Contributed from Townsville in Queensland
Unknown to most of Australia, some 34,000 military personnel have been taking part in exercises called Talisman Sabre. They are from the United States, Australia, Britain, New Zealand, Japan, India and from South Korea.
Behind this facade of international cooperation, it is mainly US and Australian forces that are involved, and conducting land, sea and air assaults.
The war games began last Thursday, and have been mostly kept out of the media. Taking place in Queensland, not far from Townsville, Talisman Sabre has been about invading another country since its inception in 2005. It has nothing to do with defence.
This year is the largest exercise held to date, and it occurs at a time of rising tension with China, the stand off with Iran and the possibility of a military incursion into Venezuela. The chances of Australia being caught up in another war are rising because of the military arrangement with the United
An important aspect of the Talisman Sabre is that it is not directed principally at another army, but at securing civilian terrain and trade routes.
This year, the title for the exercise is “expeditionary advanced base operations,” and involves the capturing of an island, in connection to securing the Sunda, Lombok and Malacca straits and advancing into the South China Sea.
It is clearly directed against China and can only be interpreted as a dangerous signal, that the present trade war may be backed by a blockade and the threat of further military action.
The advantage of securing a foothold in the South China Sea, would not only give the capacity to block trade from and to China. It would also mean an ability to fire directly onto the Chinese mainland and target ports and major population centres.
Built into the exercise, is the trialing of what is known as HI-RAIN. This is rapid artillery raids using HIMARS rocket launchers by smaller units in secured positions, and following by quick air attacks off aircraft carriers and the landing of troops
This will inevitably generate a response from China.
The world does not need action that increases tensions. It needs action that will reduce them.
Instead of doing this, the Australian government has joined a dangerous game that is contributing towards making the world a more dangerous place and inviting thethreat of all out war.
The risk is all thew worse, because Australian forces have been put under US military command to apply the belligerent polices of the Trump administration in Washington.
Australian defence minister Lynda Reynolds said in a statement,” the exercise was designed to enhance combat readiness and interoperability between the Australian and United Sates Armed Forces. “
Brigadier General Stephen Liszewski, director of operations for the Us Marine Corps and commander of forces in the region, told the US-National Defence magazine in May, that the exercise is “all about distributing lethality across the battle space in support of a major maritime campaign.”
It’s no wonder Talisman Sabre is being kept under wraps. The government knows that if what is going on was exposed to the public in all its details, it would generate a backlash of public opinion.
Australia’s defence forces should not be used as vehicles for overseas aggression. Their perpose should be to defend Australia territory form any real external threat.
They should be under the control of another nations. This denies Australia’s sovereignty and puts the nation at risk.