The US Air Force has dispatched several B-52H Stratofortress bombers to Abdulrachman Saleh Air Force Base in Indonesia from their bases in North Dakota. The bombers are joining US Pacific Air Forces and Indonesian Air Force aircraft in the Cope West exercise, a bilateral air drill, before returning to the US in the coming days.
The B-52 has been in service with the US Air Force since the 1950s, when it was introduced to haul large numbers of nuclear and conventional bombs to its targets. They were used with devastating effect during the Vietnam War, although it only dropped conventional bombs. The US retains a handful of the massive aircraft to use as “missile trucks” and to intimidate “hostile” nations.
The drills come just days after US Secretary of State Antony Blinken paid a visit to Beijing to meet with senior Chinese diplomatic leaders, including President Xi Jinping. The two sides reaffirmed their desire to avoid a new cold war and claimed they do not seek the other’s overthrow or to supplant their positions on the international stage.
Experts told Sputnik that this kind of contradictory messaging is all too common from the West, especially the United States, where war and intimidation have always been the primary tools of diplomacy.
James Bradley, China expert, historian and author of the “The China Mirage: The Hidden History of American Disaster in Asia,” told Sputnik on Thursday that whatever rhetoric the US says at the moment, its long-term strategic concern in East Asia has always been controlling and containing China.
“The US Navy was surveying islands near China as early as the 1850s,” he noted, adding that “1898 saw America grabbing the Philippines, Guam, and Hawaii to construct a sluice for the riches of China to flow to the US. Since 1945, the United States has been trying to contain China. The State Department can talk about dialogue, but the former War Department – currently called the Defense Department – calls the tune.”
“We cannot forget that today’s Indonesia was born in the US genocide of millions of communists, socialists, leftists and liberals in 1965-66, to depose non-aligned President Sukarno for fascist General Suharto. Since then, the US military naturally pulls a lot of strings with the Indonesian army. We see the same situation in the Philippines, South Korea, Taiwan and Japan. Independent-minded presidents, prime ministers and legislatures are always confronted by the Western imperial toolbox: blackmail, bribery, extortion, false flags and fake news,” he explained.
“This is why we can see executives and legislatures cooperating with anti-imperial countries like China, Russia, Iran and Venezuela, while their militaries work with NATO.”
The author predicted that while the US would likely continue to pressure Jakarta to avoid buying advanced military hardware from China or Russia using “negative, reactionary diplomacy,” the inevitable decline of the West and rising of the developing world means its ability to do so is only going to diminish in the future.
“With the West’s continuing decline and the rise of BRICS and SCO [Shanghai Cooperation Organization], Indonesia may want to reorder those Su-35s,” Brown said, referring to a 2018 deal with Russia that the US blocked.
“It might work this go-around. In the meantime, the US will continue to use Western imperialism’s negative, reactionary diplomacy, by heavily playing the Taiwan separatist card, pushing NATO in Japan, patching together hind-end groupings like the Quad and AUKUS, and sanctioning everything that moves,” he added.
“This, while China has masterfully united East and Southeast Asia into the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) free trade agreement, totally outclassing the US’ inchoate, anti-China Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). It’s so much easier to say ‘yes’ to mutually respectful, win-win cooperation.”
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