Friday, August 22, 2014

ASEAN Says No to U.S. War, Austerity -- Yes to Joint Development with China

14 Feature EIR August 22, 2014
Aug. 18—President Obama sent
Secretary of State John Kerry to
the annual meeting of the ASEAN
Regional Forum (ARF) in Myanmar
Aug. 8-10, with the intention
of using America’s assumed role
as “the only superpower” to
impose a resolution upon the Assocciation
of Southeast Asian Nations
(ASEAN), demanding a
moratorium on all “provocative”
activities, especially development
projects, in the South China Sea.
The Obama Administration uses
the euphemism “preventive diplomacy”
as a means of insisting that
“no development” is the only basis
for “peace” in the region.
Kerry counted on the subservience
of the Philippines government
as his key ally against China
at the ARF meeting. Obama-clone
Philippines President Noynoy
Aquino has essentially turned his
nation into a massive U.S. military
base in preparation for a war on
China. Explicit wording in the Constitution forbidding
foreign military bases on Philippine soil have been ignored.
Kerry received quite a shock, however, at the ARF
meeting. This is not the same world of even a few
months ago, since the BRICS meeting in Brazil in mid-
July declared to the world that the majority of the
world’s nations—led by China, Russia, and India—
were establishing an alternative source of credit and development
cooperation to the London-Wall Street controlled
IMF and World Bank—emphatically not
including the political, financial, and green “conditionalities”
always associated with IMF and World Bank
The U.S. demand for an anti-
China resolution was rejected out
of hand, and even the Philippines
had to restrain itself. ASEAN
(Thailand, Malaysia, Philippines,
Indonesia, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia,
Myanmar, Singapore, and
Brunei) refused to even consider
Kerry’s proposed language for a
freeze on what he called “provocative
actions” in the South China
Sea. It was clear to all that by “provocative
actions” Kerry was referring
to China’s drilling for oil and
building facilities on islands which
China considers part of its sovereign
territory, but are contested by
others in the ASEAN group.
China’s Foreign Minister
Wang Yi underlined China’s willingness
to resolve disputes through
bilateral negotiations with the
countries involved, along the lines
of the Declaration of Conduct already
established in the region.
China has totally rejected demands
from Obama to accept the Philippines appeal to an international
tribunal under the UN Convention on the
Law of the Sea (which, ironically, the U.S. has refused
to sign due to the inherent loss of sovereignty it involves!)
to adjudicate the contested islands. While
China does not say so publicly, it recognizes that such
“impartial” international adjudication is not impartial
at all, but dominated by the Anglo-American imperial
Chinese President Xi Jinping has insisted that China
is committed to “shelving disputes and carrying out
joint development” in the contested areas, to achieve
“peaceful development” for mutual benefit, leaving territorial
issues to another time. One of the leading Phil-
ASEAN Says No to U.S. War, Austerity,
Yes to Joint Development with China
by Mike Billington
China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi, speaking
at the ASEAN forum, underlined China’s
willingness to resolve disputes in the South
China Sea, through bilateral negotiations
with the countries involved.
August 22, 2014 EIR Feature 15
ippine negotiators with China,
Henry Bensurto, speaking at a
conference in Washington on
July 10, admitted that his Chinese
counterpart repeatedly offered
joint development, but
Bensurto ridiculed the idea as
Development Cooperation
Despite Obama’s effort to
isolate China, the ASEAN
forum achieved quite the opposite
result, i.e., an agreement
between the ASEAN nations
and China to deepen their strategic
partnership, including
emphatically cooperation on
President Xi’s policy of a New
Maritime Silk Road involving
the nine members of ASEAN
that border on in the South
China Sea and the Bay of
Bengal, and cooperation in the
development of the Mekong
River Basin. This is of special
importance, since the last halfcentury
of Western promises of
development of the Mekong
River region (which includes China, Myanmar, Laos,
Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam) have produced
almost nothing, sacrificed to British imperial “greenie”
demands about saving the primitive environment, and
preserving the backward conditions of the local population—
the “noble savage” mentality so beloved by the
British imperial lords. What China will do to unleash
the potential of the Mekong is yet to be seen, but it will
certainly be substantial, as are all of China’s infrastructure
China also called on all ten ASEAN nations to join
the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) as
founding members, an offer which Thailand and Singapore
have already accepted.
Thailand exemplifies the recognition across the
region that China’s emergence in the context of the
BRICS policies means that real economic transformation
of the Southeast Asian nations is finally possible.
