Dangerous Crossroads: America Pressures ASEAN Bloc to Contain China
In the literary classic “Gulliver’s Travels,” the protagonist, Lemuel Gulliver, finds himself shipwrecked on an island of tiny people called, “Lilliputians.” While he slept, the Lilliputians used their tiny rope and stakes to tie Gulliver down. When he awoke, though many times larger than any one of the Lilliputians, he was immobilized and at their mercy.
Image: Lemuel Gulliver on the island of Lilliput, having been overtaken while asleep by ropes and stakes by the diminutive but numerous Lilliputians. Western corporate-financier interests envision organizing Southeast Asia into a supranational bloc, ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations), to use the smaller nations as a combined front to “tie down” China in a similar manner. Unlike in the story “Gulliver’s Travels,” China may well break free of its binds and stomp the Lilliputian leaders flat for their belligerence.
This analogy is important because it represents the precise example used by Wall Street-London corporate-financier interests in producing policy for the containment of China. In 1997, a very different world from today, where the idea of a multipolar world order uprooting Anglo-American hegemony was still a fanciful notion, Western policy makers literally used this analogy to describe their strategy of encircling and containing China.
Containment of China Has Been US Policy for Decades.
Corporate-financier subsidized policy scribe, Robert Kagan, is a notorious warmonger and so-called “Neo-Conservative,” a signatory to many of the West’s most recent crimes against humanity, including the deceitful invasion and occupation of Iraq based on lies regarding “weapons of mass destruction,” the deceitful invasion and overthrowing of the Libyan government based on lies regarding the “responsibility to protect” (R2P), and the most insidious plot to-date, the premeditated organizing and arming of sectarian extremists aligned with Al Qaeda to violently overthrow Syria, paving the way for war with Iran.
In 1997, Kagan penned, “What China Knows That We Don’t: The Case for a New Strategy of Containment,” which spells out the policy Wall Street and London were already in the process of implementing even then, albeit in a somewhat more nebulous manner. In his essay, Kagan literally states (emphasis added):
The present world order serves the needs of the United States and its allies, which constructed it. And it is poorly suited to the needs of a Chinese dictatorship trying to maintain power at home and increase its clout abroad. Chinese leaders chafe at the constraints on them and worry that they must change the rules of the international system before the international system changes them.
Here, Kagan openly admits that the “world order,” or the “international order,” is simply American-run global hegemony, dictated by US interests. These interests, it should be kept in mind, are not those of the American people, but of the immense corporate-financier interests of the Anglo-American establishment. Kagan continues (emphasis added):
In truth, the debate over whether we should or should not contain China is a bit silly. We are already containing China — not always consciously and not entirely successfully, but enough to annoy Chinese leaders and be an obstacle to their ambitions. When the Chinese used military maneuvers and ballistic-missile tests last March to intimidate Taiwanese voters, the United States responded by sending the Seventh Fleet. By this show of force, the U.S. demonstrated to Taiwan, Japan, and the rest of our Asian allies that our role as their defender in the region had not diminished as much as they might have feared. Thus, in response to a single Chinese exercise of muscle, the links of containment became visible and were tightened.
The new China hands insist that the United States needs to explain to the Chinese that its goal is merely, as [Robert] Zoellick writes, to avoid “the domination of East Asia by any power or group of powers hostile to the United States.” Our treaties with Japan, South Korea, the Philippines, Thailand, and Australia, and our naval and military forces in the region, aim only at regional stability, not aggressive encirclement.
But the Chinese understand U.S. interests perfectly well, perhaps better than we do. While they welcome the U.S. presence as a check on Japan, the nation they fear most, they can see clearly that America’s military and diplomatic efforts in the region severely limit their own ability to become the region’s hegemon. According to Thomas J. Christensen, who spent several months interviewing Chinese military and civilian government analysts, Chinese leaders worry that they will “play Gulliver to Southeast Asia’s Lilliputians, with the United States supplying the rope and stakes.”
Indeed, the United States blocks Chinese ambitions merely by supporting what we like to call “international norms” of behavior. Christensen points out that Chinese strategic thinkers consider “complaints about China’s violations of international norms” to be part of “an integrated Western strategy, led by Washington, to prevent China from becoming a great power.
What Kagan is talking about is maintaining American preeminence across all of Asia and producing a strategy of tension to divide and limit the power of any single player vis-a-vis Wall Street and London’s hegemony. Kagan would continue (emphasis added):
The changes in the external and internal behavior of the Soviet Union in the late 1980s resulted at least in part from an American strategy that might be called “integration through containment and pressure for change.”
