The New Face of Alliances

Article excerpt

MANILA, Philippines - US President Obama left Washington last week for a 10-day Asia trip to four democratic market economies in Asia: India, Indonesia, South Korea, and Japan.

It is now recognized that economic and business growth occurs mostly in Asia, the world's fastest growing region and currently the most resilient economy. Indeed, the world's economic axis has moved from West to East.

The US is undertaking a serious assessment of its interests and position abroad, and has reoriented its foreign policy toward Asian nations.

Against a background of a call from the Philippine Senate and the House of Representatives to review the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) - essentially a review of the military alliance between US and the Philippines - we should look into current movements and the global restructuring of security alliances.

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is widening its scope to include Russia in its ambit for mutual security. Recently, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said he wanted to see Russia-NATO cooperation in the field of Theatre Missile Defense, the system aimed at protecting deployed military forces. He also proposed conducting joint exercises with Russia in the sphere.

While only two years ago the West was affronted by Russia's occupation of Georgia, the two are now expressing a strong desire to cooperate on missile defense against rogue nations. Russia has also promised to do more to help NATO in Afghanistan.

Historic rivals Britain and France, two countries that have waged wars against each other for over several centuries, have recently signed treaties calling for an unprecedented military cooperation. …