News / USA

US Military Refocus on Pacific a Work in Progress

Obama's Asia Pivot Challengedi
January 26, 2014 1:24 AM
One of the main features of the global defense strategy laid out by President Barack Obama two years ago, shifting the U.S. military's focus from the Middle East to the Asia Pacific region, is meeting significant challenges from China. VOA Pentagon correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
VIDEO: One of Obama's main global defense strategies is meeting significant challenges from China and its rapidly developing military might.
Luis Ramirez
One of the main features of the global defense strategy laid out by President Barack Obama two years ago, shifting the U.S. military's focus from the Middle East to the Asia Pacific region, is meeting significant challenges from China and its rapidly developing military power.
But U.S. military officials say American dominance of the Asia Pacific is not diminishing.
Recent actions by China, including its imposition of an aircraft identification zone over the East China Sea and a near collision between Chinese and U.S. warships, show that dominance is being challenged.
The Obama administration, in its efforts to shift focus from wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to the Pacific, where China has been building up its forces, includes strategic placement of a new aircraft carrier and the development of hypersonic missile technology. 
According to Admiral Samuel Locklear, commander of U.S. forces in the Pacific, interactions with Chinese forces in the region will only increase, and he is calling for a pragmatic approach that includes boosting military-to-military relations with China.
"We have to do better at being able to communicate with each other in a way that allows us to not lead to miscalculation that won't be productive in the security environment,” he said.
Defense analysts such Barry Pavel of the Washington-based Atlantic Council, a nonpartisan think tank that promotes constructive leadership and engagement in international affairs based on the central role of the Atlantic Community, question whether the shift in focus has actually meant a strengthening of forces in the Pacific.
“We have the deployment of 2,500 or so Marines to northern Australia that'll be there on a routine basis, not a very big nor significant deployment in my estimation," he said. "There's a couple of ships. I think they were littoral combat ships that were discussed as being home ported in Singapore, and then there really hasn't been anything else.”
The placing of a combat ship in Singapore is one of the visible signs of that refocus. The United States has announced the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan is replacing the George Washington at Yokosuka in Japan - a one-for-one swap, but one the Navy says is an element of the rebalance.
U.S. officials are reviewing their military commitments to allies in the region and say they could add more ships, equipment and troops in the future.
With the U.S. military facing its biggest downsizing since the end of World War II, analysts say it remains to be seen how large any future military investment in the Pacific will be.

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Comment Sorting
by: MikeBarnett from: USA
January 26, 2014 5:07 PM
The following 2 sentences should be added to the 2nd paragraph:

The last time Europeans, and most Israelis are descendants of European jews who began immigrating in the late 1800's, occupied the land now known as Israel, muslims fought for 195 years, from 1096 to 1291, to remove them. This "War on Terror" could continue for another 129 years, if the US and Israel last that long.

by: MikeBarnett from: USA
January 26, 2014 4:27 PM
China, Russia, and four of the "stans" in the SCO have agreed to watch Afghanistan after the US and NATO leave in 2014. China fights islamic insurgents in Xinjiang, and Russia fights them in the southern Caucasus. Chinese warships have served for years in the International Naval Force that fights piracy in the Indian Ocean, and China built and sold three warships to Pakistan that have fought Somali pirates. China has built and sold several squadrons of aircraft to Pakistan that have bombed Taliban insurgents inside Pakistan. China and Russia are de facto military allies of the US and NATO in the "War on Terror."

Osama bin Laden's first reason for war with the US was US support for Israel. If a nation gives arms and munitions to a nation at war, it is a legal target for the other side. 15 muslim countries, including Saudi Arabia, have declared war on Israel. Two of them, Egypt and Jordan, have signed peace treaties. As long as the US supports Israel, a growing number of muslims will regard the US as the enemy. Given US official attitudes toward Israel, it is unlikely that the US will renounce its relationships with Israel.

US and NATO defeats in Iraq and Afghanistan indicate that the US needs more allies. China and Russia, former WWII alllies, have volunteered. The US and future NATO countries did not adopt the political systems of Russia and China during or after WWII. The US and NATO need not adopt the political systems of China and Russia during or after the current war. However, the US and NATO could use the current and growing military power of China and Russia. We could use the world's biggest oil and gas station in Russian Siberia, and we could use the world's biggest industrial production capability in China. This might be a better solution than pivoting into another war against countries that should be US and NATO allies.

by: Gasper Somisu from: Timika-Papua
January 26, 2014 3:14 AM
The US Military focus on Pasific. They have take many of mine in Papua but never pay attention for what happen. Like infraction of Human Rigth. There was big mistake since 1969 when act of free coice happend in Papua and New York Agreement that they made troubled us. They refocus in Pacific for what ?

by: Drew Turer from: WV
January 26, 2014 1:34 AM
I have to say that this was inevitable. The Chinese are becoming ambitious and are starting to claim territory. We need men over there in case a war happens to break out. I've watched this situation for a long time now and its highly probable from my point of view.

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