On 1/6/2012 the US Secretary of Defense, Leon Panetta, announced at a security conference in Singapore that, "the United States will keep six aircraft carriers in the Asia-Pacific region and will shift 60% of its warships to the region, over the coming years until 2020." He explained that the "transfer of the US fleet comes in the context of the implementation of a new US strategy designed to raise the level of US military presence in the Asia-Pacific." So what is the reason to transfer most of the American Navy to Asia-Pacific? Does America fear from China at the present time or in the coming years? And when might China move to impose its control over that region?
To answer this question we need to understand the following:
A- The Asia-Pacific region includes countries of interest to the US, such as Japan, China, Taiwan, North and South Korea. Between these countries is a conflict on the issue of sovereignty over the East China Sea and a dispute over some islands and freedom of navigation and fishing.
B- similar to these countries the Philippines, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Brunei, Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia between them have conflict over sovereignty, the South China Sea and a multiple disputes over some islands, in addition to the Strait of Malacca and the freedom of navigation and fishing.
C- The region is an extension of the Indian Ocean, on whose coast lies Burma, Bangladesh and India, up to Pakistan that is closer to the Arabian Sea, which is an extension of the Indian Ocean, and then Gulf of Oman to the Gulf region and the Gulf of Aden and Straits of Bab el Mandeb to reach the Red Sea, which is a transit to the Mediterranean.
D- The Asia-Pacific region as well as the northern coast of the Indian Ocean, is the most densely populated in the world and the largest population density is of Muslims. The region comprises nearly half of the world's population and half of the Muslim Ummah.
2 - The sea lanes are considered to be more important than the land routes because they can
carry a larger amount of goods by ships, cost less and ships can avoid the checkpoints at the borders of the states, except for during transit through the straits or sea lanes that are under the supervision and control of a state. Today 90% of goods are transferred through sea routes by ships despite the development of land routes and manufacture of large Lorries, as well as the developments of air transport, though it is expensive and cannot carry as much load as ships.
65% of oil transportation is done through the sea by ships, despite the development of pipelines. Therefore, the Pacific extending to the Indian Ocean is of great importance, carries 70% of the oil and gas supplies from the Gulf region to the countries of the region. Moreover, the need for oil will double within the next decade in the region, particularly in China and India. The Straits of Malacca are an important route between the two oceans, extending for 800 km between Malaysia Peninsular and the Indonesian island of Sumatra. 40% of global trade (goods) pass through it, as well as half of global gas and oil, which is important for both China and India, for the transit of
goods to the east and the west. Therefore this region has great importance in terms of the sea routes.
3 - Moreover, this region is important from a strategic point of view. China is working to dominate
or control this region because she considers the region as her region historically and geographically. This adds to the economic importance to her. China is a major regional country and works to be influential in this region, but China has not been able to impose her control over it. US hegemony is the most dominant influence in the region. America was interested in this region during the Cold War because of the threat posed by the Soviet Union at that time, as Russia has a coast line on the North Pacific Ocean. America in that period used to have more than 600 warships in the region. When the Cold War ended, and after the fall of communism and the disintegration of the Soviet Union and the demise of the danger, America reduced the number of its warships to less than half, bringing the number to 279. In 2008 there were 285 warships. America was satisfied with this number, as it no longer had a competitor in the region.
In addition, America has a permanent military presence in military bases in Japan and South Korea, both located on the shores of the East China Sea, as well as in the Philippines, located on the shores of the South China Sea. She has about a quarter of a million troops in the area. She has had a constant military presence in the region since the 1950's.
4- After the shaking of the American position globally after the impact of her defeat in Iraq and Afghanistan at the hands of the ummah and the impact of the financial crisis that exploded in 2008, China began assessing the situation and started to work to exploit it in order to increase its strength so as to impose its influence in the region, if America fully collapsed or was further weakened she would not be able to maintain her influence in the region, or if the Muslims expelled her from the region. Although United States recognizes that China is not a major world power and therefore China does not work to dislodge her from her position as the leading state in the world. However, China is a major regional country in the Asia-Pacific region, which China regards as critical for it economically and strategically. China is working to be a sovereign nation in the East China Sea and if successful in that, it will make Japan and South Korea come under the mercy of her hegemony, as well as North Korea, which has Chinese influence in it. China is also working on developing its sovereignty over the South China Sea, making the Philippines, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Brunei, Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia come under her influence or under her domination so as to control the Straits of Malacca, which is a lifeline for her. If China controls this area or imposes her influence or dominance over it, then she can have an impact on the Indian Ocean region, and so threaten US influence in the region in a serious manner. This is a decisive issue for United States and she cannot allow that to happen, no matter what the cost.
