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Published on November 21st, 2011 | by Sangeeta Mandalia
Image © [caption id="" align="alignleft" width="350" caption="Obama at the Asia Pacific Economic Conference"][/caption] In a speech to the Australian Parliament, an assertive Obama clearly stated that “the United Statesis a Pacific power, and we are here to stay.” Comments such as this suggest that, the US is re positioning itself as a key player in the region, in order to counter a growing a China. A reinforcement of US presence is clearly demonstrated in Obama’s pledge to increase its hard power assets in the region by proposing to deploy 250 US marines to the North of Australia for training and military exercises, a number which is likely to be increased to 2,500 over the next several years. China’s growing military expansion is recognised as a driving factor behind Obama’s policy objectives. Ben Rhodes, Deputy National Security Adviser, recognises thatChinais an “emerging power” and a greater US military presence is needed in order to “protect US interests,…allies, and secure the region broadly.” It seems that both global giants are battling for the title of regional hegemon. The US still sees itself as the regional hegemon, deterring security threats and providing security assurances for its allies, but China is also becoming a key player in the region. Many scholars believe that China is filling in the power vacuum left behind by the United States by participating in the development of dams, hydroelectric plants and infrastructure to facilitate trade among states. But as the US slowly withdraws its military footprint in the Middle East, it is now realigning its security arrangements with its allies in the region. Obama’s trip to the Asia Pacific has signalled a clear message to China; that they are the “resident Pacific power for the long term” and will “continue to play the role of underpinning security in this part of the region.” Stephen Smith, Defence Minister, claims that the rise of China, has led some to think that the “US is magically disappearing.” But this is not the case at all. Although the United States have been absent from the region due to military commitments in the Middle East, its presence in the region is a crucial necessity for stability and peace in the region. It is not only that US that have concerns about China’s growing influence in the region and globally. Japan and other South-East Asian countries also share the same fears; another reason why US presence is critical for the security of its allies. During the Asia Pacific Economic Conference, Obama emphasised the importance of the region, “no region will do more to shape our long term economic future than the Asia– Pacific region.” This economic, vibrant region is economically important for the US and it is in theUSinterest to preserve its presence in this part of the world. The President also attacked China’s negligence of international rules as China continues to manipulate its currency.  As long as China continues to grow and use their power and influence in ways which the US does not agree with, it will continue to dominate the US foreign policy agenda for many years to come. A key point to draw from Obama’s trip to the Asia Pacific is that the United States are there for good and will never abandon the region.

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Obama reinstates US power in the Asia Pacific

Obama at the Asia Pacific Economic Conference

In a speech to the Australian Parliament, an assertive Obama clearly stated that “the United Statesis a Pacific power, and we are here to stay.” Comments such as this suggest that, the US is re positioning itself as a key player in the region, in order to counter a growing a China. A reinforcement of US presence is clearly demonstrated in Obama’s pledge to increase its hard power assets in the region by proposing to deploy 250 US marines to the North of Australia for training and military exercises, a number which is likely to be increased to 2,500 over the next several years.

China’s growing military expansion is recognised as a driving factor behind Obama’s policy objectives. Ben Rhodes, Deputy National Security Adviser, recognises thatChinais an “emerging power” and a greater US military presence is needed in order to “protect US interests,…allies, and secure the region broadly.” It seems that both global giants are battling for the title of regional hegemon. The US still sees itself as the regional hegemon, deterring security threats and providing security assurances for its allies, but China is also becoming a key player in the region. Many scholars believe that China is filling in the power vacuum left behind by the United States by participating in the development of dams, hydroelectric plants and infrastructure to facilitate trade among states. But as the US slowly withdraws its military footprint in the Middle East, it is now realigning its security arrangements with its allies in the region.

Obama’s trip to the Asia Pacific has signalled a clear message to China; that they are the “resident Pacific power for the long term” and will “continue to play the role of underpinning security in this part of the region.” Stephen Smith, Defence Minister, claims that the rise of China, has led some to think that the “US is magically disappearing.” But this is not the case at all. Although the United States have been absent from the region due to military commitments in the Middle East, its presence in the region is a crucial necessity for stability and peace in the region. It is not only that US that have concerns about China’s growing influence in the region and globally. Japan and other South-East Asian countries also share the same fears; another reason why US presence is critical for the security of its allies.

During the Asia Pacific Economic Conference, Obama emphasised the importance of the region, “no region will do more to shape our long term economic future than the Asia– Pacific region.” This economic, vibrant region is economically important for the US and it is in theUSinterest to preserve its presence in this part of the world. The President also attacked China’s negligence of international rules as China continues to manipulate its currency.  As long as China continues to grow and use their power and influence in ways which the US does not agree with, it will continue to dominate the US foreign policy agenda for many years to come. A key point to draw from Obama’s trip to the Asia Pacific is that the United States are there for good and will never abandon the region.

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Sangeeta Mandalia



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