Now, purportedly in response to aggressive action by North Korea’s new leader, the White House is sending to Singapore a new class of warship designed to fight in coastal waters. The Pentagon also announced that it will deploy a missile defense system to the U.S. Pacific territory of Guam to strengthen regional protection against a possible attack. This after the Obama administration largely canceled a similar defense system intended for Europe.
The U.S. says it stands “poised to respond” at the border of North and South Korea, where American troops are on high alert amid possible further Pentagon build-up in the region.
Why is the U.S. now responding to North Korea?
Time magazine says the “U.S. pivot toward Asia – and the potential for confrontation with China – became a little more real this week with the arrival of a new class of warship designed to fight in coastal waters.” That pivot has been declared by the Obama administration – a professed strategy of putting a greater focus on the Asia region.
Earlier this week, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel “made clear the U.S. and the Department of Defense remain committed to the rebalance towards the Asia-Pacific region,” Pentagon spokesman George Little said after a meeting between Hagel and Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.
The U.S. military shift comes as the so-called BRICS countries – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – seek to create a monetary system to rival and even surpass the West. While it received little U.S. media attention, last week at its fifth annual summit the BRICS group unveiled what it said was a new development bank aimed at breaking the monopoly held by Western-backed institutions. The bank would use $50 billion of seed capital shared equally between Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa but would clearly be dominated by China.
Russian President Vladimir Putin gave support for the bank while India’s trade minister said BRICS will “have a defining influence on the global order of this century.”
Iran’s Press TV described the deal this way: “The BRICS bank will present an alternative solution to the Western-dominated global banking system comprised of the Bretton Woods institutions – the World Bank (WB) and International Monetary Fund (IMF).