In the Dec. 7 op-ed article “Toward a peaceful Pacific,” Malcolm Fraser, a dour yet programmatic former prime minister of Australia, states that as the United States “will never place a large land army on the Asian mainland again,” the proposed stationing of U.S. Marines in northern Australia appears pointless.
This argument, needless to say, also applies to U.S. Marine contingent so controversially based at the U.S. Marine Corp. Air Station Futenma in Okinawa Prefecture.
It is surprising, therefore, that another increasingly dour-yet-pragmatic leader, Barack Obama, would double up on the pointless deployment of marines rather than move toward the closure of the Futenma base. But then the Australian deployment may not be so pointless after all. The obstacles preventing the closure of Futenma are resistance from the marine hierarchy who have indicated that they consider Okinawa their home away from home (and) the irrational needs of those who do not understand that the Chinese comprehend English and thus fear that a reduction in troop levels would send the wrong message.
If the northern Australian deployment is to be quid pro quo, that actually would make pragmatic sense.
The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.
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