Marines Headed Down Under
Australia has agreed to host a full US Marine task force in the coming years, Prime Minister Julia Gillard has announced at a news conference with US President Barack Obama in Canberra.
She said about 250 US Marines would arrive next year, eventually being built up to 2,500 personnel.
The deployment is being seen as a move to counter China’s growing influence.
But Mr Obama said the US was “stepping up its commitment to the entire Asia-Pacific”, not excluding China.
Ms Gillard said about 250 Marines would be deployed on a rotational basis in northern Australia from next year.
“Australia will welcome deployments of a company-size rotation of 200 to 250 Marines in the Northern Territory for around six months at a time,” she said.
“Over a number of years we intend to build on this relationship in a staged way to a full force of around 2,500 personnel, that is a full Marine air-ground task force.”
Analysts said the deployment was the biggest in Australia since World War II.
And the US military footprint grows a bit larger. I can’t, based on this information, say that this is a good or bad idea, although my inclination at the moment is to be concerned about further military deployments and responsibilities.
It does, however, strike me as an example of the general approach to foreign policy that we see from US presidents, regardless of their party affiliation.