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Where in the world is Palau?

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Where in the world is Palau

I’ll take GEOGRAPHY for $1,000, Alex.

Answer:

Westernmost part of the former U.S. Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands.

Question:

What is Palau?

I have not researched to see if Palau has ever actually been a brain stumper on Jeopardy. But to the average American, it is esoteric knowledge that not many other than Jeopardy geniuses would know.

WHAT ISLANDS WERE PART OF TTPI?

United States administered the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands from 1947 until 1994. Today there are three independent nations and one United States territory.

The Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands [CNMI] opted to remain a U.S. Territory and for U.S. citizenship.

Republic of the Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia and Palau chose independence.

All four of these entities are within the Micronesian region in the Northwest Pacific. Hawaii and American Samoa and most of the Eastern Pacific are part of Polynesia. Melanesia consists of the islands in the Southwestern Pacific near Australia.

PALAU IS NOW A SOVEREIGN NATION

Though it is now independent and a member of the United Nations, Palau still depends very heavily upon the United States for its supporting infrastructure.

The United States military provides security.

The U.S. Postal Service still delivers mail as domestic to and from Palau with Zip Code 96940.

United States dollars are still used as the currency of Palau.

The economy of Palau depends upon agriculture, fishing, government, tourism and American assistance.

COMPACT OF FREE ASSOCIATION

Palau, as did Federated States of Micronesia and Republic of the Marshall Islands, entered into a Compact of Free Association with the United States. Under the provisions of the CFA, Palau citizens are able to travel to the United States and even to reside and work without a visa. If they have a criminal record either back in Palau or here in the USA, then they would not be admissible.

You may also see the term Freely Associated States [FAS] in reference to Palau, Federated States of Micronesia and Republic of the Marshall Islands.

SO WHERE IS PALAU?

Palau is 1,043 miles southeast of Manila, Philippines at about 7.5° N. Lat., just slightly farther north of the equator than the city of Davao on the Southern Philippine Island of Mindanao which is 625 miles west. Palau is just 619 miles north of the Indonesian province of West Papua which lies just slightly south of the equator in the southern hemisphere.

Yap in the Federated States of Micronesia lies just 281 miles to the northeast of Palau. FSM includes the states of Yap, Chuuk (Truk), Pohnpei and Kosrae. Though it is part of the Micronesian region, Palau is separate and independent from FSM.

TOURISM AND HISTORY

Palau, along with FSM, provides many opportunities for divers and aquatic enthusiasts from the United States who make the long journey to the tropics.

World War II buffs are attracted by battlefields such as Peleliu Island.

There isn’t much else for subsistence for the 22,000 residents of Palau.

MEETING WITH PRESIDENT TRUMP

In late May 2019, U.S. President Donald Trump met with Marshall Islands President Hilda Heine, Federated States of Micronesia President David Panuelo, and Palau President Tommy Remengesau in Washington DC to discuss the Blue Pacific strategy.

While this is an historic occasion, and a very positive sign, it still was more of a photo op than a substantive negotiation. There is much more the United States needs to do to assist the good people of Palau and the other FAS countries.

The United States Coast Guard and FEMA provide services to Palau. U.S. Indo-Pacific Command based in Honolulu and the component military services are increasingly visiting Palau due to its strategic location.

U.S. Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Insular and International Affairs also focuses on former and current territories all the way from Palau to the U.S. Virgin Islands somewhat over 10,000 miles away. That’s a big job and a big area to cover.

MORE PACIFIC BASIN INITIATIVES NEEDED

For about 15 years after 1989, there were multinational programs throughout the Pacific Basin and Pacific Rim in which the United States and allied nations cooperated to assist one another ~ along with small island nations and territories ~ in law enforcement and Customs matters.

The primary large countries overseeing this communication were the United States, Australia, New Zealand and Japan. All have a presence and a vested interest in this volatile part of the world.

Palau was an active participant in these programs and benefited greatly.

PROJECT COOK

Named for the British Seafarer and Explorer Captain James Cook of the 18th century, this was a small vessel tracking system which monitored both yachts and commercial fishing vessels that circumnavigate the Pacific Ocean, with more of an emphasis on the private craft. Customs Inspectors in each respective country boarded yachts and filled out the same form which was put into an online database. Thus, information on vessels and bio-data on crew members were shared among the participating countries and territories.

The main thrust of this was drug interdiction. Some small Islands also used it for revenue collection so that they would anticipate boats which were coming their direction.

