US President Trump’s trip to 5 countries in Asia in the second week of November – the longest Asia trip by a US President in 25 years -- was aimed primarily at boosting arms sales by the US Military-Industrial Complex and further strengthening US hegemony in Asia. It took place in the backdrop of heightened aggressive US military presence in South Korea, provocations and daily threats directed against the DPRK (North Korea) as well as the slanders by the US administration and the international media under its control against the DPRK for defending its sovereignty. The last part of the trip also included the ASEAN summit in Manila, Philippines, where talks were held between Indian Prime Minister Modi and US President Trump on strengthening the “quadrilateral alliance” – an alliance of US, India, Australia and Japan – in the Indo-Pacific region.
Addressing US and Japanese troops at Yokota air base near Tokyo, at the start of his trip, Trump declared with typical US imperialist arrogance “No one, no dictator, no regime … should underestimate American resolve”. He made the purpose of his trip amply clear when, at a press conference in Tokyo, Trump said pointing at Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, “[He] will shoot [North Korea’s] missiles out of the sky when he completes the purchase of lots of equipment from the United States. One very important thing is that Prime Minister Abe is going to be purchasing massive amounts of [US-made] military equipment, as he should. We make the best by far … it’s a lot of jobs for us, and a lot of safety for Japan (The Guardian, 6/11/2017).”
Trump used his platform in Japan to audaciously repeat the lie that North Korea is a “threat to the civilized world”, when North Korea is only trying to defend itself against the constant threats and provocations by US. The people of North Korea have not forgotten or forgiven the untold crimes committed by the US armed forces during the Korean War (1950-53) which devastated the whole country and killed nearly a third of the then population of North Korea. North Korea has not attacked or threatened any other country. It has appealed to the UN to restrain the massive US war preparations in the region, but these appeals have been ignored. Instead, Trump has threatened to “unleash fire and fury” and reduce DPRK to “rubble”!
On the other hand, the people of the world know very well that US imperialism is the biggest threat to world peace, the most rapacious and aggressive military power, that has blatantly flouted all international conventions to aggress upon one country after another, in pursuit of its aim of dominating the world. Since the end of World War II, tens of millions of people all over the world have been killed in direct aggressions by the US armed forces or their NATO allies, or in civil wars instigated, armed and financed by the US imperialists, aimed at bringing down regimes who have stood up for their independence and refused to fall in line with the US imperialist designs. Entire nations and peoples have been destroyed. The US has imposed crippling sanctions, blockade and economic boycott on countries that dare to defy its dictate, among the latest victims being Iran and Venezuela.
In Saudi Arabia Trump signed a record weapons sales contract of 110 billion dollars, of bombs, planes and tanks. Saudi Arabia is one of the main support bases of the US war machine in Central Asia and the Gulf region, helping to advance the US imperialists’ interests. It has carried out and continues to carry out overt bombing and military aggression as well as covert intervention through various armed militia groups, in Syria and Yemen, totally devastating those countries. It is the US imperialists’ bulwark against Iran in the region.
In South Korea, Trump once again shrilled up his slanders and threats against Pyongyang and the North Korean leadership. There are more than 30,000 US troops stationed in South Korea at this time along with an ominous arms arsenal including nuclear weapons that have the potential to destroy all the countries of East Asia in a few moments. Even as Trump was visiting South Korea, three US navy aircraft carriers were positioning themselves in attack mode at North Korea's coast. On December 4, hundreds of aircraft including two dozen stealth jets of the US and South Korea began a massive joint air exercise threatening North Korea. The US has imposed severe sanctions against the DPRK. Trump signed billions of dollars of more arms sales with the South Korean regime. This, at a time when more that 80% of people in South Korea want peace with North Korea and reunification with their families they have been separated from for more than half a century.
In Beijing, China, Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping signed contracts for some 250 billion dollars-worth of investment and trade deals as “non-binding memoranda of understanding”, in transportation, agriculture, IT and finance. This was part of the effort by the US to reduce its 250 billion dollar trade deficit with China.
On his last stop in Da Nang, Vietnam, Trump attended the APEC (Asian Pacific Economic Cooperation) summit (10-11 November).
On November 14, US President Trump and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi met on the sidelines of the ASEAN summit in Manila, Philippines. Their talks are reported to have focused on the US push for a larger role for India in the strategically important Indo-Pacific region, in which four countries – India, Australia, Japan and the US -- have stepped up efforts to form a quadrilateral alliance, aimed at advancing US imperialist interests in the Indo-Pacific region and containing China. Although the Indian state and its corporate controlled media have been making out how the growing Indo-US strategic ties in the form of the quadrilateral alliance are a recognition of India’s big-power status in the region, in reality, it is nothing but a means of including India more closely in the military calculations of the US strategy in the Pacific region. The highlighting of the term ‘Indo-Pacific’ merely signifies US attempts to secure an Indian military commitment to the US-led alliances in the Pacific Ocean. It means increasing US imperialist and military interference and hence greater threat to peace and security in the region, which the Indian people must be very wary of and vigorously oppose.
In conclusion, US President Trump’s 5-nation trip was an entirely warmongering business trip to boost the sales and profits of the American Military-Industrial Complex, in pursuit of the US imperialist strategy of domination in Asia. Trump was claiming to be an ambassador of peace, but he was selling arms, which reflects preparations for war. A true ambassador of peace would be discussing how peace can be achieved and would be drawing other countries towards this cause.