In a June 2016 Reuters article titled, “U.S. flexes muscles as Asia worries about South China Sea row,” Secretary Carter is quoted as saying:
The United States will remain the most powerful military and main underwriter of security in the [Asian] region for decades to come – and there should be no doubt about that.
The US, by presuming to dictate all that takes place across Asia, has all but declared itself a hegemon.
Reiterating the notion of American primacy and exceptionalism is a full-time occupation for the US State Department’s employees. This includes US Ambassador to ASEAN Nina Hachigian who pointed out to followers on Twitter that she had “spoke to some Lao shop owners” following US President Barack Obama’s recent visit to the Southeast Asian nation, and “they said [President Obama’s] visit was the most exciting and significant event in decades.”
Of course, for the nation of Laos, the most significant event regarding the US is undoubtedly the 2 million tons of munitions the US dumped on it between 1964 and 1973. These 2 million tons include cluster bombs consisting of some 266 million submunitions, an estimated 30% of which were left unexploded and remain to this day an enduring, deadly hazard to Laos and its 6.8 million people.
There are an estimated 80 million submunitions still littering the country, or about 11 for each man, woman, and child that lives in Laos. 20,000 people have been killed by unexploded US munitions and many more maimed which includes losing limbs.