Making Taiwan the Ukraine of the East

Consortium News by Vijay Prashad: Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research ~ February 9, 2023

To understand the contemporary geopolitical significance of the Republic of China, Vijay Prashad says it is necessary to examine Cold War history.

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. of the Philippines met with US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin at Malacañang Palace in Manila on Feb. 2, where they agreed to expand the US military presence in the country.

In a joint statement, the two governments agreed to “announce their plans to accelerate the full implementation of the Enhanced Defence Cooperation Agreement” (EDCA) and “designate four new Agreed Locations in strategic areas of the country.”

The EDCA, which was agreed upon in 2014, allows the US to use land in the Philippines for its military activities. It was formulated almost a quarter of a century after US troops vacated their bases in the Philippines — including a massive base at Subic Bay — during the collapse of the USSR.

At that time, the US operated on the assumption that it had triumphed and no longer required the vast structure of military bases it had built up during the Cold War.

From the 1990s, the US assembled a new kind of global footprint by integrating the militaries of allied countries as subordinate forces to US military control and building smaller bases to create a much greater reach for its technologically superior airpower.

In recent years, the US has been faced with the reality that its apparent singular power is being challenged economically by several countries, especially China. To contest these challenges, the US began to rebuild its military force structure through its allies with more of these smaller, but no less lethal, bases.

It’s likely that three of the four new bases in the Philippines will be on Luzon Island, at the north of the archipelago, which would place the US military within striking distance of Taiwan.

For the past 15 years, the US has pushed its allies — including those organised in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) — to strengthen their military power while increasing US techno-military power and reach by establishing smaller bases across the world and producing new aircraft and ships with greater territorial reach.

This military force was then used in a series of provocative actions against nations it perceived as threats to its hegemony, with two key countries, China and Russia, facing the sharp edge of the US spear.

At the two ends of Eurasia, the US began to provoke Russia through Ukraine and provoke China through Taiwan. The provocations over Ukraine have now resulted in a war that has been going on for a year, while the new US bases in the Philippines are part of an escalation against China, with Taiwan as a battleground.

~ by Joel Huan on February 15, 2023.

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