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China and Russia seek a world where force is used to resolve disputes, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin warned Saturday, vowing that the United States will continue defending humanitarian principles and international law. news online
“Beijing, like Moscow, seeks a world where might makes right, where disputes are resolved by force, and where autocrats can stamp out the flame of freedom,” Austin told the Halifax International Security Forum in Canada.
Moscow’s war against Kyiv “has underscored the challenge that we face in the Indo-Pacific, where (China) is also pushing for something very far from our vision of a free and stable and open international system,” Austin said.
Chinese activities around Taiwan are growing “increasingly provocative,” he said, with Beijing’s aircraft flying close to the island on a near-daily basis and carrying out a number of dangerous intercepts of US and allied planes.
Washington has identified China and its efforts to refashion the Indo-Pacific region as the most consequential challenge faced by the United States.
The US National Defense Strategy, released last month, also said Russia’s invasion of Ukraine highlights the “acute threats” Moscow poses, which Washington is working to deter.
Austin linked the two challenges in his speech on Saturday, and said that if one country is able to get away with violations, others will follow.
“There are still rules in war. And if a big power can flaunt those rules, it encourages others to defy international law and international norms,” he said.
“We are determined to defend those rules — and especially the bedrock principle of noncombatant immunity.”
Austin also said Moscow’s efforts to gain support from countries such as Iran and North Korea create new security challenges for the United States and its allies.
“Russia has turned to Iran and North Korea to help its assault on Ukraine, including using Iranian drones to kill Ukrainian civilians,” he said.
Washington has said Iranian personnel were in Crimea helping Russia carry out drone attacks on Ukraine, which Tehran has denied.
Austin said that Ukraine is facing a tough winter ahead, and that Moscow may again turn to nuclear saber-rattling as it suffers losses on the battlefield, pledging that the US and its allies would meet those challenges.
“Russia’s invasion offers a preview of a possible world of tyranny and turmoil that none of us would want to live in,” he said.
© Agence France-Presse. All rights are reserved.
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Notes from APS Radio News
Before assuming his title of Secretary of Defense, Mr. Austin was a member of the board of Raytheon Technologies. a major military contractor.
At Wikipedia, the latter’s description of Mr. Austin read, in part:
“Immediately after retiring as CENTCOM Commander, Austin joined the board of Raytheon Technologies, a military contractor, in April 2016. As of October 2020, his Raytheon stock holdings were worth roughly $500,000 and his compensation, including stock, totaled $2.7 million. On September 18, 2017, he was appointed to Nucor’s board of directors. On May 29, 2018, Austin was appointed as an independent director on the board of Tenet Healthcare. He also operates a consulting firm and has been a partner at Pine Island Capital, an investment company with which Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Michèle Flournoy are affiliated.”
According to govconwire.com, “Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT), Boeing (NYSE: BA) and Raytheon Technologies (NYSE: RTX) received the most money through Department of Defense contracts during the government’s 2021 fiscal year, according to data from the Pentagon’s Office of Local Defense Community Cooperation.”
Thus far, since Russia had invaded Ukraine in February this year, the US has give Ukraine over $100 billion in military assistance, included over 1,400 stinger ant-aircraft systems, high-speed anti-aircraft missiles (HARMS) and 142 155 mm Howitzers, to name only a few of the categories the Biden administration has provided Ukraine since February, according to stimson.org