Only a few years ago, following the withdrawal of US armed forces from the Philippines in 1991, it seemed to many that the 'high water mark' of US military presence and influence in the Asia-Pacific region had been reached and that a steady decline was inevitable. The economic troubles of the United States, the end of the Cold War and the economic dynamism of many nations in the Asia-Pacific region all seemed to confirm that trend.
As of 1998 it is apparent that the predicted 'inevitable decline' has not occurred, and probably will not occur for the foreseeable future.
This chapter very briefly summarizes the information in the rest of the book with regard to US armed forces, especially those present in the Asia-Pacific region under the US Pacific Command. It can, to some extent, be read as an 'executive summary' of the preceding chapters. Documentation of the concise information contained in this chapter is contained in earlier chapters, along with a much greater depth and scope of information on all the topics briefly described here. In particular, it should be pointed out, as noted in the preceding chapters, that a large portion of the US armed forces has global mobility, and that in the event of a major conflict in the Asia-Pacific region those forces would augment the forces of the US Pacific Command which are the main focus of this summary chapter.
The armed forces of the United States have been present in the Asia-Pacific region for nearly two centuries. The voyage of the USS Essex to the Western Pacific in the year 1800 marked the first