Archive for February, 2012

Ma’s re-election opens new chances for peaceful cross-Strait relations [People’s Daily]

Posted in China, Taiwan on February 28, 2012 by Zuo Shou / 左手

BEIJING, Jan. 15 (Xinhua) — The winning of Ma Ying-jeou and Kuomintang (KMT) in Saturday’s elections may open new chances for the peaceful development of cross-Strait relations.

The results of the elections have indicated that the peaceful development of the cross-Strait relations is a correct path and has been widely recognized by the Taiwan people.

Any persons and any political parties of Taiwan should follow this trend, so that they could earn recognition and support.

Moreover, the victory of Ma and the KMT may represent a new opportunity for the development of the cross-Strait relations.

With joint efforts of the two sides to fortify and enhance the existing mutual trust, there will be a even brighter prospect and further progresses in the cross-Strait talks, exchanges and cooperation.

However, the two sides should be wary that the situation in the island is still complicated and the “Taiwan independence” stance will continue to haunt the cross-Strait relations development.

There are still some long-term disputes and divergences existing between the two sides that await resolving.

This year’s elections were carried out under a background in which the cross-Strait relations have been significantly improved. The positive effects of the peaceful development of the cross-Strait relations have fully emerged.

Over the past four years, the two sides of the Taiwan Strait have established a political mutual trust based on opposition to the “Taiwan independence” stance and adherence to the “1992 Consensus.”

The two sides resumed regular talks between the mainland’s Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS) and the Taiwan-based Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) in 2008.

The opening of “three direct links” of cross-Strait mail, trade, air and shipping services, has also pushed forward the cross-Strait economic cooperation into a brand-new stage.

These achievements have brought about real benefits to the people on both sides of the Strait, especially the people in Taiwan.

The cross-Strait economic cooperation has also helped the island’s economy to buoy up from blows of the global financial crisis.

The peaceful development of the cross-Strait ties have won a widespread support among the Taiwan people and it is also appreciated by the international community.

During the election campaigns, whether to stick to the 1992 Consensus became a major field of cross fires among candidates. Ma had stood out and gained positive momentum with his cross-Strait policies.

Numbers of Taiwanese notables, business tycoons as well as the small and medium-sized enterprise owners and the grassroots people have also expressed their stance for the “1992 Consensus” and their aspiration for further peaceful development of the cross-Strait ties.

Under the public’s pressure, the Democratic Progressive Party and its candidate Tsai Ing-wen have to lower their voices for “Taiwan independence.”

But their denial of the “1992 Consensus” and the stance of “one country on each side” could not abate the people’s doubts and worries and finally led to their failure in the elections.

Judged from the election, peaceful development of cross-Strait relations have developed from a concept to reality, benefitting people from different backgrounds and recognized by the public.

Article link: http://english.people.com.cn/90785/7705289.html

The Russia-China Veto: Is It Enough? – Hypocrisy, Another Opportunistic Gambit or a Genuine Shift In Geopolitical Stance? – By Matthias Chang [Globalresearch.ca]

Posted in Africa, China, Deng Xiaoping, George W. Bush, Hillary Clinton, Hu Jintao, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Libya, Mao Zedong, NATO, Nukes, Obama, Qatar, Russia, Syria, U.K., US imperialism, USA on February 27, 2012 by Zuo Shou / 左手

Feb. 9, 2012

Mao Zedong famously declared that the “US is a paper tiger” and that in war, the people is paramount in winning and not weapons. Atomic weapons will not enable a country to win the war. If there was one statement that galvanised the Chinese people to stand up and be counted in the face of open threats of nuclear war and oppression, this was it. Mao Zedong was correct on all counts from a strategic standpoint. And one need not be a communist to appreciate this strategic victory in propaganda warfare, when at the material time China was not even a nuclear power. The army of the People’s Republic of China was essentially a peasant army but one highly motivated and disciplined. China at the…time took a consistent stand in opposing hegemony, standing up to the armed aggressions of the Anglo-American war party in South America, Middle East and Asia.

