“New Architecture” in the Asia-Pacific or just more hegemony?


Terri Keko’olani, AFSC Hawai’i and DMZ-Hawai’i / Aloha ‘Aina. Photo:  Eri Oura

Below is another story from the KITV newscast about Sec. of State Clinton’s speech yesterday at the East West Center. Footage on the 10:00 pm news included the demonstration by AFSC Hawai’i, DMZ-Hawai’i / Aloha ‘Aina, Gaza Freedom March, World Can’t Wait and others.  The protest targeted the escalating U.S. wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and military realignment and expansion in Okinawa, Guam and Hawai’i, as well as the U.S. policies on Israel and Palestine.

Clinton’s speech was hyped as revealing the “new architecture of Asia”, but at its core, it just rehashed a centuries-old theme of America “power projecting” its “manifest destiny” across the Pacific to shape the security and economic environment in Asia.   In this imperial vision of the Asia-Pacific region, what really matters is Asia.  The Pacific is not seen as a real place, just a big protective moat to keep enemies at bay and a place to build strategic military bases within easy striking distance of potential Asian rivals.

Of course, quoting Obama, she made obligatory reference to the Pacific ocean binding us together rather than dividing us.  But this metaphor was ripped off from the peoples movements in the Pacific such as the Nuclear Free and Independent Pacific (NFIP) which popularized the concept of the Pacific Ocean as Ka Moana Nui (The Great Ocean) that forms a liquid continent uniting the peoples of the Pacific.   If Obama felt truly bound to the peoples of the Pacific, then he would have supported the more aggressive climate change initiatives put forth in Copenhagen by drowning island states like Tuvalu.

No, at its  heart, the U.S. vision of the Pacific is still the “American Lake”.   The islands and peoples of the Pacific are just beautiful places to vacation or strategic locations to build military bases. How else do you explain the arrogance with which the U.S. violates the sovereignty of the small islands and imposes its military bases?  First Hawai’i, then Guam, American Samoa, the Marshall Islands, Palau, Okinawa, all the way to Puerto Rico and Diego Garcia.

I am reminded of Henry Kissinger’s notorious 1969 quote about U.S. nuclear tests in the Pacific: “There are only 90000 people out there. Who gives a damn?”

The U.S. peace movement should recognize the pivotal role small islands like Hawai’i, Guam and Okinawa play in the American Empire and its global network of military power.   To prevent wars from happening in the future, it is critical that Americans force their government to stop using small islands as military platforms to wage wars.


Photo: Eri Oura



Clinton Discusses Asia-Pacific’s Importance

Secretary On 10-Day Trip Through Region

POSTED: 5:05 pm HST January 12, 2010

UPDATED: 9:23 pm HST January 12, 2010

HONOLULU — U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton made a major policy speech in Honolulu on Tuesday at the East-West Center in Manoa about America’s future relationship with Asia.

Clinton celebrated the 50th anniversary of the East-West Center. She talked about how Asia is changing, and how the U.S. should respond.

Local politicians, Hawaii military leaders and people who work at the center attended her address.

Clinton is on a 10-day trip through the Asia-Pacific Region. Clinton said the Asia-Pacific region is important to America. She talked about the major changes in Asia in recent decades.

“It is a region that has gone from soybeans to satellites, from rural outposts to gleaming mega-cities, from traditional calligraphy to instant messaging and most importantly, from old hatreds to new partnerships,” Clinton said.

The U.S. and Asia are now linked economically and America will continue to maintain a presence in the region, Clinton said.

“The United States has a strong interest in continuing its tradition of economic and strategic leadership, and Asia has a strong interest in Asia in the U.S. remaining a dynamic, economic partner and a stabilizing military influence,” the secretary said.

The East-West Center audience was receptive and happy to host the Cabinet member.

“It was a tremendous honor the East-West Center 50th anniversary. So, we were overjoyed to hear her speech, get her illumination of the Asia-Pacific region,” said Floren Elman-Singh, of the East-West Center.

A group of about three-dozen people rallied outside of the East-West Center about the war in Afghanistan and Iraq and the move of a Marine base to another part of Okinawa, Japan.

Clinton also visited Pearl Harbor, where she presented a wreath aboard the USS Arizona Memorial to commemorate the Americans who died in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941.

Earlier in the day she met with Japan’s foreign minister. Read more about that here.

Copyright 2010 by KITV.com All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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