America’s rebalance to Asia is real today. Whether it endures as a permanent feature of U.S. foreign and defense policy very much depends on the next several years. A bit of money, a lot of strategy, and adroit diplomacy can combine to lock in what should be a lasting pillar of America’s military power and influence.
In 2011, President Obama addressed Australia’s Parliament with words designed to resonate throughout the region. “As we end today’s wars, I have directed my national security team to make our presence and mission in the Asia-Pacific [region] a top priority… As we plan and budget for the future, we will allocate the resources necessary to maintain our strong military presence in this region. We will preserve our unique ability to project power and deter threats to peace… Our enduring interests in the region demand our enduring presence in the region. The United States is a Pacific power, and we are here to stay.”
It was an extraordinary speech that helped quell concerns among allies and partners in Asia that declining U.S. defense spending would reduce America’s military presence there – a presence that is widely considered to be stabilizing in a region experiencing great geopolitical change. Indeed, in recent years, America’s treaty allies and enduring partners in the region have called for more U.S. military presence and interaction, not less.
Read the full article at Defense One.