The US lectures us about a ‘rules based international order’ but ignores rules when it suits – think Diego Garcia

Aug 5, 2022
DIEGO GARCIA (March 8, 2008) Sailors aboard the fast-attack submarine USS Dallas
Image: Flickr / Marion Doss

China is rightly criticised for building islands for military purposes in the South China Sea while ignoring an advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) brought by the Philippines. But what of the huge US base in Diego Garcia?

With the cooperation of the UK, the US has occupied Diego Garcia and turned it into a vast military base in defiance of an ICJ advisory opinion and an overwhelming vote by the UN General Assembly.

I wonder if our media know where Diego Garcia is or can even spell its name! Let alone know anything about its history.

Diego Garcia is very significant because the US, with UK cooperation, has defied international rules and norms to build an enormous military base from which it is able to attack a wide arc of countries including Southern China.

Consider the following:

  • Diego Garcia is part of the Chagos Islands. Chagos is an archipelago scattered across the middle of the Indian Ocean. It was the last British possession in Africa.
  • In 1965 it was excised by the British from Mauritius and renamed the ‘British Indian Ocean Territory’.
  • Between 1968 and 2003 the entire population of about 2000 people was rounded up by the UK and forcibly removed from BOT to Mauritius, Seychelles and Britain.
  • One of the islands, Diego Garcia, in the Chagos Archipelago was leased in 1966 by Britain to the US for 50 years with a 20-year extension option, despite the island being claimed by Mauritius.
  • The US has built an enormous airforce and naval base on Diego Garcia. It became fully operational in 1968 and now has over 5,000 US service personnel and contractors. It was used as a base for attacks on Afghanistan and Iraq. It is a key US military base in the middle of the Indian Ocean. Amongst other things, it is used for bomber training missions over the South China Sea. It was used for rendition flights.
  • In 2017 the UN General Assembly voted by a large majority(94-15) to refer the request for an advisory opinion on Diego Garcia to the International Court if Justice.
  • In September 2018, 13 of the 14 judges of the ICJ concluded that the Chagos Islands, including Diego Garcia were illegally separated from Mauritius.
  • In May 2019 the UN General Assembly voted overwhelmingly(116-6) to endorse the Court’s opinion that the Chagos Islands, including Diego Garcia, belonged to Mauritius. Apart from the US and the UK only four countries AUSTRALIA, Hungary, Israel and the Maldives voted in favour of the British neo-colonial claim.
  • In November 2019, Britain refused to abide by the ICJ opinion and for the US to leave Chagos/Diego Garcia.
  • In 2020 the UN published a map showing Chagos/Diego Garcia as part of Mauritius.

Despite all this, the US sits tight on its key military base of Diego Garcia which is thousands of kilometres from its mainland. In contrast, China’s building of islands in the South China Sea is adjacent to its own territory.

China is ringed by enormous US bases particularly in Japan, South Korea and Diego Garcia. The US Fleet with support from Australia and the UK patrol up and down the China coast. With this threat it is not so surprising that China is increasing its defence spending.

Presumably, the US will stay on Diego Garcia until 2036 when the lease, granted illegally by the UK, expires.

Our mainstream media reminds us incessantly of China’s action in the South China Sea. But is scarcely publishes a word about the serious breach of international rules and norms by the UK and the US in Diego Garcia and elsewhere. As always, our media and the government is drawn along in the US slipstream.

The dishonest and dangerous anti-China paranoia in Australian mainstream media is revealed time and time again. It may be just ignorance and laziness .In some cases it wreaks of prejudice that can be traced back to the ‘yellow peril’ of long ago.

Phillip Coorey in the AFR pontificated that ‘…the concern is that China does not adhere to the rules based order’. He should know better. The US, China and Australia abide by the ‘rules based order’ when it suits . We ‘cherry pick’ as it pleases us.

Besides Diego Garcia just think of the illegal war that the US, with our support, waged against Iraq with death and disastrous consequences for millions of people. We breach international rules as we consistently describe asylum seekers as ‘illegals’ when clearly they are not.

But our White Man’s Media will not tell us the truth about the US and its consistent breach of rules.If you think you are an ‘exceptional’ country as the US things of itself then the rules can be enforced against others but leave you free to do as you please . The US is the  most aggressive and dangerous country in the world today. Power matters, not rules.

For more details concerning Diego Garcia see the two following links:

http://www.nybooks.com/daily/2020/06/23/britains-colonial-legacy-on-trial-at-the-hague/

https://thediplomat.com/2019/03/americas-golden-opportunity-to-demonstrate-its-support-for-international-order/

 

This is an updated version of an earlier post.

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