This determined stand by the Chinese people was enough to convince President Nixon and Kissinger to re-orientate their once rabid racist anti-China policy of encirclement and destruction of China to one of pragmatic mutual respect and co-existence and the adoption of the one-China policy. Had China kow-towed to the Anglo-American empire, it would be oppressed and subjugated today. And that is why when Deng Xiaoping took power, he did not and could not denounce Mao Zedong for some of his errors. This is the objective reality. And one need not be a communist to appreciate this reality, though my detractors would condemn me as such.

Post-Soviet Union, Russia under the influence of the corrupt Yeltsin (who bankrupted Russia) and Gorbachev’s perestroika was reduced almost to the status of a third-world country but for their nuclear arsenal. The country was plundered by western-backed oligarchs and mafias. Russia under Putin, clawed its way back to some degree of respect, after regaining control of the oil and gas industry from the Wall-Street / City of London backed oligarchs and mafias. Until 4th February 2012, one could be forgiven for holding the view that China has forgotten the lessons and experience gained under Mao Zedong in dealing with the hegemonic Zionist Anglo-American regimes of the US, UK and Israel. Russia likewise, foolishly lulled by Hillary Clinton’s so-called “reset” of the US Russian relations, forgot the lessons of the Cold War and believed that an imperial power in a uni-polar world would be happy reaping the peace dividend. Russian and Chinese leaders were only too happy to be feted by the President of the United States, of being “accepted” by the global ruling elites. The successor to President Hu Jintao is already on his way to meet with Obama, the Nobel Peace Prize war criminal, a coloured clone of Bush.

If truth be told, the foreign policy of China and Russia up and until 4th February, 2012 was essentially opportunistic and self-defeating. Like the slavish and subservient GCC countries, they were caught in the petro-dollar trap – the financial scam master-minded by Goldman Sachs and the Too Big To Fail Global Banks…

It is an insult to the intelligence of the global anti-war movement for Russia and China to say that they were not aware of the insidious agenda of the Zionist Anglo-America war party against Libya. They had the audacity to say that they were hoodwinked into believing that the No-Fly-Zone resolution was to protect Libya’s civilians and not as an excuse for regime change, when the reality was clear to all of us – Gaddafi was suppressing an armed rebellion financed by NATO and the GCC countries headed by Qatar. Can it be said in all honesty that the intelligence services of Russia and China were unaware of the reality? China evacuated 30,000 of her citizens working in Libya even before the first shot was fired . Therefore, China knew that NATO would unleash a brutal civil war and as “Killary” Clinton declared soon after the murder of Gaddafi, “We came, we saw and he died”.

Even Bush could do better when lying.

When Libya decided to export its oil in currencies other than the toilet US dollar paper (as well as the introduction of the Gold Dinar), its fate was sealed. Libya, like Iraq would have derailed the petro-dollar system if it was allowed to trade oil outside the petro-dollar system. China was as fearful as the United States of the consequences if Libya succeeded. China had almost Three Trillion reasons to be fearful, and the US economy would fall off from the precipice.

So, China and Russia tacitly agreed to the ouster of Gaddafi when they abstained in voting for the resolution for the imposition of the No-Fly-Zone in Libya. This was geopolitical theatrics par excellence!

Russia and China chose the path of “the lesser of two evils” i.e. overthrow Gaddafi to stabilise the petro-dollar system and the value of their dollar reserves rather than to have uninhibited access to Libyan oil at depressed prices. Of what use is having uninterrupted supply of oil, when the threat of losing 50% or more of the value of the dollar would shrink the purchasing power of their dollar reserves?