Such a strategy needs to be applied to China today. As long as China maintains its present form of government, it cannot be peacefully integrated into the international order. For China’s current leaders, it is too risky to play by our rules — yet our unwillingness to force them to play by our rules is too risky for the health of the international order. The United States cannot and should not be willing to upset the international order in the mistaken belief that accommodation is the best way to avoid a confrontation with China.
We should hold the line instead and work for political change in Beijing. That means strengthening our military capabilities in the region, improving our security ties with friends and allies, and making clear that we will respond, with force if necessary, when China uses military intimidation or aggression to achieve its regional ambitions. It also means not trading with the Chinese military or doing business with firms the military owns or operates. And it means imposing stiff sanctions when we catch China engaging in nuclear proliferation.
A successful containment strategy will require increasing, not decreasing, our overall defense capabilities. Eyre Crowe warned in 1907 that “the more we talk of the necessity of economising on our armaments, the more firmly will the Germans believe that we are tiring of the struggle, and that they will win by going on.” Today, the perception of our military decline is already shaping Chinese calculations. In 1992, an internal Chinese government document said that America’s “strength is in relative decline and that there are limits to what it can do.” This perception needs to be dispelled as quickly as possible.
Clearly, however, this “perception” of US military decline has only been heightened as the Wall Street-London financier model of “economic growth” has been revealed as an untenable global Ponzi scheme versus the Chinese model of industrial production and infrastructure expansion. The military might required to contain China is also politically and economically unjustifiable, and increasingly so.
It appears possible at least, that US policy makers committed to a losing strategy based on inaccurate interpretations and projections regarding the collapse of the Soviet Union and its comparison to the Chinese. US policy makers have led the populations of Western civilization down a dead-end in pursuit of global hegemony instead of one of economic and technological progress.
The West is Now Militarily Confronting China (and Russia).
In hindsight, we see that the West has indeed applied a double game vis-a-vis China, using a combination of geopolitical-socioeconomic incentives and lures to win over Chinese corporate-financier interests -to provide them with an attractive stake in the Anglo-American “international order” while simultaneously creating a geopolitical landscape across both Asia and the world to prevent China from cultivating its own interests independent of Wall Street and London.
The hope is to undermine nationalist elements in China, while promoting and cultivating suitable proxies eager to merge China into a Wall Street-London dominated global order.
This has manifested itself in direct political attacks based on “human rights” within China itself (and here), and in the sweeping devastation of the Arab World via the US-engineered “Arab Spring.” What it has effectively done is overturn and threatened both Chinese and Russian interests across Africa, the Middle East and into Central Asia. During the early stages of the Arab Spring, where Russian and Chinese investments were literally being destroyed by US-proxy forces, hubris in Washington revealed that Western policy makers intended to drive the political instability all the way to Moscow and Beijing’s doorsteps.
Image: From the Strategic Studies Institute’s 2006 “String of Pearls” report detailing a strategy of containment for China, the evolution of Kagan’s 1997 paper.
US Senator John McCain, chairman of the International Republican Institute which played a pivotal role in organizing the so-called “spontaneous” “Arab Spring,” said in 2011 of the unrest his IRI had helped fund in Egypt, “I would be a little less cocky in the Kremlin with my KGB cronies today if I were Vladimir Putin. I would be a little less secure in the seaside resort [of] President Hu and a few men who govern and decide the fate of 1.3 billion people.”
The West is already creating a united front against both Russia and China in the Middle East. The violence in Syria is aimed directly at Iran. A successful war against Iran would leave US proxies on Russia’s doorstep, and with US occupied Afghanistan beside it, form a front threatening both Pakistan and Western China where the US is already hard at work inciting Tibetan and Uyghur terrorists.
ASEAN is Poorly Dressed Recolonization.
But China is a vast nation, and this Afro-Eurasian front stretching from Africa to the Himalayas still isn’t big enough. In Southeast Asia, the West is attempting to create a European Union-style supranational bloc – the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Its proponents and leadership are notorious servants and affiliates of institutions synonymous with Western hegemony.
