According to a recent report by the Wall Street Journal, the Pentagon is considering plans to transfer heavily armed, versatile Marine Corps Expeditionary Units (MEU) to East-Asia, citing the rapidly expanding Chinese influence in the region.
After 16-years of military embarrassments in the Middle East, the Pentagon appears to have realized that its misfortunes in the area have transformed into nothing more than Vietnam 2.0; alternatively it is merely provoking Asian superpowers into a new race for military dominance in the region.
Washington’s drive for regional militarization (and constant wars feeding the MIC) appears is shifting away from the Middle East and onto China and Russia’s playground. President Trump’s newly issued National Defense Strategy report highlights “our [Pentagon] competitive military advantage has been eroding” throughout the world, as it has now become a national security threat. Further, the report labels, the South China Sea and the Korean Peninsula, as areas of an “increasingly complex security environments,” which the Pentagon will start transferring military assets to the region, to combat the threat because it is jeopardizing the American empire.
“Today, we are emerging from a period of strategic atrophy, aware that our competitive military advantage has been eroding. We are facing increased global disorder, characterized by decline in the long-standing rules-based international order—creating a security environment more complex and volatile than any we have experienced in recent memory. Inter-state strategic competition, not terrorism, is now the primary concern in U.S. national security.”
“China is a strategic competitor using predatory economics to intimidate its neighbors while militarizing features in the South China Sea. Russia has violated the borders of nearby nations and pursues veto power over the economic, diplomatic, and security decisions of its neighbors. As well, North Korea’s outlaw actions and reckless rhetoric continue despite United Nation’s censure and sanctions.”
The Wall Street Journal says the Pentagon intends to boost its military appearance in the East Pacific with the deployment of Marine Expeditionary Units. A Marine expeditionary unit (MEU, pronounced “Mew”), is a group of 2,200 marines who are part of the quick reaction force and are usually deployed to a region for an upcoming or immediate crisis. A unit deploys about 2,200 marines who operate amphibious assault ships, aircraft, helicopters, tanks, heavy weapons, and other military assets. Each MEU is equipped with:
Officials said these shifts are “major muscle movements,” as the Pentagon transfers military equipment and personnel redeployments, and are aimed at “a global resetting of forces” rather than a “buildup for war.”
“We have enduring interests here, and we have an enduring commitment and we have an enduring presence here,” Gen. Joe Dunford, chairman of the Pentagon’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, who spoke about America’s reshuffling of armed forces during an eight-day visit through Asia last week.
.@thejointstaff #GenDunford finishes latest trip to Asia-Pacific reinforcing America’s history in the region and planning for US future as a Pacific nation. The chairman stopped in Wake Island, @DeptDefence Australia, Thailand and Pearl Harbor/Hickam. https://t.co/4CsxOkBPvS pic.twitter.com/jlBdDA341I
— James A. Garamone (@GaramoneDODNews) February 9, 2018
MEUs deploy in seven-month rotations on Tarawa-class amphibious assault ships operated by the United States Navy; they may stay offshore for the entire time of deployment or come ashore for small periods of time to conduct training exercises. General Robert Neller said MEUs sent to Asia would jump right into military patrols and joint activities with allies.
“We have to be present and engaged to compete,” Gen. Neller said. The new defense strategy “will shape our future naval presence, especially in the Indo-Pacific region.”
WSJ says MEUs have recently been deployed to various theaters in the Middle East but will be soon departing from their native ports on the West Coast of the United States to Asia.
MEUs based on the West Coast have traveled from the U.S. to the Middle East for wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and most recently, Syria, all in the area of responsibility of U.S. Central Command. MEUs, designed to be a quick reaction force, were among the first units to arrive near northern Iraq in 2016 to set up for a campaign to free the city of Mosul from Islamic State.
Pentagon officials said they hope their new strategy on East Asia will persuade Pacific nations to stand with the U.S. “I believe the [National Defense Strategy] and other guidance requires us to adopt a more global posture and this will shape our future naval presence, especially in the Indo-Pacific region,” said Gen. Neller.
Kelly Magsamen, a former Pentagon and State Department policy official, said the new military strategy, when more fully implemented, will require careful diplomacy and a robust economic approach: “Follow through on strategy is essential, but so is close communication and coordination with our allies and friends,” said Ms. Magsamen, now vice president national security and international policy at the Center for American Progress.
In keeping with the Pentagon’s party line, the WSJ warns that depleting military resources in the Middle East could enable Russia and China to “bolster their presence” in the region.
Some officials argue that withdrawing resources from the Middle East could allow Russia and China to bolster their presence there. Russia backs Syria’s ruler and both countries are seeking to expand their influence elsewhere in the region.
There are an estimated 35,000 US military personnel in South Korea as of August 2017. 40,000 in Japan. https://t.co/85djEbUZjk
— sedespres (@sedespres) January 31, 2018
Take Guam, an American territory in Micronesia in the Western Pacific, which has about 3,831 American soldiers on the island stationed at Anderson air force base. Last month, we reported, the B-1B Lancer bombers, the B-2 Spirit stealth bombers, and the B-52H Stratofortress bombers are now ‘temporarily’ stationed at Andersen Air Force Base. Nevertheless, the show of force wound down this month, when the B-1Bs return to Ellsworth Air Force Base in South Dakota.
Curiously, the Pentagon’s military build-up in Asia comes as Pyongyang and Seoul are making some progress towards engaging in dialogue over North Korea’s reckless nuclear and rocket programs. Further, the United States is becoming increasingly worried about Beijing’s drive to militarize the heavily disputed artificially-created islands it controls in the South China Sea.
America’s legacy of failed wars in the Middle East is quietly being swept under the carpet. The Pentagon is now vocally repositioning itself for the next boogeyman being Russia, China, and North Korea, as highlighted in the 2018 National Defense Strategy. It is likely that the Trump administration with the Pentagon will condition the American people through psychological operations, about how America’s competitive military advantage is eroding, and the need to transfer military assets to the Asia Pacific is critical for America’s survival. This alarming trend will continue for at least President Trump’s first term, and if he gets elected again, it will definitely persist until the next World War starts.
Meanwhile, Beijing is preparing for the next global conflict with a new era of modernization of the country’s armed forces, the largest in the world, including AI-Enabled Nuclear Submarines, fifth-generation fighters, and hypersonic weapons.
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