The wars the Pentagon has been waging to grab control of North Africa and Southwest Asia haven’t gone well for them — even though the damage they have wreaked is enormous. However, this hasn’t stopped the generals and politicians — or the big-money think tanks that have groomed the czars of U.S. foreign policy for more than a century — from planning the next war.
Even after the start of the government shutdown — presumably over lack of money, and while 800,000 workers were being locked out of their jobs as public services closed — the money was there to send U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to Tokyo to sign a new military pact with their former enemy.
By the end of World War II, Japanese imperialism had been so weakened by its military drive to take over the Asian colonies of Europe and the U.S. that it had to surrender and agree to totally disarm. Once it was firmly established in the role of a junior partner to U.S. capitalists’ ambitions in Asia, however, Washington began encouraging Japan’s rearmament — against the Japanese Constitution and the will of the Japanese people, who have opposed it every step of the way.
However, Shinzo Abe, the present prime minister of Japan, leads a right-wing government with territorial ambitions and is eager to further rearm as a partner of the U.S. The agreement just signed provides Japan with high-tech drones and a new missile “defense” system — which makes it more secure when it goes on the offensive.
This is all bad news for the People’s Republic of China and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. Both suffered enormously from Japan’s effort to become a global imperialist power. Korea was turned into a colony of Japan for 35 years. China lost its province of Manchuria to Japan, whose armies inflicted horrendous casualties trying to subdue the rest of the country. In both nations, it was the Communists who built a successful armed resistance to the Japanese invaders.
This spring, Japan joined the U.S. and south Korea in war practices — called “games” — off the coast of the DPRK. It also has been in a struggle with China and Vietnam over uninhabited islands in the South China Sea that may provide access to undersea oil and gas in the future. The drones Washington is providing Japan are specifically meant for these islands.
What ‘threat’ from China?
What justification is being given by the U.S. government for this ominous “pivot toward Asia” by the Pentagon? The corporate news media say it quite bluntly: It is to counter the “threat” from China.
What threat? China doesn’t have military bases all over the world, as U.S. imperialism does. It isn’t fighting in even one war, let alone half a dozen wars and “military actions,” like the U.S. interventions throughout the Middle East and Africa.
However, the U.S. ruling class does feel threatened by China. Why? Because from 1981 to 2010, China reduced extreme poverty for 84 percent of the population to only 12 percent. This is unprecedented anywhere else in the world, and represents hundreds of millions of people getting out of poverty.
In the same period, the official U.S. poverty rate has risen from 13 percent to 15 percent, and it continues to go up.
While the way poverty is measured here is undoubtedly different than in China, the trend is very clear.
The developing Chinese economy, which is still under the control of the state created by the Chinese Revolution, has grown by close to 10 percent every year. Huge infrastructure projects have been undertaken. New housing with urban facilities is replacing the impoverished villages of yesteryear. Wages and purchasing power are rising fast. All that is a tribute to socialist planning. Meanwhile, capitalism has gained a foothold there, too. That is why China has a growing income gap. The two systems are in struggle with one another.
Washington’s military focus on Asia is meant to reinforce the growth of capitalism there — but capitalism that brings money in interest and dividends back to the imperialist ruling class in the U.S., which continues to accumulate wealth at a record rate while poverty grows here. That’s the real threat to the U.S. working class.