The United States government labelling another country an “aggressor” is about as ironic as the phrase “US Department of Defense”.
The US has roughly 750 military bases in more than 80 different countries. At least 173,000 troops are deployed around the world. By comparison, China has just one military base outside its borders. The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq—along with simultaneous interventions in dozens of countries—demonstrate that this power projection is not just for show.
The United States has formally declared war only eleven times in its history, but the invasions of Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq are not on the list, because the US has not formally declared war since World War Two, despite invading or intervening in dozens of countries. According to a report from the Congressional Research Service, there have been more than 200 instances of the use of US armed forces abroad from 1945 to today—not including covert operations or interventions led by intelligence services.
According to the Costs of War project at Brown University, at least 929,000 people have been killed by direct war violence in countries targeted by the US since 2001. The number of civilians killed in US drone strikes is known to be high, but precise figures are impossible to determine because the military has modified its definition of “combatant” to cover up mass murder.
The US is an exporter of weapons and training to governments around the world, including military dictatorships. From Saudi bombs dropped on homes in Yemen to Israeli rockets landing in Gaza, shrapnel around the world often carries the label “Made in USA”.
So many aircraft and ships are patrolling trade routes, deploying to conflict zones and performing drills so consistently that the US military remains the top polluter and carbon emitter of any single organisation on the planet.
In 2020, US military spending represented nearly 40 percent of the global total with an estimated expenditure of US$778 billion, tens of billions above the budget allotted by Congress. Despite withdrawing from Afghanistan, the Biden administration is now calling for a further increase in the military budget to US$768 billion.
In the post-WWII period, Australia has forged a close alliance with US military might as a way of enhancing its own power in the Asia-Pacific region. The recent AUKUS deal cements that relationship for decades to come and ensures that Australia will continue in its role as the US empire’s main attack dog in this region. It is therefore incumbent upon socialists in Australia to oppose Australian imperialism in the wider fight against US imperialism.
Wildfires are tearing through the Canadian province of Alberta, the heart of Canada’s lucrative oil and gas industry. The images of orange and black skies from the thick smoke—which is now billowing across the US border, causing air quality warnings in several northern states—are dystopian yet familiar.
“I’m exhausted”, declared West Australian Premier Mark McGowan, announcing his resignation at a press conference on 29 May. So too are the state’s 40,000 nurses, who, under McGowan’s government, have confronted daily staff shortages, declining real wages and attacks on their union.
While most of us are being hit hard by the biggest cost of living crisis in a generation, Australia’s “big four” banks—Commonwealth, Westpac, ANZ and NAB—have had a record-breaking start to the financial year, posting a combined half-year profit of $17.1 billion. That’s a 19 percent increase from the equivalent period in 2021, and $1.3 billion more than the previous record of $15.8 billion in 2015.
Academic workers at Rutgers University in New Jersey have achieved a stunning victory with a serious campaign of industrial action, centred on an open-ended strike. Their approach is a model for unionists in Australia.
“You’re just a performing fucking monkey”. A racist barb, and one of many pointed moments in Jacky, a Melbourne Theatre Company production currently playing at the Arts Centre. Jacky is about the politics of performing monkeys. It is about racism and exploitation, hypocrisy and resistance.
The South Australian government has followed New South Wales and Victoria to undermine democratic rights. A bi-partisan bill has been rushed through parliament’s lower house, which proposes fines up to $50,000 or three months in jail if protesters “intentionally or recklessly obstruct the public place”.