The US and Japan agreed to expand defence cooperation during Secretaries Kerry and Hagel’s visit to Tokyo this week. Hagel said:
Our bilateral defense cooperation, including America’s commitment to the security of Japan, is a critical component of our overall relationship, and to the Obama administration’s rebalance to Asia-Pacific.
And it’s not that hard to see why some people might doubt the Executive’s continued focus on the rebalance: Eurasia Group’s Ian Bremmer noted the following breakdown for country mention’s in Obama’s UN Speech:
- Iran 25
- Syria 20
- Israel 15
- Palestine 11
- China 1
- Japan 0
- India 0
- Koreas 0
- [Editor’s inclusion: Australia got no mentiones either, and “Asia” was mentioned in passing twice]
The US Government shutdown isn’t helping. Although he is apparently still going to APEC in Indonesia, Obama has cancelled trips to Malaysia and the Philippines. If you’re confused about what’s going on with the whole shutdown-thing, the NYT has this graphic of the back and forth so far. Although the shutdown was reported to exclude national security functions, some NSA staff have received letters telling them to stay home. For its part, the Economist says there may be worse to come.
…[T]he longer the fight continues, the greater the chance that the modest economic harm of the shutdown will turn into something much worse. Around October 17th the federal government will hit the debt ceiling. This ceiling has been raised 74 times before, and raising it again should be routine. But what if no one backs down?
At home in Australia, the focus is well and truly on the Navy, with the International Fleet Review (and attendant events, like the RAN Sea Power Conference, and the Pacific 2013 International Maritime Congress and Exposition) on from the 3-11 of October. The SMH has all you need to know for enjoying the spectacle here.
And speaking of the navy, it’s great to see Defence putting a public face on the future submarine program here.
And if the kids misbehave at the International Fleet Review, you can always threaten to send them to North Korea.
Image courtesy of the State Department.