The power of China has been steadily rising over the past decade, and to counter that the US military is sending more troops overseas.
Ever since President Nixon opened China to the world and President Clinton let the join the World Trade Organization (WTO) the hope was that the nation would become freer and have more rights for its people as it got richer.
Instead, the opposite has happened and China is spreading its tentacles around the world, including snapping up warm water ports for its navy and businesses wherever possible to spread global reach, known as the String of Pearls strategy.
Now the US is trying to weaken a link in that String of Pearls by sending troops to our close ally in Australia.
American Troops Headed Down Under
Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin announced broad based US increase in troop presence, bombers and naval “capabilities.”
According to Austin, this “rotational” upgrade will aim to a “no gap” alliance that stands in the face of any regional threats to Australia and American interests.
Austin made the declaration Tuesday after speaking with Australia’s Minister of Defense Richard Marles in DC as well as Foreign Affairs Minister Penny Wong. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken also took part in the meeting as the rep for the diplomatic wing of the US government.
As China gains strength in the Pacific, it’s clear that at least some strategists in the US and Australia believe this is the best way to counteract China’s growing naval power.
By combining air and naval power with a ground troop presence, this is a three-pronged approach to holding off the Red Dragon.
US to send more troops to Australia, invite #Japan to joint drills.
Lloyd Austin says US will increase rotational presence of air, land and sea forces in Australia amid shared concerns over China.
— Mete Sohtaoğlu (@metesohtaoglu) December 7, 2022
What Exactly Does the Upgrade Include?
The upgrade includes much more training for US and Aussie forces in air warfare as well as B-52 being stationed near Darwin where there is also a large presence of US Marines.
In the naval theater there will be much better coordination of submarine warfare training and discussion will take place of nuke-powered subs and American crews heading to Australia to man those under the AUKUS framework.
Austin said that no “capability gap” would ever be permitted in Australia and that the US will make sure that defense cooperation is very tight.
The exact details of this boost in US troop presence and training will remain to be seen, although some clearly may remain partly classified.
More US troops to be stationed in Australia 🚨🤯
We don’t need foreign troops or nuclear capable bombers in Australia!
This will not make us safer – instead of deescalating tensions, this will only raise regional tensions and drag Australia closer to conflict. pic.twitter.com/wRXRVboAdi
— David Shoebridge (@DavidShoebridge) December 7, 2022
Taking a Critical Look
Blinken oversaw the disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan which handed China more power and gave Russia the greenlight to invade Ukraine. Now he’s sitting in on military talks for more cooperation with Australia?
We need adults back in the room, and all the military spending in the world won’t make up for the numerous cybersecurity, immigration, supply chain and geopolitical weak spots we have when it comes to dealing with China.This article appeared in StatesmanPost and has been published here with permission.