The pieces of a new strategic kaleidoscope in the Asia-Pacific region are starting to fall into place as allies and security partners of the United States seek to deter China from using or threatening force to achieve its expansive aims, particularly in the South China Sea, which forms the maritime heart of Southeast Asia.
A contingent of about 200 U.S. Marines will soon arrive in Darwin, northern Australia. They are the forerunners of a bigger force of up to 2,500 marines agreed in November by leaders of the two allies.
Singapore has offered basing facilities to several high-speed Littoral Combat Ships being brought into service with the U.S. Navy, while U.S. ally the Philippines is negotiating with Washington to hold more military training exercises with the U.S. in the Philippines and increase U.S. Navy access to Philippine ports.
All of this has much to do with natural resources in the South China Seas, and what can be done to secure them for Western interests.