However, China and Russia were out-maneuvered with the barbaric murder of Gaddafi. While the petro-dollar system was given a temporary relief, preventing a massive devaluation of their dollar reserves, China’s and Russia’s geopolitical agenda for Africa was derailed leaving US Africa Command in total control of the entire continent. Many African nations are having second thoughts about China and her reliability when she so quickly abandoned an ally when it suited her. Marin Katusa got it absolutely right when he wrote, “If the US dollar loses its position as the global reserve currency, the consequences for America are dire. A major portion of the dollar’s valuation stems from its lock on the oil industry – if that monopoly fades, so too will the value of the dollar …

“The ‘petro-dollar’ system was a brilliant political and economic move. It forced the world’s oil to flow through the US Federal Reserve, creating ever growing international demand for both US dollars and US debt, while essentially letting the US pretty much own the world’s oil for free, since oil’s value is denominated in a currency that America controls and prints.

“The petro-dollar system spread beyond oil: the majority of international trade is done in US dollar. That means that from Russia to China, Brazil to South Korea, every country aims to maximize the US-dollar surplus garnered from its export trade to buy oil…”

…Having being brainwashed and suckered into believing that wealth could be had beyond their wildest dreams by adopting the financial engineering schemes pioneered by the Too Big To Fail Global Banks, and exporting to the “borderless” consumer markets, principally to the US, China rushed to join the WTO, thereby offering her economy as a hostage to the inherent instability and the ponzi-type of profiteering in the petro-dollar financial system. Russia likewise was seduced by the so-called superiority of the Zionist Anglo-American financial capitalism, having turned its back on the communist economic model. Their banking system is modeled along the lines of Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan of the US and the HSBC and Barclays of the UK.

These two former geopolitical communist giants found out too late that the Zionist Anglo-American finance capitalism was not the financial promise land of milk and honey!

When the Global Financial Tsunami of 2007 / 2008 hit the world’s economy, the financial scam was exposed and the political elites of Russia and China panicked. They realised that unless they diversify their foreign reserve holdings, they would end up holding more worthless toilet US dollar papers. The need for an orderly retreat from the petro-dollar system became a top priority. But, China and Russia did not count on Libya rocking the boat, just when the Zionist Anglo-American war party was trying to deter Iran from doing the same to her oil exports. While the Zionist Anglo-American war party was pushing Iran to desist selling oil other than in US dollar with the threat of nuclear war, Russia and China was pulling Iran with the promise of protection and membership in the Shanghai Co-operation Organisation in exchange for access to oil at discounted prices and a tacit agreement not to rock the boat. Therefore, the veto of the UN resolution on Syria must be seen in the light of the above geopolitical considerations.

It is the height of stupidity and or naivety not to expect the Zionist Anglo- American war party to launch a scathing propaganda war against them – that by exercising the veto, China and Russia was condoning the slaughter of Syrians by the Assad administration . Surely, if the anti-war movement could obtain the leaked copy of the Report of the Arab League Mission which exposed the fact that there were armed groups killing civilians and army and police personnel, China and Russia would have obtained copies as well.

Would any country allow and or tolerate armed groups roving in major cities attacking civilians and army and police personnel and not take action? Yet, President Assad is accused of genocide of his own people and must embark on reforms to introduce “democracy” in Syria. But, what of the Islamic extremists regimes of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, Yemen etc. who are also absolute monarchists who are financing the armed rebellion in Syria? Why are there no calls to transform these regimes from absolute monarchy to republican democracies?

Why is Russia and China not exposing these double standards, notwithstanding the fact that they have just recently vetoed the Arab League sponsored UN resolution?..

…If Russia and China were genuinely concerned about the hypocrisy of the Zionist Anglo-American-GCC sponsored resolution, why did they not telegraph their intentions to veto the resolution immediately, and launch a worldwide campaign to expose the perfidy of this resolution, so that the NAM members, OIC members and other groupings could mount an international campaign to counter the war plans. But, they chose the path of the back-room deal and when that fell through, they decided to exercise the veto followed by a belated justification. Why was there no condemnation of the GCC countries funding the rebellion? The Zionist Anglo-American war party deem it fit to openly effect regime change in Iraq, Libya, Syria, Lebanon and Iran with the connivance of the GCC regimes on the grounds that the targeted countries are not “democratic” so as to secure the petro-dollar system, but Russia and China with all their resources and military might chose to remain silent all these years and are therefore complicit in these hideous schemes.

