When the Cold-War era ended, Russia lost its military stronghold around the world and was reduced to a mere “regional power”. Since then, its influence has also been challenged by countries that had traditionally fallen under its sphere of influence, the latest being Ukraine.
Meanwhile, the US emerged triumphantly to become the sole superpower with the capability to project its military power virtually anywhere in the world by using its military bases, which are scattered worldwide, including in the Asia-Pacific region.
The maintenance of these military bases augured well with the US’ forward-strategy military doctrine, dictating that it would only engage in military campaigns outside of US territory. The US government was, therefore, shocked when al-Qaeda brought the theater of war to US soil in September 2001, by attacking the financial center of New York and the Pentagon.
The US’ reaction to the 9/11 attacks was as forceful as it was deadly. Under the banner of a War on Terror, the US led international coalition forces to invade Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya.