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Australian Times


US Marine Base an Asset to the Region

March 16, 2012 by Ben Collins in World

Indonesia’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, Marty Natalegawa, has called on Australia and other Western countries not to negatively sensationalise the rapid rise of China.  He belives there are any number of potential conflict triggers in the region, explaining:

There are so many potential triggers… so many elephants in the region. If we make the anarchical assumption, everyone will behave according to the worst-case scenario.

He conceded the new deployment of US Marines in Australia was not a threat to Indonesia, a sentiment shared by his countrymen. But there are other powers, especially China who tend to see any military build up in the region as a slight against them. Apparently, the shock of the Marine base announcement has died down.

In a statement of profound wisdom, Mr Natalagawa claimed:

In the recent past the largest source of death and destruction has not been conflict but natural disasters. So if there’s a common enemy, that’s it. We want to bring the US Marines into that. Since the US Marines basing has created some excitement in some quarters, we have been told it’s for disaster response. So we may as well try it out.

His comments came after a meeting with the new Foreign Minister, Bob Carr, as well as the Defence Minister Steven Smith.

Mr Natalagawa appears to be a moderate in the often right of centre political spectrum in Indonesian politics. His pragmatic approach to regional issues could make him an asset to the region, which has been severely affected by natural disasters in recent years.

Bob Carr is believed to have taken meetings with at least a dozen of his international contemporaries in his first week as Foreign Minister. His acute intellect is expected to be a firm asset to the negotiation of peace not just in the region, but in international trouble spots.

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