It is only when their backs are against the wall that Russia and China are now reacting to protect their threatened interests. Could they have been so blind that they are not aware all this while, that the agenda of the Zionist Anglo-American war party is to secure the petro-dollar system to the detriment of Russia, China and the entire global community? This is not possible. Applying the perverse logic of the Zionist Anglo-American war party, China, Russia and the world community have every right to demand regime change in the GCC countries under the auspices of the UN so as not to be held hostage by these tyrants and having their economies destroyed by disruption in the supply of oil and massive inflation as a result of manipulation of the oil price by the Zionist Anglo-American war party acting in concert with the GCC countries.

No, they were not blind but were bloody opportunistic. They took the view that they could have the cake and eat it as well and on the stupid assumption that by holding trillions of toilet US dollar papers, they could wield leverage over the Zionist Anglo-American empire. How stupid can one get? They have to export to earn toilet US dollar papers, while the US need only to crank the printing press or click the computer mouse to generate whatever amounts of toilet US dollar papers.

But, China and Russia and countries like Japan and Korea just don’t have the guts to call the Zionist Anglo-American war party’s bluff by dumping the dollar. They have been too corrupted by the system that they could not do what is right for their country and the world community.

And just as they have betrayed Libya, they will also betray Syria. This is a given!

But, we fear not this insidious betrayal. We need only to remember Mao Zedong’s dictum – “the United States is a paper tiger”. Russia and China are also paper tigers but more so as whatever economic / financial power that they may assume to have is nothing but trillions of toilet US dollar paper tigers. Their value is the cost of the ink and paper and the computers that transfer the digits electronically. They deserve to be lumped together as “paper tigers”. How did Russia and China descent to such a pathetic state? Simple! They sold their national soul and dignity for the illusion of wealth generated by toilet US dollar papers. They are geopolitical prostitutes. Compare and contrast, two countries that can stand tall and with justified dignity and pride – Cuba and Iran. In regard to the former, this small country a mere stone’s throw from the missiles, aircraft and navy of the US paper tiger, was able to withstand more than 60 years of nuclear blackmail, intimidation and economic sanctions and remained steadfast to their principles. They fought to be free from the clutches of Yankee imperialism.

In the case of Iran which is surrounded by Zionist Anglo-American lackeys on all sides and like Cuba, was also subjected to nuclear blackmail, intimidation and economic sanctions for over 30 years. This proud nation chose to stand up to the big bully and remain independent. One is a communist country while the other is an Islamic nation. So it cannot be the ideology that makes them stand apart from the rest of the world.

These two countries stood their ground and took on the combined might of the Zionist Anglo-American war party, NATO and the GCC countries without nuclear weapons, global navy and air-force. But, they have the might of a united people willing to make the supreme sacrifice for dignity, freedom and independence and the faith that their cause is just and that their spirit can never be defeated. To the leaders of Russia and China:

Shame on you that you do not have the courage and convictions of your people! You have discarded the noble and heroic sacrifices of your heroes who were willing to die for freedom and independence.

Today, you worship at the altar of global finance capitalism and you will pay a heavy price for that betrayal. You have chosen to compete in the dog-eat-dog world of casino capitalism. And like the Yankee imperialists, you will also be consumed by greed and soon suffer the ignominy of a failed state.

But, there is still time yet for you to change and be at the forefront together with Iran, Cuba and Venezuela of the Global Alliance to resist the last barbaric attempt of a moribund empire to impose a new world order…

[Excerpted by Zuo Shou]

Full article: http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=29159

Afghans besiege US bases in Koran protests [World Socialist Website]

Posted in Afghanistan, Anti-USA protest, Islamophobia, Karzai puppet regime corruption, NATO, NATO invasion, Obama, US foreign occupation, US imperialism, USA, War crimes on February 26, 2012 by Zuo Shou / 左手

Oh please, let this be the hastening of the “Fall of Saigon moment” for the US and its NATO puppets in Afghanistan – Zuo Shou

By Bill Van Auken
24 February 2012

Two American soldiers and at least 15 Afghans have been killed as crowds besieged US and NATO bases for a third day Thursday, in an escalating protest over US troops burning copies of the Koran.

