Another missile shield may be on the horizon. The Wall Street Journal reports that America is now planning to expand the number of missile defense systems in Asia, with new radar facilities to be deployed in Japan and a possibility of more to come elsewhere in the region:
The planned buildup is part of a defensive array that could cover large swaths of Asia, with a new radar in southern Japan and possibly another in Southeast Asia tied to missile-defense ships and land-based interceptors.It is part of the Obama administration’s new defense strategy to shift resources to an Asian-Pacific region critical to the U.S. economy after a decade of war in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Although the official line is that these missiles are directed at a belligerent North Korea, many believe that the actual target is China:
U.S. defense planners are particularly concerned about China’s development of antiship ballistic missiles that could threaten the Navy’s fleet of aircraft carriers, critical to the U.S. projection of power in Asia.“The focus of our rhetoric is North Korea,” said Steven Hildreth, a missile-defense expert with the Congressional Research Service, an advisory arm of Congress. “The reality is that we’re also looking longer term at the elephant in the room, which is China.”
Behold the latest move in the Game of Thrones. The past year has seen America slowly build a system of alliances and treaties with countries around China’s eastern rim, including Japan. Expanding these treaties into military bases and missile defense systems is the next logical step in this process.Also interesting to note is the rise of missile defense as an area of bipartisan agreement. In the 1980s, the Democrats made hay ridiculing Regan’s “Star Wars” missile defense plan. Today, Obama is suggesting something similar, and it doesn’t even crack the front page.