At National Defense Academy (NDA), we were taught finer details of the military strategy used by warring nations to achieve victory during the two world wars. The most striking feature was that both world wars resulted from the desire to establish regional and global supremacy only by ‘white people.’
Asian and African nations were sucked into the melee because most nations were ruled by ‘whites.’ The mention of Australia rarely featured except that it was used as a colony for rehabilitating ‘exceptional British citizens,’ who were selected by the British judiciary.
Numerous causes, viz militarism, ultra-nationalism, and even the assassination of prominent figures, catalyzed the war. However, in the case of both world wars, a common denominator was the formation of alliances/treaties between a group of nations aimed at opposing/containing the influence of another nation/group of countries.
One of the most famous treaties was the Treaty of Versailles, signed to end the First World War in 1919. Many historians have opined that the Treaty was not a peace treaty.
Instead, it was the root cause of the Second World War. The Treaty imposed severe restrictions on Germany to the extent that Germans felt humiliated, leading to the birth of Nazi culture and the rise of Hitler. The rest is history.
The Second World War ended due to the most inhuman act committed by the USA in deciding to drop the atomic bomb on Japanese cities on August 6 and 9, 1945. The USA, then a component of the Allied power, resorted to the most indiscreet military action in the history of humanity to test the effects of the ultimate weapon of mass destruction as a technology demonstrator.
Why did the USA bomb Japan nearly 3000 km from the US mainland? Why did the USA not decide to bomb Germany, the leader of the Axis powers? Was the ‘color of the skin’ a factor determining between Japan and Germany?
Post-Second World War Scenario
Post-Second World War, three important international events took place. These were the creation of the United Nations and the birth of the two most prominent military alliances, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and the Warsaw Pact. Seventy-five years later UN exists sans any beneficial influence in international affairs.
NATO is ‘brain dead’ as claimed by outgoing German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and Warsaw Pact has been extinguished after the disintegration of the Soviet Union.
Numerous new treaties and alliances have taken birth all over the globe, mainly for the region’s economic development by way of increased trading and sharing surplus resources with friendly neighbors.
Three alliances of relatively recent origin are essentially military alliances aimed at containing increasing Chinese influence. These are QUAD (USA, Japan, Australia, and India as members), AUKUS (Australia, United Kingdom, and USA as members), and CHIP 4 (Japan, Korea, Taiwan, and USA).
The USA was the driving force for all these three alliances. The US needed India to rejuvenate the nearly ‘extinct and dead’ QUAD, but the USA conveniently overlooked India while forming CHIP 4 alliance.
QUAD was dormant for over a decade, with Japan and Australia no longer interested/disinterested in being a part of QUAD. The gradual increase in the intensity of the trade war between the USA and China, which reached a crescendo during the last few months of Trump’s presidency, forced the USA to convince Japan and Australia to come on board and actively participate in QUAD activities along with India.
A stark reality has dawned on military strategists worldwide: China cannot be contained unless India is part of the alliance. India’s unique position on the globe is India’s strength. USA’s stated policy of alliances has been governed/continues to be governed by the paradox “if you are not with us, you are against us.”
So far, Australia’s stand on nuclear proliferation has been that of containment. However, the sudden and overnight change in Australia’s decision to acquire nuclear-powered submarines from the USA is a matter of surprise and concern.
Canceling the deal with France is a financial issue with little or no strategic significance. France’s violent and volatile reaction to the deal’s cancellation has evaporated in thin air in due course. The USA has already applied the ‘balm’ by deciding to buy French Barracuda submarines and ‘donate’ them to Vietnam.
However, Australia did not have to join a new military alliance to purchase US nuclear submarines. In that context, Australia surprised the whole world by joining AUKUS. In doing so, it has invited not only the wrath of China but also its ‘trusted friend and ally’ France. The formation of AUKUS has sown the seeds of the Third World War, which may be inadvertent.
Little digression at this stage is essential to highlight the ‘white skin’ mentality concerning economic issues. The angst of France against Australia and the USA emanates from the loss of nearly USD 100 Billion in contracts for manufacturing 12 diesel-electric submarines.
In a deft move, the USA snatched the contract from France by promising to supply nuclear-powered submarines to Australia. France has retaliated violently in diplomatic parlance by recalling its ambassadors from Australia and USA.
The duplicitous behavior of France would be quite evident if we examined the reaction of France to a few international issues of global concern. Did China’s recent actions of crushing freedom in Hong Kong and declaring the South China Sea as Chinese territory result in France recalling its ambassador from China?
No. Did the Russian invasion of Ukraine ruffle diplomatic feathers in France during the early stage of the war? No. Hence prudent behavior of France indicates the fragility of relations of ‘white-skinned’ nations.
Would France have reacted similarly to forming AUKUS if the submarine contract had not been snatched away, and France, too, would have been part of AUKUS?
Joe Biden’s decision has angered France and the entire European Union. What, however, is surprising is that the USA has termed AUKUS as a strategic Indo-Pacific alliance without India being a part of AUKUS. A look at the globe will prove the point if a triangle is drawn joining Australia, UK, and USA.
As expected, China has reacted violently, at least in diplomatic parlance. One of the statements made by a Chinese Foreign Ministry representative reads: “If Australia dares to provoke China more blatantly because of that, or even find fault militarily, China will punish it with no mercy. Thus Australian troops are also most likely to be the first batch of western soldiers to waste their lives in the South China Sea.”
The core issue of ownership of the South China Sea (SCS) merits a look into. It was in 1940 that a Chinese geographer printed a map of the South China Sea with a U-shaped line called the ‘Nine Dash Line.’ If the line’s authenticity is accepted, China owns nearly 90% of the South China Sea. Coupled with provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and newly created artificial islands in SCS, which China calls its sovereign territory, the entire SCS becomes Chinese territory.
