19 September 2014
Obama’s declaration of a systematic air campaign against ISIS militants in Iraq and military assistance to Iraqi and Kurdish forces are the beginning of a new long term involvement in the Middle East. It marks a more balanced approach to the US defence pivot to East Asia.
The United States’ rebalancing to Asia, frequently described as a “pivot” to Asia, is unravelling. The crisis in the Ukraine and the rise of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) highlight the challenges posed to US policymakers as they seek to change American policy priorities to deal with the rise of Asia, especially China.
As then US secretary of defence Leon Panetta noted at the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore in June 2012, after the withdrawal from Afghanistan and Iraq and the drawdown of military forces in Europe, rebalancing will result in a shift from a 50:50 to a 60:40 ratio of US naval forces in the Asia-Pacific and Europe. In practice planned cuts in the defence budget would result in major reductions in defence spending.
…Barry Desker is the Dean, S. Rajaratnam School ofInternationalStudies, Nanyang Technological University. This article was first published in The Straits Times on 17 September 2014.
IDSS / RSIS / Online
Last updated on 22/09/2014