"The United States is a Pacific power, and we are here to stay." That was US President Barack Obama, in his current Asia-Pacific swing, addressing the Australian Parliament.
One would expect a Pacific/peaceful power to promote, well, diplomacy and peace. Not really. Not when the key scriptwriters of the President's offensive - "turning our attention to the vast potential of the Asia-Pacific" - come from the Pentagon.
Washington may not be on the verge of an Occupy Australia gambit - but one's got to start somewhere. The start is 250 US Marines deployed as part of an Air-Ground Task Force to bases in Australia's Northern Territory, including Darwin - which is a stone's throw from Indonesia, and thus, Southeast Asia.
US Air Force fighter jets will also be in the house, with the Marines on six-month tours starting in the summer of 2012 up to an eventual rotation of 2,500 troops.
Then comes the whopper. The marines will be conducting war games on Australian soil "out of the reach of Chinese ballistic missiles".
And no one told an unsuspecting world that Beijing was about to establish a unilateral no-fly zone to conduct "humanitarian" bombing Down Under.
Here's the scene
The hardly subtle Obama spin is that China must "play by the rules of the road", and stop its "military advances". This Washington narrative implies a benign superpower - the US - intervening to protect an Asia under siege.
Reality tells a completely different story; the "rules" - imposed by the US - assume that Washington has the right to (aggressively) police the whole planet. Beijing, for its part, is planning, long-term, how to defend its multiple national security interests in the South China Sea, the Indian Ocean and the Western Pacific.