New U.S. plans include expansion of bases to the Australia mainland, as well as such pristine places as the Cocos Islands (west of Australia) where a giant home-base for U.S. drone aircraft is planned, very close to China. This, despite extensive local opposition. New bases are also proposed for the tiny indigenous island of Yoniguni (at the southern tip of the Okinawa island chain), only 300 miles from China. Other bases are planned for indigenous islands in Micronesia, Melanesia, and the Marshall Islands, as well as expanded activity on Tinian, Saipan, Guam, and Vietnam. Since President Obama’s 2012 visits to Myanmar, Cambodia and Thailand, there is also talk of new U.S. economic and military “partnerships” with those places, with the intention of containing threats from China. And yet China has no military bases in the Pacific, and its entire military budget is one sixth of the U.S. budget, or 1/28th per capita.
Local Resistance Movements
The cultural and environmental effects of such expanded U.S. military presence, including Aegis missiles and nuclear-powered vessels, and constant “war games” throughout the pristine islands and waters of the region, is already threatening local populations, indigenous economies, and cultures. Increasingly, news reports present evidence of major “blowback” in the regions, particularly from local peoples from Okinawa, where hundreds of thousands have protested, to Jeju Island (South Korea), to Guam (the U.S. colony), and the Philippines, to Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean, and the Marshall Islands—where people still suffer the effects of nuclear testing a half century ago. Local people are rising in noisy protests throughout the Pacific, but little attention to this fact is given by U.S. mainland media. Nor has there been consistent effort at concerted action by these disparate communities. Representatives from all of these threatened locales were present at Moana Nui 2013. To view their speeches, and for further news, CLICK HERE.