There was hardly any opposition to Chinese claims in SCS in the past 70-odd years (1940-2010). SCS issue became ‘news’ only after the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) delivered the judgment in favor of the Philippines a few years back. The Chinese activity in creating artificial islands is known to have commenced more than a decade ago.
No country ever highlighted Freedom of Navigation Operations (FONOPS)-related issues in SCS and Chinese opposition to the transit. Only in the last few years (particularly after the COVID-19 outbreak in December 2019) have Australia, the USA, and other ‘White Skinned’ nations raised the bogey of Chinese sovereignty in SCS. Vietnam, Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia, and Taiwan have disputes with China over the Chinese claim of SCS.
But even these nations did not raise the issue of the Nine Dash line with the same intensity as in the past few years. The issue came into prominence when in 2009, China included a map marking the Nine Dash line and documents submitted to the UN during a dispute with Vietnam. The primary reason for the dispute relates to the ownership of the Paracel and Spratly islands.
Originally Nine Dash line was the Eleven Dash line conceived by Chinese geographer Yang, who named each reef/rock and called it SCS. Time Magazine published a feature on SCS in 1947. However, in 1952, the Eleven Dash line became the Nine Dash line when Chairman Mao-Tse-Tung (now Mao Zedong) accepted that the Gulf of Tonkin belonged to Vietnam.
However, the U-shape of the Nine Dash line remained. Each Dash represents the median line between islands in SCS and large landmasses around it. The current flashpoints, in addition to turmoil in SCS, which might instead act as a catalyst to envelop the entire globe into the Third World War, are listed below:
- Russia-Ukraine standoff: Russia-USA and NATO standoff is the most explosive issue currently. Russia has already announced the use of nukes if military support to Ukraine by USA-led NATO nations continues. The final nail in the coffin will be Ukraine’s admission into the NATO fold. Despite the verbal assurance of the USA that NATO will not move eastward, membership of Finland and Sweden is under active consideration but for the objection of Turkey and Hungary.
- Iran-Israel conflict over Iran’s nuclear capability: Fresh discussions on reviving the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) are underway. Irrespective of the outcome, Israel will no longer wait and take appropriate action to prevent Iran from producing weapon-grade Uranium. Iran will retaliate, resulting in US assistance to Israel, thus expanding the spectrum of war.
- Chinese threat to Taiwan: Repeated incursion in Taiwanese territory by large formations of PLAAF fighters/bombers is not only for the show of force but also for collecting Signals Intelligence (SIGINT) for a possible strike. Taiwan Air Force strike elements are spread over four bases. An airborne assault by China to neutralize these four air bases cannot be ruled out in conjunction with an amphibious assault on western shores.
- Belligerent attitude of North Korea: Continuous testing of various SSMs (incl ICBM class) is a concern. North Korea is poised to carry out the seventh nuclear test anytime. China continues to support North Korea.
- Russian and US military presence in the Middle East: The Middle East is still burning. US forces are still in Syria. Evacuation from Afghanistan and Iraq was due to public pressure within the USA.
India’s Role In QUAD
India’s active participation in QUAD merits a look into it. QUAD is a military alliance with three other nations who have consistently opposed India’s stand on two vital issues: Jammu and Kashmir and India going nuclear. The duplicitous approach of Australia is most prominent in this regard.
The US is the only nation to have used weapons of mass destruction. Japanese opposition to the nuclear option is understandable, being the only country to have suffered destruction from a nuclear weapon. The Indo-Pacific term has become the most talked about strategic issue.
Geography enables India to not only protect its interest in the Indian Ocean but also control the traffic through the most critical waterway on the globe. A threat, if any, will develop from ports in Pakistan. Four important Pakistani ports, Jiwani, Gwadar, Pasni, and Ormara, will pose a danger if Pakistan allows the Navies of Indian adversaries to operate.
However, all four ports are within the IAF range and can be neutralized. The USA attempts to use the ‘Indian Shoulder’ to contain China. Indeed our decision-makers are aware of this stark reality.
We will never know who was responsible for the airliner crash in which Dr. Homi Bhabha traveled! White Skin nations do not give a damn before launching a missile on an airliner, be it a KAL OO7 by Russia or an Iranian Airliner by the USA during the Gulf War.
India and China can, instead, will resolve their differences amicably shortly because mutual animosity will be detrimental to both nations. The Galwan Valley standoff must be viewed as a blessing in disguise. It enabled India to flex its muscles to protect its territorial integrity.
China has received the message. China and India must reconcile their differences from a position of strength. Any attempt to prove precedence over each other will be counterproductive. India must remain clear of ‘white skin’ (read US and EU) intent to corner China by placing India in front as a QUAD member.
Unlike the First and Second World Wars, which were essentially fought for regional/global supremacy by ‘White Skins,’ the Third World War might be fought based on maintaining the supremacy of color of skin.
The formation of AUKUS and the supply of nuclear submarines by the USA to Australia are among the most terrible strategic decisions – it has also sown the seeds of the Third World War.
The Russia-Ukraine war has now turned into Russia vs. NATO and the USA. The G-20 Foreign Ministers meeting in Delhi on March 3 and 4 was significant for multiple reasons.
US Secretary of state Anthony Blinken declared that there would be consequences if China supported Russia militarily. China invariably reacts adversely to such counseling (read warning/threat), as it did when the USA gave China the nuke threat during the Korean war.
World is slowly but surely heading towards a possible global conflict.
- Gp Cpt TP Srivastava (Retd) is an ex-NDA who flew MiG-21 and 29. He is a qualified flying instructor. He commanded the MiG-21 squadron. He is a directing staff at DSSC Wellington and chief instructor at the College of Air Warfare. VIEWS PERSONAL OF THE AUTHOR
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