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Mainstream, Vol XLVI No 38

Scuttling ‘Dangerous’ Integration Independent of the West

Wednesday 10 September 2008, by Benjamin Todd

In coordination with its powerful patron, the USA, Australia is trying to undermine the processes underway in Asia that they view as ‘dangerous’. Canberra intends, in the first place, to minimise the significance of the ASEAN, AFR, ASEAN+3, EAS by describing these as mere “bricks” of a future Asia-Pacific Community (APC). At the same time by branding these mechanisms as “insufficient” and “inefficient”, the Australians and Americans are seeking to pursue the well-known policy of “devide et imperia”. The Australian leaders are also pitting Indonesia and Singapore against other ASEAN members—the objective being to provoke mistrust and hostility between Jakarta and Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok and Hanoi.

What is more, with Washington’s backing Canberra wants to legitimise its rights to interfere in the internal affairs of countries in the region by aggravating the territorial contradictions, frictions and conflicts among them. The US and the West are in general waiting for any and every opportunity to influence, on a “legimate basis”, the dynamics of the complex negotiation processes between China and Taiwan as also India and Pakistan by offering their “disinterested” help as “neutral mediators”. It is in this context that one must view the Australian suggestion to include the Kashmir problem in the agenda of the new regional formation.

Taking shelter behind their ‘peaceful’ initiatives, America and its allies never abandon their moves to create in the Asia-Pacific Region (APR) a military bloc like the NATO or directly involve the North Atlantic Alliance (which already enjoys partnership ties with Japan, Australia, South Korea and Singapore) in providing “security” in the region. The unambiguous policy of both Washington and Canberra is to continue their strategic course of blaming other countries for destabilising the region, that is, those states which ignore or hinder realisation of the “positive” offers on the part of the US and Australia.

Rudd’s hasty moves to project the “raw” step of creating the APC is fresh testimony to the US and its regional clients’ efforts to ensure their hegemony in the region. Both Washington and Canberra are concerned over the rise in integrationist trends in relations between Asian countries. The West is anxious to belittle the prospects of any success in inter-government unions independent of and without its participation,

It is against this backdrop that it becomes essential for the countries of South, East and South-East Asia to pursue their line of preventing the non-regional forces from interfering in the integration processes in the APR. The peoples of the region are competent and capable enough to determine their own future without benign assistance from overseas “well-wishers” and “sheriffs”.

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