July 8, 2003
U.S. REDEPLOYMENT IN ASIA: A DESIRE FOR 'SOLE AND SUPER HEGEMONY'
** The redeployment is a
chance for the U.S. to "extend its strategic reach."
** The military shift in
South Korea may "provoke miscalculations" by Pyongyang.
** Official Chinese dailies
accuse the U.S. of seeking an "Asian NATO" to deter Beijing.
** Local issues such as
SOFA and military aid dominated Japanese and Indian papers.
The U.S. 'deserves the name of American Empire'-- Asians cited the redeployment plan to criticize
the U.S.' "unilateralism."
China's intellectual Guangming Daily called the redeployment an
effort to "ensure U.S. hegemony forever," while Beijing's official People's
Daily alleged the U.S. will maintain its "Cold War strategic
posture," while disingenuously claiming to seek an "overall
reduction" of its regional military presence. Another Chinese writer concluded the U.S. is
"eager to implement its ambition of changing the global setup completely
with its power." Jakarta's
independent Suara Pembaruan criticized Americans' focus on
"military might," adding they "seem to be captivated by their
The DPRK 'might mistake' the U.S. shift as preparation for a
'pre-emptive strike'-- ROK dailies counseled
the U.S. "to be more cautious in realigning its troops" because it
could "complicate efforts to resolve the nuclear issue" with the
North. Government-owned Daehan Maeil
asked the U.S. to "delay the realignment." Conservative Chosun Ilbo urged the
U.S. to make clear the troop shift is solely "designed for defensive
purposes." Dailies outside Korea
were "nervous at the current consolidation" because it "indeed
makes it easier for the U.S. to attack" the North. China's official World News Journal
warned the shift could signal a U.S. "military strike against the DPRK's
'China should be on high alert' due to intensified U.S.
'surveillance'-- The U.S. redeployment is
just the start of a "potential and virtual" siege of China according
to official International Herald Leader, and stems from a desire to
contain China. India's right-of-center Pioneer
agreed that "China is the only country with the potential" to
challenge "the American juggernaut," so the U.S. seeks to
"sustain the China bogey" to gain cooperation from India and Japan,
which both "share a history of bitterness" with China.
Japanese focus on SOFA revision, while Indians oppose U.S.
'diktats'-- In Japan and India,
dailies sought a "truly equal partnership" with the U.S. Moderate Tokyo Shimbun and regional Hokkaido
Shimbun both assailed Japan's "subservience" to the U.S., while
all Japanese dailies surveyed demanded a revision of the Status of Forces
Agreement (SOFA). Indian dailies urged
New Delhi not to "kowtow" to "big boss America," though
centrist Navbharat Times did praise the U.S. decision to "increase
EDITOR: Ben Goldberg
EDITOR'S NOTE: This analysis
is based on 22 reports from 6 countries over June 9 - July 2 2003. Editorial excerpts from each country are
listed from the most recent date.
CHINA: “The U.S.
Intelligence Reconnaissance Center Is Getting Closer To China”
Gao Xiao commented in the official English-language newspaper China
Daily (6/26): “In fact, the U.S.
Pacific Fleet has never stopped reconnoitering the countries nearby. Stirred by the U.S. intelligence
redeployment, the Pacific Ocean is no longer ‘peaceful’, and any minor
movements can’t escape from the U.S. Navy’s surveillance. Analysts indicate that China should be on
high alert in reaction to the U.S. intelligence center’s closely approaching
“What Does ‘Asian NATO’ Re-emergence Mean?”
Li Zhiqiang maintained in official intellectual publication Guangming
Daily (Guangming Ribao) (6/23):
“Many international strategy analysts admit the U.S. is ‘the most
powerful empire on the globe.’ It is the
U.S. hegemonist position that stimulated some powers of the U.S. to seek a way
to ensure U.S. hegemony forever....
Recently U.S. foreign policy carried elements of ‘cold war psychology’
and ‘a new empire tone.’” If it handles
international relations and order with those principles, it would act with much
staleness. So one can imagine the result
of re-mentioning setting up an ‘Asian NATO’ now.”