This program continued till the mid- to late-1990s.

CAPERS

Not a seafood dish, but rather an acronym for Customs Asia-Pacific Enforcement Reporting System.

Computers were provided to small islands at a time beginning in 1999 when they were not already present in all locations.

The United States along with partners Australia and New Zealand provided national support centers to assist in their respective AORs.

CAPERS went beyond what Project Cook had done. Training material was posted for the benefit of Customs Officers from small islands who had no formal Academy. A forum and email were provided to assist coordination efforts. Much open source information was also provided about smuggling threats in the Pacific.

Narcotics smuggling by yachts is still a very serious ongoing situation in the Pacific. That is another topic to which a complete article will be devoted later. There is also the potential for terrorists and weapons of mass destruction to evade detection in border clearances that do not scrutinize yachts the way they do large commercial vessels and aircraft.

PACIFIC BASIN CONFERENCE

For nearly 20 years, the U.S. Customs Service Office of Enforcement sponsored a Pacific Basin Conference in Honolulu every year. Support and participation was also provided by Customs Inspectors. Counterparts from all over the Pacific were hosted and provided very informative speakers as well as opportunities for group discussions. Most activities were held at the East-West Center at the University of Hawaii Manoa campus.

SO WHAT HAPPENED?

9/11/2001 happened! The late great U.S. Customs Service under U.S. Department of the Treasury, founded the same year the U.S. Constitution was ratified in 1789, ceased to exist on March 1, 2003. Members of President George W. Bush’s Administration who had little knowledge of agency missions set about to merge agencies to create the new U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Customs inspections were merged with immigration inspections and agriculture inspections into U.S. Customs and Border Protection. The old Immigration and Naturalization Service under Department of Justice also became a thing of the past.

Customs investigations were merged with immigration investigations into U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The third component created under DHS is U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

RELEVANCE TO PALAU

Small Pacific islands are very vulnerable to penetration and infiltration from outside. Palau doesn’t even have its own military. Its Customs and Immigration personnel could benefit greatly from increased or reestablished direct ties with the United States.

Palau citizens who travel to the United States would most often pass through their first Port of Entry in Guam where they would be admitted by a U.S. CBP Officer. Guam and CNMI are anomalies because they are part of the United States for immigration purposes but outside the Customs Territory of the United States. Therefore U.S. CBP officers in Guam perform immigration duties whereas customs is provided by the Commonwealth of Guam. Air passengers must clear Customs when they go beyond to Hawaii or the U.S. mainland.

So, you can see that CBP officers in Guam and CNMI which are closest to Palau only do immigration duties but not customs. The nearest U.S. Customs inspection locale is Honolulu. Palau is 805 miles from Guam, which in turn is 3,799 miles from Honolulu. So if you thought these Far West Pacific territories are right next door to Hawaii, think again.

DRUGS AND CORRUPTION ON PALAU

Unfortunately, there is no true tropical paradise in this world. Palau certainly qualifies in terms of climate and weather. But life is not idyllic for the people of Palau.

That’s why the United States needs once again to work hand-in-hand with other large nations that can assist small island countries like Palau.

All of this, of course, is being done with a backdrop of precluding Chinese hegemony in Palau, other former and current U.S. territories and throughout the entire Pacific Basin.

Palau is 1,995 miles south of Tokyo. Japan is America’s strongest ally in the Western Pacific. For well over a half century, Japan has focused on its own economic and cultural stability. It has also become a beneficiary nation to smaller neighbors.

Palau is not only significantly closer, but also much better known to many Japanese citizens than it is to the average American. It makes perfect sense then for the United States and Japan to talk to one another about how to provide mutual assistance to Palau.

This also is in America’s interest as it provides a further hedge against Chinese expansionism in the region. China is exploiting small nations with its Belt and Road Initiative and debt trap diplomacy.

A strong American-Japanese cooperative program to assist Palau with infrastructure development is in everybody’s best interests.

Some of the contraband flooding into Palau may be coming via maritime smuggling. It also may be coming on commercial aircraft and via U.S. mail. That is another entire topic for another day about outbound inspections of U.S. mail that could be enhanced from Honolulu to the U.S. territories. It sometimes pits U.S. Postal Inspectors against CBP and ICE. Keep that in the back of your mind for another essay.

PRIVATE CITIZENS IN USA AND JAPAN ~ WHAT CAN WE DO?

Following is a thoughtful discussion between concerned parties in Hawaii and Japan about how to elevate this situation in Palau to our respective national leadership.

