Bu-lat-lat (boo-lat-lat) verb: to search, probe, investigate, inquire; to unearth facts
Volume 2, Number 2 February 17 - 23, 2002 Quezon City, Philippines
U.S. Plan for Base Expansion in Asia Begins
The U.S. government is laying the ground for an expanded and permanent armed presence in Central and southwestern Asia long after the war in Afghanistan.
In a trend that may as well happen in the current U.S. military exercises cum combat operations in the Philippines, the U.S. government is laying the ground for an expanded and permanent armed presence in Central and southwestern Asia long after the war in Afghanistan. Last week, the Washington Post reported that the U.S. Air Force is building a base that by June this year will be run by 3,000 personnel and American and allied aircraft.
The place: Bishkek, the remote capital of Kyrgyzstan, a former Soviet republic. U.S. defense officials said the base, now being constructed at Manas International Airport, will be used to maintain not just air operations over Afghanistan but also a robust military presence in the region well after the war.
"I don't see anything that we're doing that indicates that we're going to be here for three months," Air Force Gen. Christopher Kelly, commander of the Bishkek construction plan, said. "I see what we're doing and the kind of guidance I'm getting from higher headquarters that indicate that we'll be here for a long period of time. How long, I don't know."
Washington Post said the military build-up is an expression of the Bush administration’s plan to conduct anti-terrorist operations on a “near-permanent basis” across much of the Muslim world. Part of the build-up is establishing broader security relationships with countries in Central Asia, a strategic region rich in oil and gas reserves. Similar plans are afoot in southwestern Asia.
Speaking before the U.S. House international relations committee last week, Secretary of State Colin L. Powell said, "America will have a continuing interest and presence in Central Asia of a kind that we could not have dreamed of before."
Deputy Defense Secretary Paul D. Wolfowitz also confirmed that the United States will maintain a military presence in the region after the Afghan war as part of its global anti-terrorism campaign.
But Washington Post also said that the expanding U.S. deployment into Central Asia has raised concerns in Beijing and Moscow, both of which are known to gave strategic interests in the region. The United States, Chinese analysts said, is using the war on terrorism as a pretext for expanding its influence in Central Asia and the Pacific. Bulatlat.com