Ironically, Thailand was subjected to a millitary coup in
May, after years of chaos created
by royalist mobs protesting
the development policies
of the governments of former
Prime Ministers Thaksin Shinawatra
and his sister Yingluck,
both of whom were
overthrown by the military in
the coups of 2006 and 2014.
However, despite expectations
to the contrary, the junta
under Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha
has firmly embraced the greatprojects
approach of the Shinawatra
governments, reviving
and pushing forward on the
massive water-control projects
being built by South Korea,
rice development projects and
subsidies for farmers and rural
villages, and with high-speed
rail projects in cooperation
with China.
It appears that General Prayuth
is taking the approach of
South Korea’s nation-builder,
Gen. Park Chung-hee, who
took power in a coup in 1961,
but won every subsequent
election until his assassination
in 1979, transforming South Korea from one of the
poorest, to one of the leading industrial nations on
The instability of the Thai economy during the extreme
royalist disruptions before the May coup had induced
China to reconsider support for high-speed rail
projects in both Laos and in Myanmar, since Thailand
is the hub and the core driver of development for its far
poorer neighbors. With Thailand now signing on to
full-scale development, it will almost certainly revive
the Chinese projects with its neighbors.
The Kra Canal
Most importantly, there is now a significant potential
for the Kra Canal project, long championed by
Lyndon LaRouche and EIR,1 to finally come to fruition.
1. See Meghan Rouillard and Asuka Saito, “Building the Kra Canal and
Southeast Asian Development,” EIR, Oct. 11, 2013.
Rail lines connecting China to Southeast Asia. The
broken black lines are existing rail lines; the yellow
are those planned for construction. China and
Thailand have now agreed to build high-speed lines
on the Bangkok to Vientiane line and the Bangkok to
Chiang Mai line.
Rail Plan for Southeast Asia
16 Feature EIR August 22, 2014
The proposed canal across the Isthmus of Kra would
both save shipping time and alleviate the severe congestion
in the Malacca Strait (as well as the strategic
danger that the Strait could be blockaded in a war
against China, cutting off crucial oil and other imports
to East Asia). The Canal, together with ports and development
zones on either end, would dramatically enhance
the cooperation of the nations of East Asia,
Southeast Asia, and the Indian Subcontinent in building
Asia as a whole to its full potential.
Thailand, with support from Japan,
the U.S., and others, was close to initiating
the Canal in the early 1980s, but the
process was sabotaged by a combination
of internal conflicts, opposition from the
British and Singapore, and the 1990s
“Asian Financial Crisis” induced by the
Western hedge funds.
Now, with Japan still interested, and
with China now both interested and capable
of providing substantial support,
the combination of the BRICS’s New Development
Bank, and China’s initiation
of the Asian Infrastructure Investment
Bank, with Thailand as a founding
member, the Kra Canal has become a
prime target for rapid development. The
fact that Nicaragua has proposed building
a second canal across the Isthmus of
Panama, with Chinese, Russian, and
Korean support, and Egypt has begun
construction of a second Suez Canal, to
be completed within one year, serves as a
powerful impetus for Thailand to proceed
with this great project.
Obama’s Intentions
Secretary Kerry exposed the Obama
Administration’s real intentions for Asia
in a speech at the East West Center in
Hawaii on Aug. 14, a few days after the
ARF meeting. Praising Asia’s economic
development (with no mention of China’s
crucial role in that development), Kerry
said that the U.S. policy was to “turn today’s
nationalism into economic growth”
through the U.S.-instigated Trans-Pacific
Partnership (TPP)—a free-trade pact intended
to force submission of member
nations to “free market” dogmas in exchange for (highly
“conditioned”) U.S. investment, while confronting
China and China’s policy of nationally directed credit,
and unconditional infrastructure investments abroad.
Kerry could not leave out the “climate change”
hoax, arguing that Asia must submit to primitive energy
policies, based on wind and solar power, rather than
follow the leadership of China, South Korea, Russia,
and others with nuclear power as a driver for real devel-
The Kra Canal in Thailand
(Artist’s concept)
EIRNS/Chris Sloan
The Kra Canal, together with ports and development zones, would dramatically
enhance the cooperation of the nations of East Asia, Southeast Asia, and the
Indian Subcontinent, in developing all of Asia to its full potential.
