U.S. Must Maintain Power, Influence in Asia-Pacific Region

May 10, 2011
By Robert K. Ackerman
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The United States must maintain a strong military, economic and political presence in the Asia-Pacific region for the foreseeable future, according to experts in a plenary panel session hosted by former Good Morning America host David Hartman at the 2011 Joint Warfighting Conference in Virginia Beach. This is necessary to counterbalance increasing Chinese influence and to keep the United States' status as an honest security broker in the region. Wallace "Chip" Gregson, former assistant secretary of Defense for Asian and Pacific Security Affairs, said that U.S. friends in the region want the United States to represent its values peacefully. Ronald O'Rourke, a specialist in national defense with the Congressional Research Service, opined that every day, nations throughout the region are taking measure of each country's strength. It is politically important for the United States to stay strong militarily in an ongoing basis. Many countries have not yet take sides in the foreign policy debate between the United States and China, he noted. And China is strengthening its economic ties with many other countries. Gregson observed that many Asians have risen out of poverty because of China's economic growth. He cited Cambodia as an example: The Southeast Asian country expressed a desire for a strong U.S. presence, but meanwhile China is helping build the country's infrastructure. "China is there, and we're not," he said. Both Gregson and O'Rourke, along with fellow panelist Adm. Timothy J. Keating, USN (Ret.), former head of the U.S. Pacific Command, maintained that the United States is not a fading power relative to China. Reports of waning U.S. influence have been greatly exaggerated. However, all three panelists agreed that the United States must continue to take steps to

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