5 - America gives importance to the protection of nation from both sides, from the Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific, which surround her. There is no threat currently to America in the Atlantic because European countries are not currently engaged in any serious work to compete with America in the Atlantic Ocean or beyond the West Atlantic, in South America. America does not expect any competition in the foreseeable future from Europe in the Atlantic or beyond it. So America gives greater importance to other regions, the Pacific, the Indian Ocean and the Arabian Sea and the Gulf and the Straits of Bab el Mandeb. That is way she reduced her strength in the Atlantic for the sake of her power in the Pacific. As Panetta mentioned in the details, 60% of the naval force will be in the Asia-Pacific by 2020, including six aircraft carriers and most of the American cruisers, destroyers, combat ships and submarines. He referred to the disputes between the countries of the region and China, and said: "The U.S. stand is clear, we call for restraint and diplomatic solution, we are opposing the provocation and use of force." He claimed that "his country does not discriminate against any nation for the favour of another" (U.S. UPI agency 2/6/2012). UPI pointed out that,"President Barack Obama said in November; that the Asia-Pacific region is a top priority for the U.S," and the agency stated that, "the US focus on the region comes amid China and India rising as two world economic powers and after the American withdrawal from Iraq and the impending withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan."
Moreover, the increased presence of the American military in the Asia-Pacific region allows her to increase the size of the exercises being conducted there in the coming years, as well as American plans to increase her naval projection to wider areas of the Pacific Ocean, including the Indian Ocean. The US armed forces participated in 172 training exercises and war games during the past year (in this region) of 24 countries. (BBC 2/6/2012).
6 - The US military strategy in the Asia-Pacific as announced by U.S. Secretary of Defense falls under the new American military strategy as announced by U.S. President Obama on 6/1/2012, which focused on three main themes;
First, reducing the number of US forces in Europe
Second: to reduce defense spending whilst maintaining the qualitative edge
Third: Focus on the Pacific to avoid the growing strength of China, giving importance to the Middle East and Asia.
Since there is no danger or threat to America in Europe then there is no need for the presence of large numbers of US troops in it. This is part of the plan to reduce military spending, because America is still reeling under the weight of the financial crisis and could not recover from it. Therefore she adopted a plan to cut military spending during the next ten years by $1.2 trillion, and increase its forces in the Asia-Pacific. Thus, the increases of U.S. naval forces in the Asia-Pacific, are mainly directed towards China and the threat that is expected against the American influence in the region.
7 - But there is something else that is suggested by the deployment of U.S. naval forces, and the spread of her bases in the Pacific Ocean through the Straits of Malacca to the Indian Ocean, the Arabian Sea, the Gulf and the Red Sea. This deployment is not only on the coasts of China and its seas. America is mindful of the predicted emergence of the Islamic power in the region, "The Khilafah State." This is what makes America calculate the power of China and the expected power of the Islamic state. So, she is stretching her bases and deployment along the coasts of the
Islamic region, she expects an emerging trend in the coming years and in the next decade, the emergence of the power of an Islamic superpower in the Muslim world, particularly as half of the Muslims are in the Asia-Pacific and northern Indian Ocean, which is an extension of the Muslim regions of the Gulf, Middle East and Africa. This region is a major strategic region after the establishment of the Islamic State, Allah willing. It is worth mentioning that the Islamic state began in her early days to work on access to this region to spread the Khair in these boundaries. It became almost a Muslim area until the colonialist Westerners began to spread the seeds of evil in it, so that they could colonialize it and control it, from three centuries ago so as to break the back of the Muslims from the East, at a time when they were waging colonialist wars and conspiracies against the Muslims in the West so as to demolish her state, the Khilafah state, and its Islamic system, which they achieved. However, they now fear its return and it will come back very soon, Allah willing.
15 Rajab 1433 AH
5 June 2012