President Barack Obama and Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard on Wednesday unveiled plans for a deepening of the U.S. military presence in the Asia-Pacific, starting with thousands of U.S. Marines operating out of a defacto military base in the Australian port of Darwin.
Deployment of an initial company of 200-250 Marines would begin in 2012 and expand to up to 2,500 eventually, Gillard said.
The number of troops being deployed is not as worrisome as it is an obvious slap in the face to China, which is sure to increase tensions. Also, this new presence may be a back door into the ring for the coveted Spratly Islands and other natural gas and oil reserves throughout the South China Sea. Whatever the case, it is not a move supporters would expect from a president that promised to bring troops home in the last campaign. -- JB, Supervising Editor