“The U.S. Is Aiming At An Indian Base: Connecting 4 Large Bases And Building Up A
Defense Line 10,000 KM Long”
Qian Feng and Li Xuanliang wrote in official Communist Party
international news publication Global Times (Huanqiu Shibao)
(6/16): “Military experts think, once
the U.S. gains an Indian base, it will connect the Atlantic chain-bases with
the Indian Ocean chain-bases, building up a super long defense line about
10,000 km long from the Aleutian Islands in the east to the Persian Gulf in the
west.... Evidently the policy has
potential risks and dangers since so many military bases could easily become
targets of terrorists.... Military
strategists think the potential dangers of excessive expansion should not be
“The Story Behind The U.S.’ Planned Redeployment In The
Li Zhiqiang declared in official intellectual publication Guangming
Daily (6/13): “Some Asia-Pacific
media indicated that, the redeployment of the U.S. troops in the Asia-Pacific
is the inevitable practice of 'neo-conservative’ theory that has guided the
Bush administration all along. It is
also the intensified reflection of the U.S. government’s unilateralism.... Its military redeployment in the Asia-Pacific
is based on its long-existing psychology of sole and super hegemony, not just
“The U.S. Is Rebuilding The ‘Asian Crescent’”
Xue Ying stated in official Xinhua News Agency-run international
news publication International Herald Leader (Guoji Xianqu Daobao)
(6/13): “9/11 provided the U.S. a chance
to return to Southeastern Asia to build up new bases. The planned redeployment of the U.S. troops
in the Asia-Pacific is an important measure to deter its opponents. ‘Asian Crescent’ (military circle of the
U.S.) will pose a potential and virtual besiegement of China and add new
instability factors to Taiwan issue.”
“The U.S. Redeployment Irritates DPRK”
Zhang Zhe commented in China Radio International-sponsored World
News Journal (Shijie Xinwenbao) (6/12): “It is an important step of the U.S. global
redeployment this time to withdraw its troops out of the range of DPRK’s
fire. Public opinion indicates that this
is also foreshadowing that the U.S. may start a military strike against DPRK’s
nuclear facilities. As for this major
redeployment of the U.S. troops in South Korea, DPRK has given a severe
condemnation, indicating the U.S.’ increasing its fighting capacity in South
Korea is a prelude of launching a war against DPRK.”
“The U.S. Conducts Its Global Military Redeployment”
Lin Bo and Kou Liyan observed in official Communist Party-run People’s
Daily (Renmin Ribao) (6/12):
“After the cold war, the main adjustment of the U.S. overseas military
force is an overall reduction of its military existence. Yet, it still maintained the Cold War
strategic posture and situation in its global distribution. However the U.S. mainly adjusted the
distribution this time, which is an important strategic adjustment of the U.S.
to meet the ‘post-Cold War’ challenge in the 21st century and will have a
profound influence on the international situation and the regional security.”
“If It is Not ‘Empire’, What is It?”
Gao Zugui commented in China Radio International-sponsored World
News Journal (Shijie Xinwenbao) (6/9): “‘The sole superpower of the world’ can no
longer fully describe the current America....
After the Gulf war in 1991, the Kosovo war and the Iraq war, the U.S.’
strength has been enhanced. It is more
likely to adopt ‘unilateralism’ on issues concerning its own interests and more
eager to implement its ambition of changing the global setup completely with
its power. What is most important is
that although there are some countries capable of containing the U.S. to some
extent, the U.S., at least so far, has done everything it wants. The U.S. deserves the name of ‘American
CHINA (MACAU SAR):
"Thailand Wants To Use The U.S. To Raise Its Status"
Pro-PRC Chinese-language Macau Daily News commented
(6/15): "On June 9, Thai Prime
Minister Thaksin began a five-day visit to the U.S. The trip was originally 'unofficial,'
becoming 'official' given the attention paid to it by U.S. President Bush and
the joint declaration issued by both governments. This shows that U.S.-Thai relations are
gradually improving.... The U.S. stated
that it hoped to discuss with Thailand setting up a 'frontline foothold' inside
the country to give logistics support to U.S. troops fighting terrorism in
Southeast Asia.... Thai troops and the
security department have already been looking for an appropriate site along the
east coast. Thailand hopes that by
lending this site to the U.S., it can earn a considerable amount of money. What will be the effect, however, on the
regional situation? Will the U.S. use
its Thai base to pressure the Burmese military government or Muslim power in
Malaysia? Will the U.S. and Thailand
further enhance their military cooperation?
All these questions should be heeded....
Following the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Vietnam and the shift in
focus to Europe and Japan, U.S.-Thai relations have cooled. Thailand did not support the U.S. in the
Afghan or Iraq wars. Thaksin's trip was
intended to restore bilateral relations.
