AUKUS security alliance endangers PH
Today’s global order has entered a new historical period of sharpening contradictions and grave reactions by the world’s great powers. An upshot of the perilous strategic environment has been the debut of an American-led security alliance aimed at the eastern hemisphere. This latest imperialist project—coming soon after Washington’s defeat in Afghanistan after two decades of a failed military invasion—is destabilizing the vast land-maritime corridors of the Asia-Indo-Pacific region.
Ironically, this strategic hemispheric scheme was unveiled on the same day that the Philippines marked the 30th anniversary of the ouster of America’s pre-1991 military bases and troops from Philippine soil. But expectedly, this alliance is already quickly luring Manila into its dangerous grip.
Jointly launched last Sept. 16, the “AUKUS” (Australia-United Kingdom-United States) is “a new enhanced trilateral security partnership.” As Washington’s major foreign policy initiative, the AUKUS alliance will operate as a collective security pact under US control. Its main goal is to effectively counteract China, America’s avowed strategic competitor across the Asia-Indo-Pacific. Accordingly, its central mission is to target the hardening China-Russia “strategic partnership” by degrading China’s overall capacities in the years ahead. This is primarily because the Beijing-Moscow alliance dominates the geographical space of the eastern hemisphere’s Eurasian heartland—the earth’s largest continental area, spanning from the British Isles in the Atlantic Ocean to the Japanese archipelago in the Pacific Ocean.
At their virtual press launch, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, and US President Joe Biden jointly outlined their initial agenda for the AUKUS within the coming months. A top priority is for Australia to immediately acquire a new fleet of nuclear-powered submarines (but not nuclear-armed). Simultaneously, the AUKUS will deepen defense ties with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) and the Five Eyes intelligence network.
A critical element of this thrust is the role of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue in boosting the AUKUS—since the Quad (composed of the US, Japan, India, and Australia) remains an American security mechanism for the region. An AUKUS-Quad axis would inevitably redraw the Asia-Indo-Pacific’s security architecture and equation, and additional defense allies from across the area will make it the dominant collective security force versus the China-Russia bloc in this part of the world.
These dynamics will, however, only undermine Southeast Asian stability, as various Asean countries will be compelled to join a redrawn US imperialist sphere of influence in the region. And by enlisting in America’s newest militarist design, Manila will merely act to serve Washington’s destabilization agenda.
Southeast Asia and its adjacent transregional space will become endangered. The AUKUS-Quad thrusts will highly militarize the air-land-sea-cyberspace dominions of the Asia-Indo-Pacific as neighboring states scramble to join either side. And with a heightened regional arms race resulting from threatening actions and counteractions, international instruments for protecting humanity from the spread of nuclear weapons and nuclear weapons-based technology, including the promotion of nuclear disarmament, will clearly be violated.
With its strategic location in Asia’s geography and its historically close links with Washington, the Philippines will surely be primed for integration into the AUKUS-Quad command. Ultimately, America will maximize its ready access to Philippine military bases chained to bilateral defense instruments that jointly remain in effect.
Hence, the candidates for the 2022 Philippine national elections must by now firmly resist the AUKUS-Quad axis of imperialist aggression. They must never allow Manila to join any future wars of belligerence. In particular, they should oppose the RP-US Mutual Defense Treaty, the Visiting Forces Agreement, the Mutual Logistics Support Agreement, and the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement. This posture can enable the Philippines to finally pursue a truly independent foreign policy path that advances the internationalist and anti-imperialist spirit of Sept. 16, 1991.
Rasti Delizo is an international affairs analyst and an activist in the socialist movement.
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