The three days of protests have seen violent clashes across Afghanistan, with crowds in a number of areas blocking highways and attacking and burning government facilities and, in the eastern city of Jalalabad, NATO fuel trucks.

The two American soldiers were shot to death Thursday — and four others were wounded — in eastern Nangarhar province, at a military base that crowds of outraged Afghans had attempted to storm. A uniformed Afghan soldier reportedly opened fire on the American troops and then fled, disappearing into the mass of protesters.

At least two Afghan civilians were killed outside the same base when security forces fired upon protesters to keep them from forcing their way into the facility. Two others, including a 12-year-old Afghan boy, were killed in the Batikot district of the same province, Afghanistan’s Pajhwok news service reported.

The killing of the US troops came on the heels of a public appeal by the Afghan Taliban to Afghan troops and police to attack foreign occupation forces. The statement called on “all the youth present in the security apparatus of the Kabul regime to fulfill their religious and national duty… by turning their guns on the foreign infidel invaders.”

In neighboring Laghman province, at least one civilian was shot dead when Afghan troops opened fire to keep stone-throwing protesters from overrunning their base.

In the central Afghan province of Uruzgan, at least three protesters were killed and 12 others wounded in what Afghan authorities described as “crossfire” between security forces and armed resistance fighters who had joined the demonstration.

And in northern Baghlan province, a policeman was killed after demonstrators were fired upon and responded by attacking the police with stones and sticks.

At these and other locations, demonstrators took up the slogans of “Death to America” and “Down with Karzai,” referring to the president of the US-backed regime in Kabul, Hamid Karzai.

At least eight Afghans were killed during demonstrations that swept the country on Wednesday. Scores of others were wounded or injured on both days.

There are fears within the occupation forces and the Karzai regime that Friday will see even greater eruptions after prayer services in the country’s mosques. The US Embassy in Kabul and other US bases and facilities have been placed on lockdown, with no one allowed in or out.

The spark that ignited this nationwide conflagration was the report that Afghan workers at an incinerator pit at the US Bagram Air Base found American troops dumping copies of the Koran and other Islamic religious materials in a pile of debris for burning.

The material had been seized from a library at the Bagram prison, where the American occupation forces hold Afghans suspected of being members of the Taliban and other resistance forces. A military official told CNN that they were taken for burning because they were believed to contain “extremist inscriptions” and supposedly had been used to “facilitate extremist communications.”

The Obama administration and the Pentagon have attempted to defuse the crisis, with a presidential apology and an announcement by a top military commander that all US forces in Afghanistan will undergo training in the proper handling of Korans and other religious material.

“I wish to express my deep regret for the reported incident. I extend to you and the Afghan people my sincere apologies,” Obama wrote in a letter presented to Karzai Thursday by US Ambassador Ryan Crocker. “The error was inadvertent; I assure you that we will take the appropriate steps to avoid any recurrence, to include holding accountable those responsible.”

For masses of ordinary Afghans, however, such apologies are worse than meaningless. The latest Koran burning is seen only as one more episode in the country’s oppression and humiliation at the hands of the US-led occupation. It follows the release just last month of a video showing American Marines urinating on the corpses of slain Afghans, which also provoked protests. Reports of desecrations of the Koran have provoked at least two previous waves of deadly protests.

“This is not just about dishonoring the Koran, it is about disrespecting our dead and killing our children,” Maruf Hotak, 60, who joined a protest on the outskirts of Kabul, told the New York Times. “They always admit their mistakes. They burn our Koran and then they apologize. You can’t just disrespect our holy book and kill our innocent children and make a small apology.”

