YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, JAPAN — The U.S. Navy’s fast-attack nuclear submarines are usually supposed to stay out of sight, but when the U.S.S. Hawaii docked here late last week, the apparent idea was to make a very visible impression.
Big, dark, looming in the harbor waters, the Virginia-class nuclear sub showed up to reassure the uneasy Japanese that American power is still on their side, and still a force to be reckoned with.
“The United States’s capability used to be big and present on land but has increasingly been moved to the sea or back to the U.S.,” said Scott Harold, a political scientist at the Rand Corporation.
“Our allies don’t see us as much anymore, so they don’t feel as secure anymore. We can remind them, as well as our potential adversaries that might threaten us, that we are there,” he said.