US' role in Asia vital to peace, prosperity

The United States has always been a good friend to Asia.

Where will Asia be today if the US had not intervened in World War II, and what would have happened to South-east Asia if not for the US' involvement in Indochina?

There are those that would nitpick. But the fact is that US intervention was instrumental in allowing us to survive and even prosper.

Even enemies have become economic powerhouses, like Germany and Japan, for instance, because of war reparations, much of which came from the US.

And now, even Vietnam has become a good friend, with all that happened between two sworn enemies forgotten ("US lifts ban on arms sales to Vietnam"; May 24).

And there are those who were defended and helped, such as South Korea, which has progressed and left the North far behind.

Of course, there are new threats, and even lingering hostilities that surface every now and then.

But the American presence ensures that these stay muted, and do not flare up and lead to war.

There is no arguing that the world would be a very different place, had World War II not ended the way it did.

There is no denying it changed the outcome for the better for all of us here in Singapore. It could have been so different.

More lives would have been lost, and subjugation would have followed in much of Asia, if not for the US' actions then.

All that has happened before appears possible again in the South China Sea, which is why the US presence is called for, without which, things could be a lot worse for the region, in particular South-east Asia.

Thus, maintaining the close ties that Singapore has with the US remains critical. And the respect it has accorded Singapore is to be lauded ("S'pore a capable, principled security partner: Carter"; June 4).

It shows how working together closely can be to the benefit of not just both parties, but also the region as a whole.

The US' friendship and continued interest in Asia must be valued and nurtured even further by all those with a stake in the region's continued development and prosperity.

The future is in Asia's hands, and for many Asian countries, the need for a good friend and protector that can be trusted is paramount.

That role can be played only by the US - a role it has not reneged on for as long as can be remembered.

Manoraj Rajathurai

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 14, 2016, with the headline 'US' role in Asia vital to peace, prosperity'. Print Edition | Subscribe