Obama Tightens the Military
Ring Around China
June 6, 2012 (EIRNS)—The U.S. military encirclement of China got much tighter this past week, as Defense Secretary Panetta and Chief of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey dropped in on Singapore, The Philippines, Vietnam, and Thailand, rebuilding the axis used for the Vietnam war by vastly increasing the docking rights for warships in these four nations, and military air fields in some of them. Panetta and Dempsey attended the Shangri La security conference in Singapore last week, sponsored by London's IISS, where they re-asserted the Obama shift of military forces to the Pacific in a ring around China.
Panetta then travelled to Vietnam, where he is requesting expanded docking rights for U.S. warships in Danang, and perhaps also a "rotating" troop presence. Dempsey went to The Philippines, where the same arrangement is already in place, but is intended to be vastly expanded, both for warships and for troops, as well as military aircraft.
Dempsey then went on to Thailand, where a firestorm has broken out over his request for the opening up of the U-Tapao air base—the central B-52 base during the Vietnam war. Dempsey said that the military presence is "for disaster, humanitarian operations sought, with no combat role," but there is rage across Thailand at the clear effort to get a foot in the door for a war on China. Besides U-Tapao, the U.S. Navy is also interested in using the Royal Thai Navy airfield as a multipurpose facility "for humanitarian and disaster-relief operations."