Image: The supranational ASEAN bloc consists of Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia, Brunei, Indonesia and the Philippines with a combined population of 600 million (as of 2010). The logo of bound rice padi stalks allegedly represents all of Southeast Asia “bound together in friendship and solidarity.” In reality, it represents Southeast Asia bound together for a Wall Street-London corporate-financier “harvest.” With English made the official “working language” of ASEAN, harking back to the age of British imperialism, and the US already tasking ASEAN to form a “united front” against China, it is clear whose interests it serves.
The current ASEAN secretary general for example, Surin Pitsuwan of Thailand, leads current efforts to implement the Asian Economic Community (AEC) 2015 blueprint. Pitsuwan sits as a Member of the Board of Trustees of the globalist Asian Foundation, funded by amongst many others, Boeing, Chevron, The Ford Foundation, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Halliburton, Raytheon Company, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. He joined the Rockefeller Foundation’s Board of Trustees in 2010. He also sat on the Council on Foreign Relations’ (CFR) International Advisory Board as of 2009, and even gave a talk before the CFR on May 14, 2008, regarding a “one unified Southeast Asia.”
The official language of ASEAN is English – bizarre since only one ASEAN member counts English as its official language – the minute city-state of Singapore which also counts Mandarin, Malay, and Tamil as official languages. Modern day Singapore is increasingly shifting demographically and linguistically toward Chinese, with English use a vestigial feature of British colonialism. The irony of consolidating Southeast Asia under a supranational English-speaking bloc extends to other former British holdings including Malaysia and Myanmar, both of whom fought hard to achieve relatively recent independence.
The Asian Economic Community (AEC) being pushed for implementation by 2015 mirrors other supranational, Wall Street-London dominated free trade blocs and monetary unions, including the European Union, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFA), and the upcoming US-led Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) with which the AEC will mesh.
Military cooperation is defined under the ASEAN Security Community “plan of action.” It is designed to incrementally integrate the foreign policy of ASEAN members. Since ASEAN is dominated by leadership entwined with Western hegemonic interests, ASEAN’s collective foreign policy will be thus aligned with that of the West, enforcing its corporate-financier as well as geopolitical agenda. Already, the US is employing a strategy of tension to mobilize ASEAN to do its bidding.
Hillary Clinton Test Drives ASEAN as Vehicle of US Foreign Policy.
Geopolitical shake ups, although less chaotic than the US-engineered “Arab Spring” have also recently unfolded in Southeast Asia. While US State Department trained and funded mobs cluttered the streets of Egypt and Tunisia, and terrorists rampaged through Libya and Syria, US State Department-funded opposition groups staged protests in Malaysia, Bangkok, and Myanmar. US proxies, including Thailand’s Thaksin Shinawatra and Myanmar’s Aung San Suu Kyi have made political resurgences while the US’ Anwar Ibrahim of Malaysia is positioning himself for upcoming elections with the US-funded Bersih street movement.
“As the war in Iraq winds down and America begins to withdraw its forces from Afghanistan, the United States stands at a pivot point. Over the last 10 years, we have allocated immense resources to those two theaters. In the next 10 years, we need to be smart and systematic about where we invest time and energy, so that we put ourselves in the best position to sustain our leadership, secure our interests, and advance our values. One of the most important tasks of American statecraft over the next decade will therefore be to lock in a substantially increased investment — diplomatic, economic, strategic, and otherwise — in the Asia-Pacific region.”
It would continue by stating:
“Harnessing Asia’s growth and dynamism is central to American economic and strategic interests and a key priority for President Obama. Open markets in Asia provide the United States with unprecedented opportunities for investment, trade, and access to cutting-edge technology. Our economic recovery at home will depend on exports and the ability of American firms to tap into the vast and growing consumer base of Asia. Strategically, maintaining peace and security across the Asia-Pacific is increasingly crucial to global progress, whether through defending freedom of navigation in the South China Sea, countering the proliferation efforts of North Korea, or ensuring transparency in the military activities of the region’s key players.”
Clearly, by “open markets” and American firms’ ability to “tap into the vast and growing consumer base of Asia,” we see an overt declaration of intent for Wall Street and London’s corporate-financier interests to overrun and dominate Asian markets with the same monopolies they have pillaged and exploited their own populations with – to devastating socioeconomic consequences.
As we update our alliances for new demands, we are also building new partnerships to help solve shared problems. Our outreach to China, India, Indonesia, Singapore, New Zealand, Malaysia, Mongolia, Vietnam, Brunei, and the Pacific Island countries is all part of a broader effort to ensure a more comprehensive approach to American strategy and engagement in the region. We are asking these emerging partners to join us in shaping and participating in a rules-based regional and global order.
