Changing face of the US in Asia

Published on 16 February 2009

The merits, or otherwise, of embedding yourself with a military force and seeing their very one-sided view of the world, has been the subject of some debate in recent years. But against all expectations, I recently found myself gathered around a cage of bunny rabbits with a group of combat-hardened US soldiers, cooing as they petted the cuddly balls of fur. It was all part of a friendship building visit to a local agricultural initiative organised by their Thai counterparts. Could this be the new face of the US military under the Obama administration? [...] Under exercise on the training grounds in central Thailand, Indonesian troops guarding a convoy of supplies for the World Food Program come under ‘attack’ by insurgents in a scenario designed to teach them not only the best methods of defence, but how to work with civilian agencies who have strict rules about engagement and neutrality. After the exercise is completed, an overseeing US officer rebukes them mildly for loading their 'dead' and wounded comrades into the back of the WFP truck without asking permission of the UN agency, thus invalidating the neutrality of the vehicle.

Related Links

Al Jazeera