On Wednesday, in the midst of the spreading protests, officials in Nangarhar province reported that a NATO helicopter attacked a school. “This morning a school was attacked by a NATO helicopter. Nine children, all girls, and the school’s janitor have been injured,” a spokesman for the provincial government said. At least five of the schoolgirls remained hospitalized.

The attack followed the admission by NATO last week that a February 8 air strike had killed eight children in northeastern Kapisa province.

In addition to these constant killings, deteriorating social conditions in Afghanistan are also fueling the mass resentment and anger that have exploded in the Koran demonstrations.

On Thursday, Amnesty International issued a report detailing the abysmal situation confronting some half million Afghans who have been forced from their homes by the US-led war and are struggling to survive in urban slums…

[Excerpted by Zuo Shou]

Full article link: http://www.wsws.org/articles/2012/feb2012/afgh-f24.shtml

Senior Chinese leader urges promotion of socialist core values [People’s Daily]

Posted in China, CPC, CPC Central Committee (CPCCC), Education, Reform and opening up on February 25, 2012 by Zuo Shou / 左手

BEIJING, Jan. 13 (Xinhua) — Senior Chinese leader Li Changchun on Friday called for further efforts to promote the socialist core value system and accelerate reform of the country’s cultural sector.

Li, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, made the remarks at a meeting on developing the socialist culture and ethics.

The 18th CPC National Congress is scheduled for this year, and to promote the congress as well as the achievements of the CPC, the country and the reform and opening-up policy should be a focus of this year’s cultural and ethic promotion work, Li said.

Li also called for more efforts in this regard to encourage officials and the public to work for the accomplishment of the economic and social development targets set in the country’s 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-2015).

Article link: http://english.people.com.cn/90785/7705218.html

Over 60 Percent of Venezuelans Support Socialist Model [Prensa Latina]

Posted in Hugo Chavez, Venezuela on February 24, 2012 by Zuo Shou / 左手

Caracas, Feb 16 (Prensa Latina)

Over 60 percent of Venezuelans accept the construction of the socialist model in the country as a system to guarantee development, Juan Scorza, director of the International Consulting Services (ICS), said on Thursday.

Referring to a study carried out by the institution on January 23 among 1,200 people in major Venezuelan cities, the expert stated that 53 percent of citizens consider the socialism boosted by President Hugo Chavez a political and economic system that favors the people.

“The missions, for example, received over 80 percent of acceptance,” Scorza said in his morning television program Toda Venezuela.

In his opinion, this connotation of socialism as interpreted by the ICS is that all these social measures create clear collective benefits and people accept it, unlike capitalism, which is favored by only 21 percent of those surveyed.

In reference to the impact on the society of the primary elections of the opposition Democratic Unity Board (MUD) on February 12, Scorza stated that “Venezuela was happy and strengthened democracy with an open and direct choice.”

About the issue, Scorza revealed that the mandate of the National Electoral Council, assessed from regular to excellent, was 94.1 percent, while the work of the Bolivarian National Armed Force reached 94.1-percent acceptance.

Article link: http://www.plenglish.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=478709&Itemid=1

“Australian foreign minister resigns in Washington” – China issues rupture Rudd, Gilliard as bourgie Labour hits historic low [World Socialist Website]

Posted in Afghanistan, Australia, Bourgeois parliamentary democracy, China, Encirclement of China, Hillary Clinton, Iran, Libya, Obama, Rudd-Gillard coup, South China Sea, State Department, Syria, US foreign occupation, US imperialism, USA, USA 21st Century Cold War on February 24, 2012 by Zuo Shou / 左手

By Peter Symonds
23 February 2012

Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard has called for a Labor Party ballot on the party leadership next Monday following the sudden overnight resignation of Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd in Washington yesterday. The leadership spill takes place in the wake of protracted subterranean brawling between the Gillard and Rudd factions within the party.