August 22, 2014 EIR Feature 17
opment. Kerry attempted to dismiss oil, coal, and nuclear
altogether as “19th- and 20th-Century solutions,”
ignoring completely the actual 21st-Century solution of
fusion power, championed today by China, through its
intention to eventually mine helium-3 from the Moon,
as an abundant source of fuel for the thermonucelar fusion-
driven economy of the future.
The British Empire’s Response
In the days following the rejection of the U.S. confrontation
policy toward China at the ARF meeting, the
Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in
Washington, D.C., on Aug. 11, published two articles
by “China scholars” from the diplomatic and defense
establishments in the U.S. and Australia, David Brown
and Carl Thayer, respectively, calling for military confrontation
with China, without consideration that this
could lead to thermonuclear war. The irony, of course,
is that while the Obama Administration is launching yet
another war on Iraq (without even pretending to follow
the constitutional requirement that only the Congress
can declare war), and pushing for a military confrontation
with Russia, these “scholars” are denouncing
China as an “aggressor” for pursuing development in
the South China Sea.
This followed on the heels of a forum at the same
thinktank on July 10, in which Rep. Mike Rogers (RMich.),
the head of the House Intelligence Committee,
demanded that the U.S. pursue deterrence by providing
Japan with state-of-the-art weaponry” to counter China’s
“aggression.” He ranted that “we must stop normal
diplomatic approaches, be more direct, more aggressive,
empower our friends—now is the time to confront
China’s gluttonous, naked aggression.”
Brown and Thayer expanded upon Rogers’ threat in
their CSIS articles. Brown, a 30-year U.S. foreign service
officer, proposed a “Counter to China’s Paramilitary
Juggernaut.” He claimed that the U.S. had mistakenly
“bought into the notion that China would be a
peacefully rising new superpower,” and that “it has
taken time for the scales to fall from our eyes.” He said
this supposed China threat “can be broken if the United
Stated leads a preemptive, cooperative counter to a Chinese
show of force.” He called for the U.S. to “organize
extended multinational cooperation exercises in the
waters between the Paracels and the Spratlys” (two of
the contested island groups in the South China Sea),
with the intention of preventing any Chinese activities
in the region, “simply by getting in the way.”
Australian strategist Carl Thayer (who notably
headed a “Regime Change Project” at Australian National
University in the 1990s), in a response to Brown’s
proposal, went further to argue that the U.S. must “create
circumstances where China would have to accept the
status quo or escalate.” He stated that the intention is to
“deter China,” positing that the U.S. must engage Japan,
Vietnam, and the Philippines to deploy naval forces in
the South China Sea, so that “this strategy puts the onus
on China to decide the risk of confronting mixed formations
of naval vessels and aircraft involving the United
States, Japan, the Philippines, and Vietnam.”
One of the loudest voices in Asia speaking for the
British view, Philip Bowring of the Asia Sentinel, was
furious over the resullts of the ASEAN meeting in Myanamar,
focusing his rage on Malaysia and Indonesia.
“Malaysia and Indonesia,” he wrote on Aug. 12, “seem
to imagine that the only thing that matters is staying in
the good books of China in order to attract investment,
trade and payoffs to venal politicians. . . . Apart from
Vietnam, and belatedly the Philippines, the Southeast
Asian littoral states follow policies which entirely fit
with Chinese ones. . . . But politicians in Jakarta and KL
[Kuala Lumpur] care little about the longer term, and
their diplomats love to believe their own meaningless
words about peace and regional cooperation.”
Indeed, to the British, discussion of “peace and regional
cooperation” are a casus belli.
Mustapa Muhamed, Malaysia’s Minister of International
Trade and Industry, told Xinhua on Aug. 12 precisely
why Malaysia views China as a close ally: “Forty
years ago, there was hardly any trade or investment between
the two countries,” he said. “But now China is
Malaysia’s biggest trading partner, while Malaysia is
China’s biggest trading partner in ASEAN.” He added
that the close relations extend to trade, culture, education,
and more, and that Malaysia was “looking to establish
closer ties in many areas.”
Recall that the operative Obama strategic policy in
Asia, the “Air-Sea Battle” doctrine, calls for a firststrike
assault on all Chinese defense capacities in the
case that, in the view of the U.S. President, China has
acted to deny American access to the sea lanes of the
South China Sea. It is easy to see how any confrontation
manufactured by these British imperial strategists
could be interpreted as “area-denial,” unleashing global
thermonuclear war.

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