When President Bush announced a radical redeployment of some 70,000 active duty U.S. military personnel currently based in Western Europe and Asia in mid-August, he stressed that this new agile military would be focused on combating terrorism and fostering global stability. What he didn't mention is that the newly dispersed Army, Marines, Navy and Air Force will also be busy protecting another key component of U.S. national security -- its energy resources.
One look at a map of current Pentagon troop deployment demonstrates how the Pentagon sees its 21st century dual mission. Since 2001, new military bases have been established in Eastern Europe and Central Asia -- including Bulgaria, Azerbaijan, Romania, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan -- allowing the U.S. to keep watch over the Islamic tinderbox of Central Asia and the strategically crucial Caspian Sea oil region which will soon supply millions of barrels of oil to the U.S. and Western Europe markets. Other bases in Afghanistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Djibouti and Oman (not to mention the huge military garrison in Iraq), guarantee a strong and long-term presence in the Persian Gulf, while new pacts with Nigeria and other West African nations will ensure the U.S. military keeps a watchful eye on another important oil region, the Gulf of Guinea.
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