Commentary: US dreams of Asian NATO ( 2003-07-18 07:13) (China Daily)
With the United States stepping up its largest military strategic redeployment since World War II, the voices in that country backing the establishment of an Asian version of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) became recently particularly loud. Under the Pentagon's military programme, the United States is preparing major shifts in the deployment of its forces in the Asia-Pacific region, including the movement of US marines from bases on the Japanese island of Okinawa to Australia, and the use of new basing facilities in Singapore and the Philippines. Washington also plans to withdraw some US troops from the Demilitarized Zone within the Republic of Korea. The moves are aimed at calming down the public anger in the Republic of Korea and Japan at the US army bases in their countries and at forming a more mobile, smaller-scale chain of bases in the Asia-Pacific region. The United States is designing a NATO-like multilateral military mechanism for Asia to better serve its own strategic interests. Some US scholars hold that the absence of a multilateral security system in Asia has been one of Washington's major strategic mistakes. Saul Saunders, a US expert on Asian affairs, said one of the major errors of Washington's Asia policy since World War II has been the lack of a multilateral security system analogous to NATO in this region.