The Australian media has been speculating for weeks over a move by Rudd to replace Gillard, who ousted him through an inner party political coup in June 2010. The challenge erupted into the open last weekend when backbench Labor parliamentarian Darren Cheeseman publicly declared that Gillard could not take the party forward and should step aside for Rudd…

…Gillard supporters responded by ramping up their attacks on Rudd for disloyalty, for undermining the current government and accused him of having led a dysfunctional administration. Cabinet minister Simon Crean had already declared on ABC radio on Monday that Rudd had “clearly been disloyal internally”, repeating similar accusations in three other interviews the same day.

Rudd left on Monday to attend the G20 foreign ministers meeting in Mexico, where he met on the sidelines with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. He then headed to Washington yesterday where he attended a private dinner with US Secretary of Defence Leon Panetta and Australian ambassador Kim Beazley to discuss a range of issues, including reportedly “security in the South East Asian region.” No press statements were released from either meeting.

Hours later Rudd announced his resignation in an extraordinary late night press conference at his Washington hotel, declaring he had no other option since he no longer enjoyed the confidence of Gillard and senior ministers. Striking the pose of an affronted victim, Rudd declared: “Mr Crean and a number of other faceless men have publicly attacked my integrity… Prime Minister Gillard chose not to repudiate them.”

Rudd made no attempt to speak directly to the prime minister, who was reportedly preparing to sack him when he returned. By pre-empting Gillard, he was attempting to seize the initiative in the intense inner party lobbying already underway in the lead up to Monday’s ballot. In a press conference this morning, Gillard declared that she expected to win . If not, she insisted, she would retire to the backbench and never challenge for the leadership again, then demanded of Rudd that he make the same pledge.

Media coverage of the Labor leadership battle is notable only for its focus on the sordid inner party manoeuvres, the numbers lining up on either side, and what the implications might be for the highly unstable and unpopular Labor minority government, which is dependant for its existence on continuing support from the Greens and rural independents. The contest is being portrayed as a personal tussle between Gillard and Rudd, with no fundamental political differences between them.

Nothing could be further from the truth. The leadership battle is rooted in the fundamental dilemma that has confronted the Australian ruling class for the past two decades: how to balance between its economic dependence on China, the country’s largest trading partner, and its longstanding strategic alliance with the United States as rivalry between the two powers has intensified.

After coming to power in 2007, Rudd sought to ameliorate the growing tensions between China and the US through the promotion of a regional forum to defuse potential conflicts. This perspective came into conflict with that of the Obama administration, which, from mid-2009, launched a diplomatic and strategic offensive to undermine China’s growing regional influence. Amid deep dissatisfaction with Rudd in Washington, the White House played a key role in the coup of June 2010.

Gillard was installed by a handful of Labor and union factional bosses, with close ties to the US, behind the backs of cabinet, the party and the population as a whole. She immediately pledged her unconditional support for the US alliance and for keeping Australian troops in Afghanistan indefinitely. During Obama’s trip to Australia last November, Gillard announced that up to 2,500 US Marines would be stationed in the northern city of Darwin and that access to Australian air and naval bases would be granted to the US military. This is in line with US ambitions to control key shipping routes used by China to transport energy and raw materials from Africa and the Middle East.

As foreign minister in the Gillard government, Rudd had gone out of his way to prove his usefulness to Washington in supporting the NATO military intervention against Libya and aggressive US moves against Syria and Iran. However, on the central question of China, Rudd continued to promote his scheme for a “Pax-Pacifica” aimed at moderating the escalating conflict between the US and China. Central to Rudd’s perspective was that the US had to give China some leeway in the region, in opposition to Washington’s agenda.

In his resignation speech yesterday, Rudd proudly declared that he had initiated “a new institution in Asia” — a reference to the East Asia Summit—that “brings the United States, China, Japan, India, Australia and all the other countries in the region, around a single table to be able to discuss and negotiate a peaceful security future for Australia.” In fact, Obama used the East Asia Summit in Bali last November to intensify Washington’s confrontation with China by forcing a discussion, against Beijing’s objections, on territorial disputes in the strategically significant South China Sea.

