Thursday, January 25, 2018

Moving the Front Line North

If America is to have a regional strategy of bolstering nations in Asia to resist Chinese ambitions, gaining the cooperation of Indonesia is important to knit together the Indian Ocean and the Pacific:

U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis says the Trump administration wants to help Indonesia play a central role in maritime security in the Asia-Pacific region. ...

Mattis told reporters Tuesday that the U.S. wants to help Indonesia realize its ambition to become a “maritime fulcrum” in the region.

The stated focus is combating terrorism. Okaaay. Let's go with that.

Longstanding ally Australia is an important piece of this as well, of course. A complementary fulcrum.

Australia will no doubt support this, preferring to be the rear area of the link between the Indian and Pacific oceans rather than the front line they were in the early part of World War II in the Pacific.

UPDATE: Wanting to impress our secretary of defense, Indonesian special forces troops smashed flaming bricks and drank snake blood.

Because our secretary of defense has a reputation as a serious warrior.

By contrast, if the German defense minister visited, Indonesia would have had their clerk-typists (and I say that with affection as a former fellow REMF) serve cherries flambe and would have drank a Zima or perhaps a lovely mineral water.