After scaling down its invaison of Iraq, the US is going to put some of these forces in Singapore. While we don’t have a Saddam Hussein in the region, there is piracy and freedom of passage for all ships to think about. Freedom of passage has never been a problem. As for piracy, is it an American problem that they feel responsible enough to spend so much money, resources and personnel to tackle the problem? Who is inviting the Americans here to deal with the piracy problem? Or are the Americans inviting themselves here because the Asean countries could not solve the problems? Why suddenly piracy in the region becomes a problem and not before?
Many countries are viewing the American presence with suspicion. Why would a neutral Singapore want to host the combat forces of a foreign govt here? Money lah. Can charge them for rental and use of facilities what.
I think it will be nice if Singapore can also host the combat personnel and equipment of countries like China, India, Russia and Japan to combat piracy as well. When the Americans are living across the horizon think it is important to them, piracy must also be important to these countries as well.
I can see more money from rentals and services if all these countries park their combat vessels here. And it is good to have more parties here to balance the ill intent of any one party. Don’t forget who is the biggest pirate. These other countries need to be here to keep the biggest pirate in check before it does mischief in the region.
The rationale for more navies to be here is reasonable, logical and an air of fairness, non alignment, neutrality, and plenty of money to be made. And the Americans cannot object to such a good argument.