Barack Obama, the latest rotating imperator of the first global empire, will arrive in Lisbon on November 19 to receive the plaudits of 27 North Atlantic Treaty Organization allies and secure their continued fealty on issues ranging from the war in Afghanistan to a continental interceptor missile system, the continued deployment of American tactical nuclear weapons in Europe, participation in the Pentagon’s cyber warfare plans and expanded military missions in the planet’s south and east.
Perfunctory discussions of minor details notwithstanding, strictly pro forma to maintain the myth of NATO being a “military alliance of democratic states in Europe and North America,” the banners and pennants of 26 European nations, Canada and dozens of other countries contributing troops for the Afghan mission will be lowered in the presence of the leader of the world imperium.
No fewer than 38 European nations have supplied NATO troops for the Afghanistan-Pakistan war as well as providing training grounds and transport centers to support the war effort. As envisioned for at least a century, through peaceful means or otherwise, Europe has been united, not so much by the European Union as under the NATO flag and on the killing fields of Afghanistan. It is now relegated to the role of pre-deployment training area and forward operating base for military campaigns downrange: The Middle East, Africa and Asia.
So uncritically and unquestioningly compliant has Europe been in the above regards that Obama and the governing elite in the imperial metropolis as a whole have already looked beyond the continent for additional military partners. With the exception of fellow members of the NATO Quint – Britain, Germany, France and Italy (Britain more and Italy less than the others) – Alliance partners are accorded the same status and assigned the same functions as American territories like Puerto Rico, Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands: Geopolitically convenient locations for live-fire military training and for troop, warplane and warship deployments.
Two millennia ago the Pax Romana of Augustus brought roads and ports, aqueducts and irrigation, amphitheaters and libraries, and Greek writers from Aristotle to Aeschylus to occupied territories. Bellum Americanum burdens its vassals and tributaries with military bases, interceptor missile batteries, McDonald’s and Lady Gaga.
In Lisbon Obama will chastise his NATO and NATO partnership auxiliaries and foederati, as is the prerogative and wont of the global suzerain and as his predecessor George W. Bush has done recently, for being chary of expending more blood and treasure for the war in Afghanistan. However, he will also display the magnanimity befitting his preeminent stature by patting his European satraps on their bowed heads and intoning, “Well done, good and faithful servants. You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things.”
With the European continent placed securely under the multi-circled Achilles shield of NATO, U.S. nuclear weapons, an interceptor missile system and a cyber warfare command, Washington is moving to realms as yet not completely subjugated.
Africa has been assigned to the three-year-old U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) and perhaps only five of the continent’s 54 nations – Eritrea, Libya, the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, Sudan and Zimbabwe – have avoided becoming ensnared in bilateral military ties with the Pentagon and concomitant U.S-led military exercises and deployments.
The U.S. has also expanded its military presence in the Middle East: Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman, Qatar and Yemen.
Two years ago Washington reactivated its Fourth Fleet for the Caribbean Sea and Central and South America and last year’s coup in Honduras and this September’s attempted coup in Ecuador are proof that the U.S. will not allow developments in Latin America to pursue their natural course unimpeded.
The U.S. has intensified efforts to forge and expand military alliances and deployments in the Asia-Pacific region, but there is still a small handful of countries there not willing to accept a subordinate role in American geostrategic designs. They are, to varying degrees and in differing manners, Russia, China, Iran, North Korea and Myanmar. Attempts to replicate the “color revolution” model used in former Soviet republics in Myanmar and Iran since 2007 have failed, “regime change” plans for North Korea are of another nature, and neither China nor Russia appears immediately susceptible to equivalents of the so-called Rose, Orange, Tulip and Twitter revolutions in Georgia, Ukraine, Kyrgyzstan and Moldova, respectively. The preferred technique being applied to Russia at the moment is cooption, though its success is not guaranteed as the U.S. and NATO military build-up around Russia’s borders continues unabated.
What’s left is the military expedient. In the first half of November the quadrivirate in charge of U.S. foreign policy – President Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Michael Mullen – all toured the Asia-Pacific area. Collectively they visited ten nations there: India, Indonesia, South Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia, Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and Tonga.
Clinton and Gates were in Malaysia at separate times and both joined Mullen on November 8 for the annual Australia-United States Ministerial (AUSMIN) meeting in Melbourne, where the U.S. military chief called the 21st century the “Pacific century.” 
In India Obama secured what William Hartung, Director of the Arms and Security Initiative at the New America Foundation, estimated to be the sixth largest arms deal in U.S. history. 
In Australia, Gates and Mullen won a backroom arrangement to move U.S. military forces into several Australian bases.
While in New Zealand, Clinton in effect renewed the Australia, New Zealand, United States (ANZUS) Security Treaty as a full tripartite mutual defense pact after a 24-year hiatus in regard to her host country.
On November 13 Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan “thanked the United States…for supporting Tokyo in a series of recent disputes with Russia and China” , an allusion to a statement by Clinton on October 27 that the U.S. would honor its military assistance commitment to Tokyo over the Senkaku/Diaoyu islands dispute with China and her spokesman Philip Crowley’s affront to Russia five days afterward over the Kuril Islands, which he identified as Japanese territory. 
In a tete-a-tete ahead of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Yokohama, the Japanese head of state “sought US President Barack Obama’s assurance on defence in the Asia-Pacific region,” as “Tokyo’s territorial disputes with China and Russia are becoming high priorities for Kan, who told Obama through a translator, ‘The US military presence is only becoming more important.’” 
