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US uses ‘freedom of navigation operations’ to heighten global tensions: Analyst

This US Navy handout photo shows the Carl Vinson Carrier Strike Group

The American Empire is intent on flexing its military muscle wherever it can in order to provoke its self-proclaimed adversaries without any regard for international law or the norms of diplomacy, says Dennis Etler, an American political analyst who has a decades-long interest in international affairs.

Etler, a former professor of Anthropology at Cabrillo College in Aptos, California, made the remarks in an interview with Press TV on Thursday after the United States sent a guided-missile destroyer near the contested waters of the Sea of Japan, off the Russian coast.

The US Navy USS McCampbell on Wednesday sailed in the vicinity of Peter the Great Bay, near the Russian Pacific Fleet base in Vladivostok, in a first such stunt since 1987 — the peak of Cold War tensions with the former Soviet Union.

“The sailing of the US Navy guided missile destroyer USS McCampbell near Peter the Great Bay, an inlet of the Sea of Japan, in the northwestern Pacific Ocean, in the Maritime region of far eastern Russia, is a premeditated provocation meant to increase tensions in the region,” Professor Etler said.  

“The bay extends for 115 miles (185 km) from the mouth of the Tumen River (on the Russian-Chinese border) northeast across to Cape Povorotny. The bay reaches inland for 55 miles (88 km) and contains the port of Vladivostok, which serves as the base of the Russian Pacific fleet. It is an historic bay well within the sovereign jurisdiction of the Russian Federation. There is nothing contested about the waters near the Bay and no ‘excessive maritime claims’ made by Russia in the Sea of Japan,” he stated.  

“This fiction is simply an excuse to extend the reach of US naval operations into a region in which it has no legitimate reason to venture,” he noted.

“The US is intent on flexing its military muscle wherever it can provoke its self-proclaimed adversaries. It is challenging Russia not only in the Sea of Japan, but in the Black and Baltic Seas, areas central to Russia’s national security. The same applies to provocative actions by the US navy in the South China Sea meant to provoke the People’s Republic of China,” the analyst said.

“It is the US which has escalated tensions in these and other maritime areas, such as the Strait of Hormuz between the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman, in order to impose its hegemonic influence throughout the world,” he said.

“The US feels that it can go anywhere in the world it deems necessary to protect its so-called ‘national interest.’ It will invade the territory of any sovereign nation, kidnap or kill whomever they please when they are seen as a threat to its ‘national security,’ and otherwise act unilaterally with impunity without regard to international law or the norms of diplomacy,” he stated.  

“It imposes economic sanctions on any rival it wishes and forces other nations to comply against their will, leading to the deaths of thousands if not millions of innocent victims. And then it has the audacity to accuse nations that defend themselves against its depredations as aggressors! Enough is enough!” he concluded.

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