Rudd had been due to deliver a speech today on the theme of “Pax Pacifica” to the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. His office said the speech would not now be made public. But his “Pax Pacifica” line has already been stated in a series of recent speeches, including at the Munich Security Conference on February 4, where he insisted that the US had to “accommodate” China’s “legitimate aspirations as a country which has been through a century plus of Western humiliation represented by imperial powers, all of whom are in this room today.”

The content of Rudd’s recent discussions with Clinton and Panetta is unknown. What is known, however, is that the issues surrounding relations between the US and China are the source of significant divisions within the US ruling establishment as well. What can be said with certainty at this point is that the “faceless men”— the key factional powerbrokers who installed Gillard—are still backing her. Since 2010, WikiLeaks cables have identified some of these figures as US “protected sources.” As the Australian’s contributing editor, Peter van Onselen, observed this morning: “Bill Shorten, Mark Arbib, David Feeney and Don Farrell have formed a praetorian guard around the prime minister.”

In 2010, the chief public accusation of Gillard’s supporters against Rudd was that he had dragged Labor down in the polls and would likely lose the election. Now, however, Rudd’s standing in the polls is well ahead of Gillard’s. She has never been able to shake off the stench of the coup, and the widespread conception that she stabbed Rudd in the back. Millions of ordinary people rightly concluded there was something profoundly anti-democratic in the way an elected prime minister had been removed, literally overnight. Labor’s electoral support has collapsed to historic lows of around 30 percent, yet this time, those who installed Gillard remain loyal, underlining the fact that far more fundamental issues were at stake in 2010 than opinion polls. That remains the case today.

As well as the US-China confrontation, domestic issues are at stake. The ousting of Rudd was also bound up with the demands of finance capital for the Labor government to intensify its program of austerity and economic restructuring to ensure the competitiveness of Australian capitalism. Both sides are seeking to demonstrate to big business that will be the more effective in implementing this regressive agenda. Even though he is yet to announce his challenge, Rudd has identified industry assistance and education as key issues. Gillard this morning promoted herself as the person most capable of implementing pro-market “reforms” despite their unpopularity.

As in 2010, the media are seeking to keep working people in the dark over the political issues at stake. Above all, they are doing everything possible to prevent any public debate of the consequences of putting Australia on the frontline of a US-China war.

Article link: http://www.wsws.org/articles/2012/feb2012/rudd-f23.shtml

Tibet officials ‘prepare for war’ [People’s Daily]

Posted in China, CPC, CPC Central Committee (CPCCC), Dalai Lama, Tibet on February 22, 2012 by Zuo Shou / 左手

By Yang Jingjie (Global Times)
February 10, 2012

Officials in the Tibet Autonomous Region have been ordered to recognize the “grave situation” in maintaining stability and to ready themselves for “a war against secessionist sabotage,” months before a major plenary session of the Communist Party of China.

The fight against the Dalai Lama clique is a “long-term, complicated and sometimes even acute” one, Chen Quanguo, regional Party chief of Tibet, was quoted by the Tibet Daily Thursday as saying.

“For those irresponsible officials who walk away from their duties, fail to implement policies or are found guilty of dereliction of duty in maintaining stability, they shall be immediately removed from their posts, pending punishment, regardless of how great the contributions they made in the past or what kind of position they held,” Chen warned in a strongly worded speech.

Chen asked local officials to “improve the precautionary and emergency management mechanism,” and ensure the government’s ability to immediately and resolutely handle any emergency.

“We should make every effort to win the tough battle to maintain stability, and seize the initiative in our fight against separatism,” Chen said.

Xu Zhitao, an official with the United Front Work Department of the CPC Central Committee, told the Global Times Thursday that “secessionists led by the Dalai Lama appeared more determined to plot conspiracies this year.”

The Dalai Lama clique had claimed that they might carry out some schemes to wreck the upcoming Tibetan New Year, which falls on February 22 this year, according to Xu…

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