By enhancing cooperation with the U.S., Thailand can raise its status in
Southeast Asia or even in the world."
JAPAN: "SOFA Must Be
An editorial in moderate Tokyo Shimbun read (6/24): "We wonder whether many Okinawans
attended memorial services marking the 58th anniversary of the end of the
ground battle with the U.S. during World War II, with the feeling that the GOJ
always complies with USG calls but never listens to Okinawa's voices... Now is
the time to revise the SOFA that we believe stands in the way of investigating
crimes committed by U.S. service members. There were reported concerns among
those in attendance at the ceremony over Japan's "subservience" to
the U.S. in security and Iraq issues.
The U.S. military handed over Marine Lance Cpl. Jose Torres, a suspect
in the alleged May 25 sexual assault case, to Japanese investigators three days
after the court's issuance of an arrest warrant. GI-related crimes cannot be
dealt with swiftly and effectively under the present SOFA. Although the Koizumi
government attaches greater importance to the U.S.-Japan alliance, it appears
to be indifferent to the voices of Okinawa, an island saddled with the heavy
security burden. PM Koizumi's political apathy toward Okinawa must be
"SOFA Must Be Revised"
Liberal Asahi editorialized (6/20): "The U.S. handover to Japanese
authorities of a Marine accused of beating and raping a Okinawa woman, three
days after the local court's issuance of an arrest warrant, has brought the
case to a 'temporary rest' as a result of the GOJ's call for the early transfer
of the suspect's custody and Ambassador Baker's 'mediation' between the GOJ,
DOS and DOD. But this is far from a
thorough settlement of a criminal case involving a U.S. service member
stationed in Japan. The question is that (under SOFA) Japanese police cannot
freely investigate GI-related crimes.
The GOJ is still trying to 'settle' GI-related offenses through
'improved application' of the SOFA, while showing no intention to revise the
accord that governs the operation of the U.S. military in Japan. MOFA officials
say that if Japan's calls for SOFA revision get out of hand, there will be a
rise in U.S. calls for Japan to increase its share of the defense burden.
Okinawa continues to bear the heaviest burden of the U.S.-Japan security
alliance. Isn't the prime minister's
responsibility to put SOFA revision on the table?"
"GOJ Should Revise SOFA And Build Equal Ties With U.S."
An editorial in regional Hokkaido Shimbun observed (6/20):
"As long as the SOFA remains as is, U.S. service members stationed in
Japan continue to feel privileged, leaving unabated concerns among residents
near U.S. bases over GI-related crimes and continuing their humiliating sense
of defeat more than 50 years ago. In the eye of the law, both the Japanese and
U.S. service members must be treated equally. Without the rule of law, a
democratic nation cannot function. Unlike Germany and South Korea, the GOJ has
never reflected the voices of ordinary people in discussing problems related to
U.S. military bases and related issues.
Recently the GOJ expressed displeasure over the Okinawa prefectural
government's inquiry to the DOD about a media report on a cutback of Marines
stationed in the island prefecture. The central government's reaction was
indicative of the GOJ's total disregard of Okinawa's call for base reduction
and closing. Japan has been subservient to the U.S. since 9/11. But
subservience alone will not strengthen an alliance. It is now time for revise
the SOFA and create a truly equal partnership with the U.S."
INDONESIA: “Will The U.S.
Really Attack North Korea?”
A. Kardiyat Wiharyanto commented in independent Suara
Pembaruan (7/2): "The stance
North Korea has shown thus far indeed irritates the world. Many parties are nervous at the current
consolidation of U.S. forces in the peninsula.
This...indeed makes it easier for the U.S. to attack so that North Korea
now feels threatened. This situation can upset South Korea. However, if the U.S. really abides by the
defense pact between the two countries, it is not likely that the superpower
will really attack North Korea.”
“Paul Wolfowitz At Shangri-la”
Sabam Siagian wrote in independent Suara
Pembaruan (6/10): “Following Paul
Wolfowitz’s impressive speech [in Singapore in May], I wonder if the U.S. is
only able to show its military might to the world? Hundreds of millions of people in Asia and
Pacific live below the poverty line. The issues on low-price housing,
electricity, clean water, health center, telecommunication network for common
people, digital-oriented education to prevent the Asian future generations from
lagging behind in global competition, comprise a huge agenda that requires
thinking concepts, operational funds and organizational capability. The U.S…is
able to play its role to initiate the agenda. However, under the leadership of
George Bush and his brilliant aides such as Paul Wolfowitz, the U.S. seems to
be captivated by their military capabilities and its effective use. Is
Washington not aware that poverty, feeling of injustice and desperation are the
source of hatred that may develop into international conflicts?”
