A Call for Pacific Cohesion

In an article highly critical of US policy towards the Pacific, Andre Vltchek argues that the island nations of Oceania should come together and develop a more centralized (or at least cohesive) regional voice. While the piece is inflammatory in tone (and limited in detail) it does raise some interesting points.

The big three, the U.S., Australia, and New Zealand, have divided the Pacific island territories. New Zealand now controls Polynesia, Australia is “in charge of” Melanesia (including the plundering of natural resources by its multinationals in Papua New Guinea), and the U.S. has a firm grip on Micronesia.

The New Pacific Wall: The U.S., Australia, and New Zealand Control the Pacific Islands is available at WorldPress.Org.

In laying out the grounds for greater unity Vltchek scathingly notes…

-Pacific Island votes at the UN are openly for sale…

-For several tiny nations, it became profitable to play the Taiwanese card...

-The economy of Palau, as for the entire Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), is largely dependent on the U.S. handouts…

…Inter-Pacific cultural and economic ties are being replaced by ties with the U.S., Australia, and New Zealand….

-Micronesian nations are securing cash through direct agreements with the United States by offering the military unlimited access to their territories..

He concludes:

[the] New Pacific Wall has fragmented this enormous area of the Pacific, once inhabited by diverse but historically intertwined cultures. There is an acute need for Pacific island nations to create a strong and united bloc able to negotiate with the rest of the world with one voice. Only such a bloc could effectively address economic, social, transportation, educational, and political problems confronting the entire region.

While Vltchek may be correct in his observation that developed nations benefit most from a patchwork of bilateral and unilateral polices with individual island states, his suggestion that the region as a whole is “historically intertwined” may be a slight exaggeration. Nor does he provide specific characteristics of a possible mechanism in his prescription.

That said, the article does raise important concerns and is well worth reading.

Rather than rallying for national or regional policy shifts, Habele remains committed to development in Micronesia’s remote outer islands at the level of individual students. For information on the fund's private school scholarships and public school library projects visit our website at www.habele.org.