or threats of any sort. That is one of the reasons why its influence has grown so rapidly over such sweeping swathes of the Pacific—under the radar as it were. Meanwhile, the United States was busy with its endless war mongering in the Middle East for the better part of the past two decades[...]

China rebuilt its embassy into a bigger facility in Fiji, the US decided to follow suit almost immediately. Both countries realise the strategic, geopolitical importance of Fiji, just as colonial powers in bygone eras had. "

Simultaneously, political developments like those in Fiji forced the leadership to evolve strategies like Fiji’s ‘Look North’ policy where almost every new realm of economic and developmental activity became closely aligned to China, Korea and several other countries of the Pacific Rim, gaining precedence over traditional ties to Australia and New Zealand.
China has played its game in the Pacific cleverly. It has employed what is commonly termed as ‘soft power’ to win influence. It has extended the hand of unconditional friendship and one cannot say there has been coercion or threats of any sort. That is one of the reasons why its influence has grown so rapidly over such sweeping swathes of the Pacific—under the radar as it were.

Meanwhile, the United States was busy with its endless war mongering in the Middle East for the better part of the past two decades and all but ignored China’s growing influence in the Pacific islands region. As if awoken suddenly from a deep slumber, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made a knee jerk statement during one of her Pacific whistle stop tours a few years ago that the US would not “cede” territory to anybody—obviously implying it wouldn’t take China’s machinations in the region lying down.

As the world now progresses towards the middle of this century’s second decade, it is becoming increasingly apparent that this is the Century of the Asia/Pacific for many more reasons than those that were touted at the turn of the millennium. And some of these reasons are undoubtedly a cause for worry—not just for the region but also for the world.
China has already begun protesting against the US planned joint exercises in the Pacific this year that involves some 22 nations including several of the Pacific Rim, including Australia and New Zealand and even distant powers like Russia. China has pointedly been excluded from these exercises that will include a range of nuclear submarines besides other sophisticated naval hardware and armaments.

China is also dealing with a number of more regional geopolitical and territorial problems— particularly the one involving the Philippines in the South China Sea. The Philippines has a strong US connection for historical reasons. This is one instance of how these local problems have the potential to polarise the region across the two superpowers vying for the region’s favours.

The joint naval exercises are obviously a bold and firm statement directed at China that the US wants to make—that it is well and truly means business in the region. In including the 22 nations in its exercises including South Korea and Japan, it has thumbed its nose at the Asian superpower. In fact, the US started this sort of posturing when it rebuilt its embassy in Fiji’s capital, Suva.

In ages gone by, kings and emperors announced their hegemony by building towers and monuments on the territories they conquered. In modern times, countries can’t conquer and can’t build towers and monuments. Instead, they build embassies in the countries they want to win favour from to help them expand their influence. So when China rebuilt its embassy into a bigger facility in Fiji, the US decided to follow suit almost immediately.

Both countries realise the strategic, geopolitical importance of Fiji, just as colonial powers in bygone eras had. In any aggression that takes place in the Pacific Ocean in the near future, Fiji will undoubtedly be catapulted into the centre stage because of this. 

What has begun as benign posturing could quite easily escalate into a cold war but could a cold war result in a full-blown conflict? Consider this: the arms industry is the engine of the US economy. With action in the Middle East all but over, there are few places left for war mongering.
The Pacific Ocean is an extremely suitable candidate to kick-start the arms industry and pull the country out of the recession. The development of a whole new suite of weapons suited for vast stretches of ocean would be a challenge worth pursuing and investing in. And thanks to the sparseness of the population, collateral damage would be negligible.  

Fanciful though this may sound, the possibility can scarcely be discounted. Unfortunately for the Pacific islands and their citizens, they have already been reduced to pawns. Geopolitics may well grow to be a more pressing worry than the ravages of climate change.

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Thursday, July 12, 2012

X-Post: WSWS- Voting period extended in Papua New Guinea election

By Mike Head
10 July 2012
Anational election called by the unconstitutional, Australian-supported government in Papua New Guinea has become a shambles, forcing an unscheduled third week of polling in seven provinces. Voting in the Eastern Highlands province will now end on July 17—11 days after the original July 6 national deadline.
Logistical breakdowns, combined with allegations of violence, corruption, vote-buying, ballot box-stuffing and the exclusion of enrolled citizens from voting, have thrown the elections into disarray. An extension of time was granted by Governor-General Sir Michael Ogio on the advice of Electoral Commissioner Andrew Trawen.

The disruptions have cast doubt on the hopes of de facto Prime Minister Peter O’Neill, and his backers in Canberra and Washington, that the elections would end months of political instability, and provide a veneer of legitimacy to his administration.
Because of the mountainous terrain and lack of infrastructure across the country, the elections were intended to last a fortnight, ending last Friday. The delay in balloting will push back the counting of votes and then the negotiations between the various parties to form a new government, which are not expected to be concluded until next month.

