The United States will begin to permanently station up to 2,500 U.S. Marines in Australia, President Obama announced on Wednesday after finalizing a new bilateral defense deal with Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard.
In a move widely considered to be aimed at countering growing Chinese military and economic influence in the region, the deal also includes an increased presence of U.S. warships and military aircraft – including B52 bombers – to operate from Australian bases.
In announcing the expanded military presence President Obama said “it’s important for [China] to play by the rules of the road. We will send a clear message to them that we think they may need to be on track, in terms of accepting the rules and responsibilities of being a world power.”
Traditionally, the “rules and responsibilities of being a world power” is to act in a way that is subservient to U.S. power, thus the need for Obama to “send a clear message” of militaristic provocation to the Chinese that their growing influence in recent years are American prerogatives.
China responded negatively to the news. “It may not be quite appropriate to intensify and expand military alliances and may not be in the interest of countries within this region,” said Liu Weimin, a Foreign Ministry spokesman.
The expansion of U.S. military presence in Asia-Pacific occurs despite crippling fiscal deficits and impending cuts to the defense budget. The deployment also has no discernible necessity in terms of defending the nation from a military threat, making the imperial and economic aspects of this particularly blatant.