Wednesday, June 3, 2015

US Media Plays Grab Ass With China's Land Grab

You may have seen some news reports about China expanding the size of some small atolls and reefs in the South China Sea in order to build, it's assumed, small naval outposts on them. The frequency of articles about this is increasing and their tone is becoming frantic. NPR is calling it a land grab and wondering if the Obama Administration is ever going to do something about it. The same charges are repeated in an almost identical piece written by the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think thank, that some papers have been reprinting as a news article. Other press, the BBC for example, talks of "Chinese expansionism."

None of these articles mention the "Pivot to the East," the shift in US global strategy that had been going on for a decade or more but was accelerated in 2012 by President Obama. Under it the US is significantly pulling out of the Middle East and repositioning its forces around the Pacific Rim, forming new military pacts with its Pacific Rim allies and positioning US troops in some of them, Australia for example.

The Pivot to the East is of course a strategy to contain China, which is rapidly gaining on the US in economic strength.

Neither do any of these articles mention the Trans Pacific Partnership, the TPP, which is also about containing China by lining up all its biggest trading partners and competitors into a trade bloc the US will dominate and by which it intends to control trade in the Pacific Rim, and China's economy.

As US efforts to corner China have proceeded so have provocative actions by the US and its allies around small islands the media always describes as "disputed." If you still wonder why China is trying to beef up it's naval presence in its backyard, notice also this map of the world's major oil routes and their "choke points." Notice the Straights of Malacca, between Singapore and Malaysia, which, if it wanted to, The US could easily blockade, cutting off almost all of China's oil which primarily comes from the Middle East and Africa.

Oil Change Project map

By expanding a few small islands and positioning naval forces there, China is simply doing what it can to defend itself -- not so much its land but its economy.

I'm not sure if the reporters who are carrying water for the administration, or actually for US Capitalism, even know what they're doing. It's conceivable that they don't know any the background, but the wealthy owners of the papers they work for do, you can be sure.

Ukraine The Same Thing

It's been pretty much the same story with media coverage of Ukraine. Not an article that accuses Russia of aggression and of fomenting conflict in Ukraine mentions what happened before the current situation in Ukraine unfolded. Since the early 1990s the US has been relentlessly expanding NATO by admitting old Soviet Republics and now has Russia's important population and industrial centers surrounded with missile batteries, and in some countries with US troops, that are positioned on Russia's very borders.

The US backed "Maidan uprising" that resulted in the US backed coup that ousted elected Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych last year was intended to bring Ukraine into NATO and deny Russia of it's port in Crimea -- Russia's only warm water port -- and to bring the network of pipelines that cross Ukraine carrying Russian gas to its southern European customers under US control.

None of this critical context is ever mentioned in the US media, which casts Russian maneuvering to hold onto Crimea as bold Russian aggression. It's never suggested either that Russia's ongoing involvement might have something to do with preventing the majority Russian population of Ukraine's eastern provinces from being subject to the kind of slaughters that were beginning to be carried out soon after the coup by the pro US fascists that control much of the new Ukrainian government.

These slaughters were barely mentioned if at all in the mainstream US media and when they were worked in ways that obscured obscure what really happened. Not so alternative media, which reported on the massacres in Kiev's Maidan Square and also on how Ukrainian nationalists shot Russian Ukrainians as they jumped from a burning office building in Odessa.

For the US media, covering Ukraine is all about demonizing Russia, and Vladmir Putin. Putin is Putin, but if was him I'd be doing exactly what he's doing, and exactly what the Chinese are doing, trying to fend of naked US aggression.

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