Infighting within O’Neill’s shaky parliamentary coalition has also worsened, with his deputy prime minister, Belden Namah, accusing O’Neill of orchestrating a “disaster” by reversing the government’s earlier decision to postpone the elections by six months. In April, O’Neill had pushed legislation through parliament to authorise a delay, but did an about-face when threatened with sanctions by Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr. Protests led by university students against an election postponement also placed the de facto prime minister under pressure.
On June 28 Namah issued a press release denouncing O’Neill for bowing to the advice of Australian “advisers” to go ahead with the poll, despite the electoral rolls not being ready. Namah claimed that thousands of people had been deprived of voting rights. He issued a populist appeal to the public resentment against interference by Australia, the former colonial power that ruled Papua New Guinea (PNG) until 1975. “We must be patriotic and nationalistic in our approach towards decision making for the future of our country,” he declared.

Supporters of Michael Somare, whom O’Neill ousted as prime minister last August, have questioned the legitimacy of the elections. Somare’s son Arthur, a sitting member of parliament, said the delayed voting would be influenced by the results declared in the 11 provinces where balloting had finished. Michael Somare fuelled political tensions by telling Australia’s SBS media network that he would win the election and ensure that O’Neill “will go to jail”.
The country’s small political establishment is splintered into 46 so-called parties—many based on local businessmen who have benefited as a result of huge mining operations. In the largest project, US transnational Exxon-Mobil, along with its Australian-based partners, has committed $16 billion to develop natural gas fields in the southern Highlands, with production due to commence in 2014.

A record 3,435 candidates are vying for 89 local and 22 provincial seats. The election has been dominated by “money politics”—the purchasing of votes by wealthy power brokers, or by disbursements from parliamentarians’ electoral allowances. According to media reports, it is not uncommon for businessmen in the western and southern highlands to fork out 1 million kina ($US480,000) on campaigns—subsidising sporting teams and other groups, buying pigs for feasts and financing campaign teams.
The conflicts over the election threaten to deepen a political crisis that began with O’Neill’s removal of Somare, which the country’s Supreme Court declared unconstitutional last December. The court reaffirmed that ruling in May, ordering O’Neill to step down. Instead, O’Neill unlawfully reconvened parliament, purporting to nullify the ruling, even though the assembly had already been prorogued for the national elections.

The turmoil is a striking example of the tensions being generated throughout the Asia-Pacific region by the aggressive drive of the Obama administration to combat China’s growing influence. Washington and Canberra welcomed Somare’s ouster because the longstanding prime minister had developed closer relations with Beijing, and encouraged Chinese investment in major mining ventures.
The US plainly expects Australia to ensure that Chinese influence is pushed back in PNG. The United States was “in a competition with China” in PNG, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton stated publicly in March 2011. She referred specifically to the importance of the US investment in the Exxon-Mobil project.

Canberra has devoted considerable resources to staging an election that can lend credibility to O’Neill. About 250 military personnel from Australia and New Zealand, together with 22 members of the newly created Australian Civilian Corps, have been deployed. Among other tasks, they have transported more than 1,000 PNG soldiers and police officers to the highlands on the pretext of providing security for the voting.
The Australian High Commissioner to PNG, Ian Kemish, told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation that it was an unprecedented amount of assistance. After the “pretty turbulent political period over the course of the last year,” he said, it was “very important” for PNG to “move on into new political territory where there’s more clarity and more stability.”

Last week, Australian Financial Review defence columnist Geoffrey Barker, a visiting fellow at the Australian National University’s Strategic and Defence Studies Centre, wrote that Australia had to arrest PNG’s “plunging trajectory towards state failure”. He advocated providing Australian civilian and military officials to “assist in running struggling departments,” and expanding project aid “to match efforts being made by China to gain a toehold in PNG.”

Barker also suggested that it may be necessary to launch an army and police intervention along the lines of the Australian-led RAMSI occupation of Solomon Islands in 2003. That was a colonial-style takeover of the key levers of power in the small South Pacific state, designed to reinforce Australian hegemony in the region. Barker said such an operation would be criticised by some PNG leaders as “imperialist and neo-colonial”, but “Australia is entitled to protect its citizens, its security and commercial interests in PNG.”
This blatant assertion of Australian interests is another sign of preparations for intense conflicts, military and civil, in the Asia-Pacific region. Last month, the Australian reported that military strategists had drawn up detailed plans for the invasion of PNG, as well as Fiji, as part of the Labor government’s 2009 Defence White Paper.

After the Australian report appeared, the Lowy Institute lamented the fact that the article had “further damaged Australia’s legitimacy to influence PNG political elites and eroded public support among locals for greater Australian intervention.” Nevertheless, the institute insisted that indications of “the most violent and corrupt elections in the nation’s 37-year post-independence history” made clear that “Australia and other friends of PNG” needed to act.
A RAMSI-style intervention in PNG, a far larger country than Solomon Islands, with a population nearing seven million, would require substantial US support, even more than was the case during the 1999 Australian-led military occupation of East Timor. The Obama administration’s rotation of 2,500 US Marines per year through Darwin by 2017 and associated aerial and logistical support could assist such an operation.
Whatever the eventual outcome of the PNG elections, plans are clearly being discussed in Canberra and Washington to assert their geo-strategic interests, notably against China, regardless of the wishes of PNG’s people.

The author also recommends:
Australian military plans for invasion of Fiji and PNG[12 June 2012]
Further political turmoil in Papua New Guinea
[2 June 2012]

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