In November, Presidents Joe Biden and Xi Jinping may meet on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, or APEC. That would be a good chance to salvage China-US relations, but not under the cloud of Biden asking Congress for $105 billion to fund war. Biden wants $7.4 billion of that request for allies in the “Indo-Pacific” region, which is already suffering from military escalation and environmental crises.
Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin traveled to Manila earlier this year to voice “ironclad” support for the Mutual Defense Treaty, a 1951 agreement between the US and the Philippines born out of the legacy of colonization; hosting US military bases was a condition for the island nation’s independence. With Austin’s visit, Manila has granted the US access to four more of its military bases as President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. prepares to join contingencies in Taiwan.
The US now has unimpeded military access to Papua New Guinea, after Secretary of State Antony Blinken signed a security pact opposed by student protesters during his visit in April. This month, the US, Japan, and South Korea conducted their first combined aerial drills ever, targeting North Korea and China. Biden is also expanding the US military’s ecological footprint in Okinawa, where drinking water has long been poisoned by PFAS, known as a forever chemical due to its slow ability to break down.
Here’s an overview of the money Biden is requesting to militarize the Asia-Pacific, as well as what has already been approved or requested for 2024 by his administration and Congress.
Asia-Pacific Military Spending In Biden’s $105 Billion Request:
- $7.4 billion requested for militarizing Asia-Pacific and Taiwan
- $3.4 billion of that for a military base hosting attack submarines
Proposed and Approved Asia-Pacific Military Spending (Pre-Request):
- $9.1 billion proposed by Pentagon for Pacific Deterrence Initiative
- $9.4 billion requested by US Navy for Virginia SSN-774 attack submarines
- $500 million approved by White House for Taiwan military aid
- $10 billion for Taiwan military aid through 2027 approved by US Senate in 2022
Meanwhile, 2023 is on track to be the hottest year on record. The planet’s temperature has already breached 1.5° C for a record number of days this year. We’ve seen fatal floods in Brooklyn and deadly heatwaves in Hebei province. About 113 million people in Africa will likely become refugees in the coming decades, along with 40 million in South Asia, if we don't get serious about the climate crisis. In 2021, Biden pledged $11 billion in annual climate finance by 2024.
If we add the Pacific Deterrence Initiative’s proposed budget and the cost of AUKUS’ attack submarines to the requested $7.4 billion, we could spend at least $25 billion next year. That’s more than double the cost of Biden’s stated climate agenda. For the survival of our species and peace across the Pacific, Biden must strike a climate finance deal when he meets Xi.
Cale and the ENTIRE CODEPINK team