For most commentators, President Barack Obama’s biggest achievement in his four-nation tour of Asia was the enhanced defense treaty he signed with Philippine President Benigno Aquino. The pact permits US forces to operate on Philippine military bases and sets the conditions for joint training of US and Philippine forces, among other things.
There are two problems with the treaty, however.
And they reflect the basic problem with US foreign policy generally, five-and-a-half years into the Obama presidency.
Marines of 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, Battalion Landing Team, 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit wait to be extracted by helicopter during a rehearsal of the final exercise at Exercise Africa Lion 2012. This year’s exercise is a scaled-down version in preparation for African Lion 2015, which is slated to be the biggest the continent has ever seen. (Cpl. Tyler Main / Marine Corps)
Marines are back in Morocco for African Lion a year after the local government abruptly canceled the largest annual exercise on the continent, sending hundreds of leathernecks packing, and they’re preparing for next year’s iteration to be the most robust yet.
Members of 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade, out of Camp Lejeune, N.C., and 25th Marines, a Massachusetts-based reserve unit, are participating in the multinational exercise that teams them with Moroccan and German troops from March 27 to April 5. This year’s exercise is a scaled-down version in preparation for African Lion 2015, which is slated to be the biggest the continent has ever seen. The plan is to combine it with another U.S. Africa Command-sponsored exercise also held in Morocco, said Master Sgt. Chad McMeen, a spokesman for Marine Forces Europe and Africa.
“The 2015 exercise is expected to incorporate the Air Force F-16 exercise, formerly known as Majestic Eagle, into the training making it the largest planned exercise in its history,” he said.
African Lion is intentionally planned to go from a large-scale exercise one year to a smaller version the following, McMeen said.