MALAYSIA: “Why The
Terrorists Seem To Have The Edge”
Government-influenced English-language New Straits Times
had the following commentary by Mohamed Jawhar Hussein (6/14): “Terrorism is far from over, for U.S.
interests and allies...to continue to be threatened. Washington is beginning to address some of
the primary motivations of international terrorism, although it is loath to
discuss root causes or admit that it is doing so openly. The U.S. has been able to easily bear the
costs (of fighting terrorism)...but the economic and financial costs have
nevertheless been high, and would have brought many a lesser economy to its
knees. But the U.S. campaign against
terror is also about political costs.
Washington is skillfully using the opportunity to extend its strategic
reach in Central, South and Southeast Asia, but the United States has been
seriously weakened and the U.S. is at odds with key NATO members and
traditional allies. The fight against
terrorism is essentially a battle for the hearts and minds of the people, and
this is where America has essentially lost, more from its own doing than the
‘terrorists’. When the American effort
alienated even the Pope and the Nelson Mandelas of the world, the U.S. has, to
put it mildly, a serious problem.”
SOUTH KOREA: “Relocation Of USFK This Year Is Too Early”
Government-owned Daehan Maeil editorialized (6/30): “Even though the relocation of the Second
Infantry Division is being pursued as part of a U.S. global strategy to
transform its overseas forces into mobility-enhanced units, we cannot help worrying
about a possible weakening of our deterrent capability against North
Korea. In particular, given the current,
heightening tensions on the peninsula caused by the North’s nuclear programs,
USFK realignment could complicate efforts to resolve the nuclear issue and
provoke miscalculations from Pyongyang....
We urge Washington to be more cautious in realigning its troops here
and, hopefully, to delay the realignment until after the nuclear issue is
"Tomorrow's Candlelight Vigil Should Be The Last Of Its
Independent Joong-Ang Ilbo opined (6/12): "Tomorrow's nation-wide candlelight
vigils for the two girls [killed by a USFK armored vehicle last year] should be
a pure memorial service, not a distorted event with a hidden political agenda. We still vividly remember the high price the
ROK paid when last year's vigils turned into anti-American rallies.
Anti-American sentiment in the ROK triggered anti-Korean sentiment in the U.S.,
eventually damaging the U.S.-ROK alliance....
According to a recent opinion poll, Koreans' negative views toward the
U.S. have significantly softened compared to last year. This is a sign that Koreans are seeing
U.S.-ROK relations rationally, rather than emotionally. Tomorrow's candlelight vigils, which should
be the last of their kind, should be a pure memorial service of reconciliation
"How To Capitalize On USFK Realignment"
Han Yong-sup observed in conservative Chosun Ilbo
(6/11): "Even though the U.S. plan
to relocate USFK bases and to enhance its military capabilities is being
pursued mainly for the purpose of defense, there is a possibility that
Pyongyang might mistake the U.S. move as preparation for a preemptive strike
against it. Accordingly, the U.S. and the ROK need to make clear to the North
via military dialogue channels that USFK realignment is designed for defensive
purposes only. At the same time, both
countries, capitalizing on the 'impact of the American victory in the Iraq war'
on the North, should induce Pyongyang to dismantle its nuclear programs through
negotiations.... Furthermore, the U.S. and the ROK, during Korean peninsula
arms control talks, need to link relocation of the U.S. Second Infantry
Division to rear areas to North Korean forces forward-deployed [at the DMZ]."
Security And The U.S."
V. R. Raghavan wrote in the June 14 centrist Hindu
(6/14): "The cat was firmly set
amongst the Asian pigeons when Mr. Wolfowitz announced that the U.S. was
re-examining its Asian military deployments, in the light of the success in
Iraq war. Precision attack technology, long-range fighting and strike capabilities,
the dispensability of foreign military bases as against facilities that can be
obtained to stage forces for future wars, were put forth as the rationale for
redeployment of the U.S. forces from Asia....
It is clear that serious doubts have arisen between the U.S. and the
Asian states on ways to deal with the threat posed by North Korea. Mr.
