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Defense Secretary Reassures Allies Without Promising Troops

“President Obama’s defense secretary, Ashton B. Carter, has become the secretary of reassurance,” according to The New York Times .  

“In April, Mr. Carter was in Tokyo, reassuring officials worried about China that the United States would back Japan’s administrative control over disputed islands in the East China Sea and provide its advanced F-­35 fighter jets to its foremost Pacific ally. In June, he was in Tallinn, Estonia, reassuring officials worried about Russia that the United States would place battle tanks, infantry fighting vehicles and other heavy weapons in Baltic and Eastern European states. And in July, he was standing on the hill of a remote outpost on Israel’s northern border with Lebanon, reassuring officials worried about Iran that despite the pending nuclear deal with Tehran, which the Israeli prime minister opposes, the United States would further increase military cooperation with Israel, including providing it with F-­35 fighters.”  

“Mr. Carter has adopted this diplomatic role since taking the reins of the Pentagon from Chuck Hagel in February. The confluence of turmoil around the world has American allies looking to the United States for promises of military support if security conditions worsen… By sending the defense secretary to calm fretful allies, the administration can give the appearance of robust military support without actually committing American troops.”

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