The United States summons the “Quad”, a quasi-military alliance against China
US President Joe Biden yesterday hosted the first-ever so-called “Quad” high-level leadership summit including the United States, Japan, Australia and India. While the virtual meeting was presented publicly as concerned with COVID-19 and climate change, its real purpose was unmistakable: to strengthen military and strategic ties to confront China throughout the Indo-Pacific and prepare for war. .
Since coming to power, Biden has made it clear that he will not only continue, but also intensify, Washington’s aggressive stance towards Beijing that began with the Obama administration’s “pivot to Asia”, which he was making. part, and was reinforced under Trump. . Biden’s focus on China was underscored by the fact that the Quad Dialogue was the first multilateral meeting he hosted.
The joint statement issued by the four leaders – Biden, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison – contained the common phrases directed against China: “a free and open order based on rules â,â freedom of navigation and overflight â, and collaborationâ to meet the challenges of the rules-based maritime order in the East and South China seas â.
The requirement that Beijing abide by the “rules-based international order” forces China to subordinate itself to the world order established after the end of World War II in which US imperialism was the dominant power and the rules were fixed in Washington. Under the Obama administration, the United States turned regional disputes in the South China and East China Seas into dangerous flashpoints. Under the pretext of defending âfreedom of navigation,â the US Navy has sent warships into China’s claimed territorial waters around its occupied islets in the South China Sea. These highly provocative operations gained momentum under Trump. The Biden administration has already carried out the first of these “freedom of navigation operations”.
US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan has been more explicit about the talks. Although he denied that the meeting was fundamentally about China, he conceded that “the leaders discussed the challenge posed by China, and they made it clear that none of them were having any illusions about China”. He noted that the leaders spoke of China’s “coercion” on Australia on trade issues, its alleged harassment of Japanese fishing boats near the Senkaku Islands. [controlled by Japan, but claimed by China] and border clashes with India, all a product of heightened tensions fueled by the United States.
Even the meeting’s headline pledge to provide a COVID-19 vaccine to one billion people in the Indo-Pacific region is aimed at countering China. The proposal to manufacture the vaccine doses in India, funded by the United States and Japan, and with the assistance of Australia for distribution, aims to counter what the United States derogatoryly calls “diplomacy. vaccines âfrom China, that is, the supply of vaccines to countries which could not obtain them elsewhere.
In strategic circles in Washington and the other three capitals, it is clear that the consolidation of the Quad is preparation for war with China. Greg Sheridan, the foreign editor of the Australian, a pro-American hawk closely linked to Washington, bluntly said in a comment titled “China Arms for War, as Quad Strikes Back” released today: “The military conflict in the Pacific, which would certainly involve Australia, becomes more and more likely. These are not hysterical words.
In line with US propaganda, Sheridan describes China as the aggressor, despite more than a decade of US military build-up, military provocations, and efforts to undermine China economically and diplomatically across Asia. He noted, however, that war as a distinct danger in the near future was also “the explicit message of the American commander of the Indo-Pacific, the man who would have to fight such a conflict”.
Sheridan was referring to testimony given this week in the US Congress by Admiral Philip Davidson, calling for a doubling of the Pentagon’s military budget for the region and warning that China could invade Taiwan within the next five years, a move that would trigger a war. American-Chinese.
It is not Beijing, but Washington, which has deliberately stirred up tensions over Taiwan. The Trump administration has overturned long-standing diplomatic norms that limited US contact with Taiwanese officials under the 1978 accords aimed at normalizing US relations with China. Beijing sees Taiwan as a renegade province and fears any attempt by the United States to turn it into a strategic base of operations against China. Biden has signaled his intention to continue forging Trump’s ties with Taiwan by inviting Taiwan’s de facto ambassador to the United States for his inauguration. Taiwan was another issue discussed at the Quad meeting.
Sheridan was well aware that handing out the COVID-19 vaccine and talking about climate action was fronting. As he said, the Quad reunion was “careful of its image” and “full of welcome positives”, but “make no mistake, countering China – and avoiding war – is the Quad’s existential goal. “. In reality, the Quad aims to intensify the war campaign led by the United States, which aims to stop the historic decline of American imperialism and to prevent any challenge, especially by China, of its world domination.
Sheridan hinted at the underlying driving forces, noting that the Chinese economy could be larger in absolute terms than the US economy by 2035. Other analysts suggest that China could overtake the United States on the economic plan much earlier. The fear in Washington and the Pentagon is that in the longer term, the United States may not be able to win a conflict with China, making war in the near future preferable, if not inevitable.
Significantly, the Quad meeting also discussed the formation of a working group on critical and emerging technologies to facilitate collaboration in high-tech research and development, with particular emphasis on telecommunications and securing âCritical technology supply chainsâ a key part of war preparations. The Trump administration’s trade war measures against China, including high-tech companies like Huawei, and accusations of “intellectual property theft” have been prompted by fears that China might overtake the United States in technologies, including those essential to war.
The first Quad Summit was scheduled to coincide with the Chinese National People’s Congress, a week of discussions that sets the overall economic and strategic direction and policies for the coming year. Hopes in Beijing that Biden would be less confrontational than Trump quickly faded – a sentiment that was reflected in speeches in Congress. Chinese President Xi Jinping told an AFN roundtable: âThe current security situation in our country is largely unstable and uncertainâ¦ The entire military mustâ¦ be prepared to respond to a variety complex and difficult situations at any time.
Biden has said China is âthe most serious competitorâ of the United States and is taking action accordingly. Yesterday’s Quad meeting is just one step in an ongoing diplomatic, economic and strategic offensive against Beijing. Over the coming week, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin will make their first overseas trip early next week, to Japan and South Korea, where the China will be at the top of the agenda. Later this week, Blinken and National Security Advisor Sullivan will meet in Alaska with their Chinese counterparts for what will likely be a rocky first meeting.
At the same time, Biden has shown that the Quad will not simply be a diplomatic centerpiece. The meeting foreshadowed frequent discussions between foreign ministers and other senior officials from the four countries, as well as another face-to-face meeting of the four leaders later in the year.
Although it is systematically denied that the Quad is or will become a military alliance against China, Australia and Japan are already official allies of the United States, and India is in a strategic partnership with Washington that involves basic agreements and arms sales. The four countries all participated for the first time last year in the annual Malabar naval exercises in the Indian Ocean.