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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 7/22/21

Biden Promised Diplomacy, But He's Overseeing Military Buildup Against China

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Message Ann Wright
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From Truthout

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Shortly after Joe Biden took office, the president delivered a speech at the U.S. Department of State, declaring, "I want the world to hear today: America is back". Diplomacy is back at the center of our foreign policy... By leading with diplomacy, we must also mean engaging our adversaries and our competitors diplomatically, where it's in our interest, and advance the security of the American people."

Instead of de-escalation with China, we are witnessing an enormous U.S. military buildup through massive military exercises in the Pacific.

A huge, 17,000 personnel, U.S. military land exercise named Talisman Sabre is now going on in Australia, causing much concern to many people there. Talisman Sabre 2021 involves practice for amphibious assaults, movement of heavy vehicles, use of live ammunition, and the use of U.S. nuclear-powered and nuclear-weapon-capable vessels

Annette Brownlie, chairperson of the Independent and Peaceful Australia Network said:

"Talisman Sabre is a threat to the [Great Barrier] reef and to the environment. ...The objective of Talisman Sabre is to integrate the Australian military further into the U.S. military, which is ranked among the world's worst polluters and is the world's greatest organizational consumer of oil. ...Let us not forget that during Talisman Sabre in 2013, the U.S. jettisoned four unarmed bombs on the Great Barrier Reef when they had difficulty dropping them on their intended target, Townshend Island."

Additionally, in mid-July, 25 F-22 stealth jet fighters (a remarkable number), 10 F-15 E Strike Eagles and two C-130J cargo planes have flown into Guam, a U.S. territory, and Tinian Island in the Northern Marianas, one of two U.S. commonwealths, as a part of "Pacific Iron 2021." This maneuver is described by the Honolulu Star-Advertiser newspaper as a key part of the "kick down the door" force for a possible conflict with China. Retired Lt. General Dan Leaf, a former deputy commander of the U.S. Pacific Command, said he was not aware of a previous exercise using this many F-22s.

The Pacific Air Force command in Honolulu said that Iron Pacific 2021 will have more than 35 aircraft and 800 personnel. They will have operations at three airports on Guam and one airport on Tinian, 100 miles north of Guam. U.S. aircraft that dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki 76 years ago flew from Tinian. Runways on Tinian, had fallen in disrepair until recently when major U.S. Air Force construction began to create an alternate air base to Guam.

Currently, Guam is also the site of the U.S. Army's land war maneuvers called Forager 2021. About 4,000 U.S. personnel from the U.S. Army's First Corps will be involved in various aspects of an airborne operation with the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force and 1st Special Forces Group, and an Apache attack helicopter live fire exercise. The war maneuvers also include eight-wheeled armored fighting vehicles called Strykers; lightweight, highly mobile, easily transportable surface-to-air missile fire unit with eight Stinger missiles in two missile pods named Avengers; and High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems. Forager 2021 tests the Army's capability to rapidly deploy personnel and equipment in order to counter enemy forces.

Activists in Guam are mobilizing against the military buildup. Lisa Natividad, professor of social work at the University of Guam and primary convener of the Guahan Coalition for Peace and Justice, told Truthout that the change has been stark: "Our concrete houses have been shaken from the military maneuvers by aircraft we have never seen before."

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Ann Wright is a 29-year US Army/Army Reserves veteran, a retired United States Army colonel and retired U.S. State Department official, known for her outspoken opposition to the Iraq War. She received the State Department Award for Heroism in 1997, after helping to evacuate several thousand (more...)
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