Nov 28, 2011
For the first time since the end of the Vietnam War, the United States is increasing its military presence in Southeast Asia.
Against the backdrop of propaganda about China’s “expansion” plans, it was the U.S. that expanded – into Asia. President Obama announced long-term plans to deploy 2,500 troops in northern Australia. Last fall, he sent an aircraft carrier group to the Yellow Sea, just off the coast of China, for joint maneuvers with South Korea.
The U.S. ruling class is once again flexing its muscle halfway around the world – toward China and toward oil that China has a claim on.
The South China Sea, surrounded by China, the Philippines, Vietnam and Malaysia, has vast reserves of oil and natural gas beneath it – as much as 115 billion barrels, potentially. China, with its growing industry, has an especially great need for the oil there. China is also probably the only neighboring country that could have the means to explore there, and its coastline along the South China Sea gives it internationally recognized claims on those reserves.
One country that has NO recognized claim in the South China Sea is the United States. Of course, that has never stopped the U.S. before. And it’s not stopping it now.
The U.S. is solidifying alliances with countries that potentially could have claims to the oil in the sea. This is the meaning of the so-called free-trade alliance that Obama has discussed with the leaders of Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam.
These alliances and other trade agreements are the “open door” through which the U.S. and its oil companies could pass.
No, it is not China that is aggressive. It’s the U.S. – the main and most powerful imperialist power in the world, the country that has carried out more wars than any other and controls resources around the globe.