Now that the war in Afghanistan appears to be reaching an end, President Barack Obama has indicated that the United States will shift focus toward the Asia-Pacific.

Some have greeted this declaration with alarm, assuming that strategic redeployments and debates in the region concerning U.S. military presence reflect efforts to contain the People's Republic of China (PRC).

Preoccupied by conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan, it is natural for the dynamic Asian region to reach the conclusion that a renewed U.S. engagement is long overdue. Strategically of course, the U.S. never left the Pacific, nor is likely to do so. The fact that this debate has emerged during the first Obama term highlights its supreme utility.