V/RAt a conference here last week, the four-star chief of Pacific Command made clear he sees the whole 4,000-mile arc from north to south as a strategically interconnected whole. The emerging term of art for this approach: “Spreading the theater.”What’s the strategy behind the slogan? As different as they are in language, culture, and geography, Southeast Asia and Northeast Asia are linked by sea lanes, economics, and history. All of them must also cope with an increasingly assertive China, a problem they’ve been faced with on and off for over 2,000 years. So US policy can take advantage of those shared interests and anxieties; US action in Northeast Asia can have positive repercussions in Southeast Asia, and vice versa; and shifts on either flank can affect the balance with Beijing. ”They’re interconnected,” Adm. Samuel Locklear told me after his public remarks to the National Defense Industrial Association conference onexpeditionary warfare.