Saturday, December 24, 2011

Playing with fire: Obama's threat to China - Opinion

Source: Al Jazeera English

In line with its new strategy, the Obama administration has undertaken a number of moves intended to bolster US power in Asia, and so put China on the defensive. These include a decision to deploy an initial 250 US Marines -someday to be upped to 2,500 -to an Australian air base in Darwin on that country's north coast, and the adoption on November 18 of "the Manila Declaration", a pledge of closer US military ties with the Philippines.

At the same time, the White House announced the sale of 24 F-16 fighter jets to Indonesia and a visit by Hillary Clinton to isolated Burma, long a Chinese ally -the first there by a secretary of state in 56 years. Clinton has also spoken of increased diplomatic and military ties with Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam -all countries surrounding China or overlooking key trade routes that China relies on for importing raw materials and exporting manufactured goods. As portrayed by administration officials, such moves are intended to maximise America's advantages in the diplomatic and military realm at a time when China dominates the economic realm regionally.

In a recent article in Foreign Policy magazine, Clinton revealingly suggested that an economically weakened United States can no longer hope to prevail in multiple regions simultaneously. It must choose its battlefields carefully and deploy its limited assets -most of them of a military nature -to maximum advantage. Given Asia's strategic centrality to global power, this means concentrating resources there.

This is a Suspicious News Brief. Read more at Al Jazeera English.

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