Photo by Guillaume Klein/AFP/Getty Images.
UPDATE: China's state media organization published an editorial Friday warning the United States on its plan to reshape and refocus its military. China's message: the U.S. shouldn't start "flexing its muscles" in the region.
The editorial in Xinhua takes issue with Obama's announcement that the military would be "strengthening" its presence in the Asia-Pacific region, even as it reduces its overall size and budget over the next 10 years. For more on the shifting focus of the U.S. military as announced yesterday, see this AP story.
The Xinhua editorial essentially tells the U.S. to play nice. Here's an excerpt:
The United States is welcome to make more contribution to peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region, but its possible militarism will cause a lot of ill will and meet with strong opposition in the world's most dynamic region.
As the BBC notes, China is probably not surprised by the U.S.'s new focus on the Asia-Pacific region, but is likely to interpret the new focus as a "containment strategy" in response to its growing power.
POST Thursday, Jan. 5, 6:02 p.m.: America is moving beyond the age of counterinsurgency wars like the ones in Iraq and Afghanistan.
That’s the big takeaway from President Obama’s sweeping plan to reshape the country’s military, according to the New York Times.
Under the new strategy, unveiled Thursday, the Army would shrink from 570,000 people to 490,000 as the Pentagon sheds nearly half a trillion dollars billion from its budget over the next 10 years.
In a rare appearance at the Pentagon, Obama put a bright face on the cuts. “We’re turning the page on a decade of war,” he said.
According to the Wall Street Journal, he pitched the new strategy as a smarter alternative to across-the-board military cuts. It calls for relying more heavily on the Navy and Air Force and shifting some focus from the Middle East to Asia. The Times notes that the Defense Department would continue to invest in counterterrorism, intelligence, cyberwarfare and efforts to stop nuclear proliferation.
"Our military will be leaner, but the world must know the United States is going to maintain our military superiority with armed forces that are agile, flexible and ready for the full range of contingencies and threats," Obama said.
Meanwhile, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta called on Congress to avoid deeper cuts to the military. That would require changes to last year’s debt-ceiling deal.
In a recent editorial, the Boston Globe took issue with Panetta’s claim that those additional cuts would render the United States a “paper tiger.” The Globe proposes several ways to reduce the budget further without compromising national security.