August 15, 2004


Washington Expected to Refocus Military Strength in Asia (Benjamin Sand, 15 Aug 2004, VOA)

Richard Baker, a military and political analyst with the East-West Center in Hawaii, says the realignment will strengthen America's military capabilities in Asia even if it ultimately means fewer troops in the region.

"The message for the region as a whole is the United States is modernizing and upgrading its capability to provide the security guarantees that it has been providing for a long time in the region," he said.

Washington has said for some time that it wants to recast what is essentially a Cold War deployment into a modern force capable of addressing contemporary threats, such as terrorism.

Mr. Baker suggests the War on Terror should result in reduced troop levels in South Korea and Japan, but that America's military focus on other parts of the region should increase.

"Other countries where we have cooperative arrangements, including Singapore, including Australia and various other countries in the region, will be affected by the new configuration of American forces because in many instances we'll be doing more things with those other countries than we had been before," explained Mr. Baker.

The United States already supports the Philippine government's fight against Muslim separatists, and contributes to Malaysian and Indonesian security operations in the Strait of Malacca, which is thought to be especially vulnerable to terrorist actions.

Meanwhile, John Kerry still hangs on France's every word.

Posted by Orrin Judd at August 15, 2004 12:28 PM
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