Mention of a”global order” harks back to Kagan’s 1997 piece and is a theme that pervades all Western corporate-financier driven policy papers (and consequently actual policy). In fact, Clinton’s entire tirade is merely Kagan’s policy paper, updated and repackaged for public consumption, touching on each and every facade Kagan had suggested the US use to lure the Chinese into Western ambitions to encircle and contain its growth while maintaining US global preeminence.
The predication the US is using to not only reassert itself in Asia Pacific, but to both create and dominate the agenda of ASEAN was alluded to as well:
To pave the way, the United States has opened a new U.S. Mission to ASEAN in Jakarta and signed the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation with ASEAN. Our focus on developing a more results-oriented agenda has been instrumental in efforts to address disputes in the South China Sea. In 2010, at the ASEAN Regional Forum in Hanoi, the United States helped shape a regionwide effort to protect unfettered access to and passage through the South China Sea, and to uphold the key international rules for defining territorial claims in the South China Sea’s waters.
The US is openly encouraging confrontation with China over disputes in the South China Sea. These disputes will be expanded to economic and eventually geopolitical issues. As US proxy-regimes claw their way into power across Southeast Asia, this confrontation will become more pronounced.
The Washington Post has recently reported in their article, ” Clinton to press for ASEAN unity in South China Sea disputes with Chinese,” that, “U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton called Monday for Southeast Asian states to present a united front to the Chinese in dealing with territorial disputes in the South China Sea to “literally calm the waters.”
Clearly, this is just the first step in creating a much wider and more permanent “united front,” just as the US is doing in the Middle East regarding Iran, and eventually Russia and China directly.
Throwing A Wrench Into the Cogs of Imperialism.
The morbid machinations of Wall Street and London are driven by and for their collective corporate-financier interests. These are corporations, institutions, and services we use (globally) on a daily basis. For Americans and Asians alike, recognizing that our daily patronage of seemingly benign corporations like Unilever, Pepsi, and Coca-Cola is in fact the engine driving global conflict and wars of hegemony, is the best first step. Effectively boycotting and replacing them with local alternatives is the next step.
By boycotting and replacing these corporate-financier interests with local alternatives, specifically with a model of local and national self-sufficiency, we not only hem in the global-spanning machinations of megalomaniacs, we also shift the balance of power back into our own hands. Because freedom cannot exist when individuals, communities, even entire provinces and nations are dependent on multinational corporations and institutions. Economics, policy, and progress both technological and social must be organized and driven from the grassroots up, not the other way around.
Organizations like ASEAN are created to enhance and further empower the collective corporate-financier interests that are represented throughout its leadership and by the sponsors of its various arms and initiatives. These benefit special interests at the cost of the vast majority of the population – as clearly demonstrated by the European Union as it finally reveals its true purpose – consolidating the wealth of nations for economic exploitation and plundering.
Image: Greek riots unfold as the European Union’s economy collapses and austerity measures are imposed on vast swaths of the population to bail out corporate-financier interests – the very ones behind the reckless “globalization,” economic and monetary interdependencies that made the plundering and destruction of Europe’s economies possible in the first place. It is painfully obvious that the ASEAN union will unfold in a similar manner with the exact same Western corporate-financier interests behind its creation, and already plotting to plunder the collective economies of Southeast Asia while proxy-regimes bleed national treasuries dry in pursuit of Western foreign policy objectives.
Through reckless systems of interdependence, Europeans had been led into regional economic collapse. Had each nation been building up a sustainable, self-reliant, full-set economy with trade as a supplement rather than an imperative, the economic woes of one nation would be effectively isolated from the next.
Southeast Asians should be asking themselves who will be the first “Greece” or “Iceland” amongst ASEAN should the same economic, monetary, and political interdependencies be foisted upon them – victims of financial speculators brought in under the auspices of “free trade” seeking new marks for their global Ponzi scheme, uninhibited by national borders and protectionist measures.
As individuals we can pursue models of local and national full-set, self-reliant economics that trade only to supplement our prosperity. We can do this by voting with our wallets for local businesses, becoming entrepreneurs ourselves, and supporting local and national leaders who promote localism and the primacy of the nation-state.
To proceed with the development of ASEAN and the 2015 Asian Economic Community in the face of an unraveling West – Asia prevailing solely because it has not yet implemented the vast economic and political unions and interdependencies the West has – will be looked back at by future generations as supreme folly.