Verbatim, Kan said:
“Japan and the United States, at this meeting of APEC, of pan-Pacific countries, we shall step up our cooperation. So we agreed on doing that. And in Japan’s relations with China and Russia, recently we’ve faced some problems, and the United States has supported Japan throughout, so I expressed my appreciation to him for that.
“For the peace and security of the countries in the region, the presence of the United States and the presence of the U.S. military I believe is becoming only increasingly important.” 
In return, Obama “voiced support for Japan to become a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council and reaffirmed the U.S.-Japan security alliance.”
He also assured Kan that the U.S.-Japan alliance is “the cornerstone of American strategic engagement in the Asia Pacific” and “the commitment of the United States to the defense of Japan is unshakable.”
According to a U.S. armed forces publication, “While Obama’s support for the continuing security alliance is no surprise, it comes amid tension in Japan over China’s…claims on territory in the East China and South China seas.” 
In less than five months the Pentagon has made its military presence felt throughout the Asia-Pacific area:
The U.S. Marine Corps and Navy participated in Exercise Crocodile 10 in East Timor (Timor-Leste) from June 19-26, which included “weapons firing skills, amphibious assault serials, jungle training, flying operations, and a helicopter raid on an abandoned prison” and provided “an opportunity for multi-national forces to work together in the planning and conduct of a complex military exercise.” 
In October of 2009 2,500 U.S. and Australian troops engaged in maneuvers in the country, which marked the first U.S.-East Timor joint military exercise.
This July the U.S. led the multinational Angkor Sentinel 2010 command post and field exercises in Cambodia with American forces and troops from the host nation, Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Australia, India, Indonesia, Japan, Mongolia and the Philippines.
For 40 days in late June and throughout July the U.S. led the Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2010 war games in the Pacific Ocean off Hawaii with 32 ships, five submarines, more than 170 planes and 20,000 troops from all four branches of the American armed forces and from Australia, Canada, Chile, Colombia, France, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, the Netherlands, Peru, South Korea, Singapore and Thailand.
From July 25-28 the U.S. conducted joint war games with South Korea, codenamed Invincible Spirit, in the Sea of Japan/East Sea with the involvement of 20 warships including the nuclear-powered supercarrier USS George Washington, 200 warplanes including F-22 Raptor stealth fighters, and 8,000 troops.
The next month U.S. Pacific Command and U.S. Army Pacific presided over the Khaan Quest 2010 military exercise in Mongolia. In the same month American and British troops ran the Steppe Eagle 2010 NATO Partnership for Peace exercise in Kazakhstan.
USS George Washington and the USS John S. McCain destroyer led the first-ever joint U.S.-Vietnam military exercise, consisting of naval maneuvers in the South China Sea, in early August.
Less than a week later the U.S. and South Korea began this year’s Ulchi Freedom Guardian military exercise in the latter country with 30,000 U.S. and 50,000 South Korean troops participating. 
In early September Washington and Seoul held an anti-submarine warfare exercise in the Yellow Sea.
At the end of the same month Indian troops joined U.S. marines and sailors in Exercise Habu Nag 2010, the fifth annual bilateral U.S.-India amphibious training exercise with that codename, in the East China Sea off the coast of Okinawa.
In October at least 3,000 U.S. troops participated in the nine-day Amphibious Landing Exercise 2011 in the Philippines. “The bilateral training exercise, conducted with the Armed Forces of the Philippines, is designed to improve interoperability, increase readiness and continue to build professional relationships between the two countries.” 
At the beginning of the same month U.S. warships and troops joined 6,000 Australian soldiers and counterparts from New Zealand for Exercise Hamel in northeast Australia, described in the local press as “massive war games.” 
Also in October, South Korea for the first time hosted a multinational military exercise with 14 members of the U.S.-created Proliferation Security Initiative, which included ships and military personnel from the U.S., Canada, France, Australia and Japan.
U.S. marines “conducted urban training exercises” in Singapore on November 6. A Marine Corps lieutenant present “gave a short class on identifying danger areas in a combat environment” and “talked about isolating them by sight, or suppressive fire, and the importance of gaining footholds in enemy territories.” 
On November 14 the U.S. and Indian armies completed the 14-day Yudh Abhyas 2010 military exercise in Alaska. Last year’s Yudh Abhyas featured the largest U.S.-India joint military maneuvers ever held.
100,000 American and another 50,000 NATO troops are fighting in the tenth year of their collective war in Afghanistan. The U.S. is escalating deadly drone missile strikes and NATO is increasing helicopter gunship raids in Pakistan.
The Pentagon has indeed marked this as its Asia-Pacific century.
1) U.S. Department of Defense, November 7, 2010
2) Business Insider, November 6, 2010
Obama, Gates And Clinton In Asia: U.S. Expands Military Build-Up In The
Stop NATO, November 7, 2010
3) Russian Information Agency Novosti, November 13, 2010
4) U.S. Supports Japan, Confronts China And Russia Over Island Disputes
Stop NATO, November 4, 2010
5) Deutsche Presse-Agentur, November 13, 2010
6) The White House, November 13, 2010
Remarks by President Obama and Prime Minister Kan of Japan in
Statements to the Press in Yokohama, Japan
7) Stars and Stripes, November 14, 2010
8) Australian Government
Department of Defence
June 24, 2010
9) U.S.-China Crisis: Beyond Words To Confrontation
Stop NATO, August 17, 2010
10) U.S. Marine Corps, October 22, 2010
11) Australian Broadcasting Company, October 4, 2010
12) U.S. Marine Corps, November 9, 2010
Enjoy the article?
Did you find this article informative? Please consider contributing to Eurasia Review, as we are truly independent and do not receive financial support from any institution, corporation or organization.