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Washington Relocating from the Middle East to Southeast Asia

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With Joe Biden being one of the key architects of the Obama administration’s “Asia Pivot”, an increasing focus on Asia – especially, Southeast Asia – was/is inevitable. However, it is not just Biden’s obsession with the region that explains the on-going shift. America’s drastic failure in the Middle East despite decades of military presence plus the increasing presence and role of Russia and China in the region have combined with China’s rise as a global power to make it necessary for the US to recalibrate its global military presence, shifting from an overwhelming focus on the Middle East to Southeast Asia. Two processes, in this behalf, stand out: Washington has been withdrawing military hardware and personnel from the Middle East, including Afghanistan, and senior officials of the Biden administration have seriously renewed their efforts to re-establish and re-define the US ties with Southeast Asian countries, including the regional bloc, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). While the US is still to relocate a large part of its military from the Middle East to the ASEAN region, its revamped diplomatic ties are only a prelude to eventual militarisation, although it remains to be seen if, and the extent to which, it can actually succeed in achieving these objectives.

As part of relocation and re-prioritising its interests, the US recently removed a total of eight Patriot anti-missile systems from Jordan, Kuwait, Iraq and Saudi Arabia, along with the removal of an anti-rocket system called Terminal High Altitude Area Defense from the kingdom. Besides it, Saudi Arabia also stands to lose some jet fighter squadrons, and likely to be subjected to the withdrawal of some 700 soldiers stationed in the........

© New Eastern Outlook

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