Wolfowitz, when asked how the Bush doctrine of pre-emption might operate in the
North Korean situation, came up with an astounding interpretation. He claimed
that the pre-emption idea had been overstated. Apparently, the Bush doctrine
has many interpretations of convenience. This inevitably raises questions of
credibility not only of U.S.' assertions on policy but also on security
assurances, on which its alliances are predicated. The growing concerns in
America's Asian allies are therefore not ill-founded.... The paramount misgiving was of the
superpower, after having built an alliance network in the region, considering
diluting its military presence when security in the region is being imperilled.
Its preoccupation with terrorism as applicable to its homeland is viewed as a
negative and serious portent. The U.S.' unwillingness to act firmly and
decisively with North Korea is seen as evidence of its shifting commitment to
its allies' security interests."
The centrist Times of India commented (6/13): "The euphoric sound effects surrounding
the "new, visible" bonding between India and big boss America are
unsurprising, given the growing band of opinion-makers who will obsessively
watch the status of Indo-US friendship....
One-to-one between Atalji and Dubya. There was more excitement on the
weekend after Donald Rumsfeld decided to spend his off day visiting Lal Krishna
Advani in his hotel room in Washington....
Yet, it happens only too often that in the atmospherics created by
stately engagements, valuable interactions at other levels get
overshadowed...with nation-states preoccupied more and more with extravagant
ceremonies that rarely touch the lives of the common people, the time may have
come for other forms of 'nations' to do that job.... Globalization is not about MNCs setting up
bases or heads of state holding conclaves. It is about people reaching out to
each other in a borderless world."
Centrist Hindi-language Navbharat Times opined (6/13): "India and the US are both victims of
international terrorism. International incidents have brought them at a point
where their interests converge. The US today sees India as a natural and long
term ally.... Washington has decided to
increase bilateral cooperation with India on sensitive areas like aviation,
nuclear energy and high technology and trade. Also, diplomatic support and the
exchange of intelligence also continues. These are signs that half a century of
distrust both the two countries is fast fading. We hope that Deputy Prime
Minister Advani's US visit will play an important role in cementing the
"India, According To Pentagon"
Wilson John contended in the pro-BJP right-of-center Pioneer
(6/11): "The Pentagon, the nerve
center of US strategic policy, selectively leaked a 176-page classified
document, Indo-US Military Relationship: Expectations and Perceptions, early
this year. It was a clever leak. The purpose was not to create a
sensation.... Prepared for Defense
Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, the document is a fairly exhaustive analysis of the
India-US military relationship, a key factor in the bilateral engagement of the
two most prominent democracies in the world....
One clear sign of the American establishment taking the Pentagon study
seriously is the way in which top US leaders make it a point to drop in or come
up with those 'endearing' gestures that make headlines in the Indian newspapers
at least. The latest instance was Rumsfeld dropping in to see Deputy Prime
Minister LK Advani in his hotel room....
The US Defense Secretary...is following the doctrine enunciated in the
Pentagon document. According to it, the Indians are obsessed with 'protocol',
with symbolic gestures.... They believe
we can be taken in by gestures. China is
the only country with the potential of becoming a stumbling block in the way of
the American juggernaut. So the American plan is to sustain the China bogey
especially in Asia where at least two countries, India and Japan, share a
history of bitterness with it. It is, therefore, not surprising that in India
there has been a sustained campaign against China, both subtle and
Americans have their own agenda and views. We too should have an
agenda.... China is a neighboring
country, and it is time we formulate a strategy that works to our benefit
rather than some talking head in Washington....
The US strategy becomes clear once we look at the second pointer: The
Pentagon document complains that the Indian establishment, both civilian and
military, are suspicious of US intentions and are not willing to think
strategically. The document goes to considerable length to explain the timidity
of the Indian establishment. The aim is to belittle the intellectual and moral
courage of the Indian leadership that refuses to kowtow to the diktats of
Washington like the General-next-door. We are suspicious of American
intentions, and there are quite strong reasons.... The Indian military leadership is certainly
one of the best in the world for the simple reason that it has been engaged in
military confrontations for more than half a century. We do believe in a
regimented protocol but so does the American military, perhaps not as
regimented as the one handed down to us by the British. What actually irks the
Americans is the Indian military leaders' refusal to jump whenever Washington
fires a blank in the air. The Americans have always found it difficult to
persuade the Indian military leadership to follow their line and hence the
disparaging remarks. Once we accept their plans for opening military bases in
India and running their aircraft from our air bases, I am sure the next
Pentagon document would find the Indians quite strategically savvy." ##