RELATED ARTICLES

America’s good friends in the Philippines

Why America is re-engaging with the Pacific

A Japanese F-35 is missing and that’s a very big deal!

Eyes on the Pacific

China is taking over the world

Countering China

Nuclear threat in the Pacific: It’s not what you think

WHAT YOU CAN DO

Remain circumspect. When you see an article about Palau and the Pacific Basin, take time to read it and educate yourself on the issues.

“The most populous island is Koror. The capital Ngerulmud is located on the nearby island of Babeldaob, in Melekeok State. Palau shares maritime boundaries with the Philippines, Indonesia, and the Federated States of Micronesia.”

Hopefully you might actually find yourself in the position someday to share information if world events ever put Palau in the spotlight. I didn’t even go into the Chinese Uyghurs from Guantanamo Bay that Obama released there during his presidency. Who knows when something like that might lead to breaking news again?

If nothing else, this knowledge might actually win you a million dollars on Jeopardy someday. If not, don’t blame me because I tried.

Palau

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Democrats

Ilhan Omar compares Israel blocking entry to South African apartheid

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Ilhan Omar compares Israel blocking entry to South African apartheid

Anti-Semitic Congresswoman Ilhan Omar did what she normally does. She played the race card, or more specifically, the Islamophobia card against Israel. To do this, she compared Israel’s blocking of her and Representative Rashida Tlaib to the apartheid blocking of a black Congressman by South Africa 44-years ago.

There are several holes in this narrative. First, her claims that only she and Tlaib were blocked because they are Muslim and the rest of those traveling with them were not blocked is a bald-faced lie that takes advantage of how the block was reported. The news was that the two Congresswomen were blocked, but in reality the trip itself was denied by the Israeli government. That means everyone traveling with them, not just the two Congresswomen, were not allowed entry based on the itinerary they presented to the Israeli government.

Second, this trip, which they claimed was to “Palestine” and included an itinerary that had them exclusively visiting anti-Israel factions, was singled out. None of the potential travelers were blocked from entry, as Israel demonstrated this morning when they allowed Tlaib to enter to see her 90-year-old grandmother in the West Bank. But Tlaib, of course, declined her own request because it was a bluff, a political stunt.

Third, the Representatives’ continued attacks on Israel as well as their support for BDS and Hamas is demonstrably a threat to the nation of Israel. This is unambiguous and has not even been denied by the Congresswomen because they know it to be true. In fact, they’re proud of their opposition to Israel’s right to exist.

If you can find a time when Ilhan Omar isn’t being disingenuous or blatantly lying, it’s only because she isn’t speaking at that moment. Her hatred for Israel and America are clear. She must be voted out in 2020.

We are currently forming the American Conservative Movement. If you are interested in learning more, we will be sending out information in a few weeks.

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Democrats

Rashida Tlaib tried, failed to use her grandmother to score political points against Israel

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Rashida Tlaib tried failed to use her grandmother to score political points against Israel

This story is getting way more attention than it deserves, but that’s the news cycle when “The Squad” makes moves. Whether it’s Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ayanna Pressley, Ilhan Omar, or Rashida Tlaib causing a big fuss, legacy media jumps to their defense faster than they did with President Obama. This time, it’s Tlaib who tried to double-down on the news cycle, but Israel called her bluff.

After being blocked from coming to Israel to spread her hateful views against the Jewish state, Tlaib tried to keep the spotlight on Israel by switching tactics and asking for a humanitarian pass so she could visit her ailing 90-year-old grandmother in the West Bank. Her letter was cordial and her request was quickly approved by the Israeli government. But her intention wasn’t to actually visit her grandmother. It was a bluff. She wanted to get rejected again so she could use it as further evidence of Israel’s “racism” and “oppression” against the Palestinian people.

So, she’s not going. She’s spinning it as a political statement against Israel, as she does so natural in nearly all of her actions. But intelligent people who don’t listen like sheep to the legacy media talking heads are realizing how disingenuous her actions have become (and, to be fair, have always been).

As Guy Benson noted:

Tlaib Bumbles Into Revealing Her Undeniable Priority: Bigoted Anti-Israel Propaganda

In response, Israel’s Interior Minister marveled, “I authorized this humanitarian trip, but it turns out that it was a provocation to embarrass Israel. Her hatred for Israel overcomes her love for her grandmother.”  That just about sums it up.  Her primary goal — always — was to embarrass and undermine the world’s lone Jewish state.  Her bigotry supersedes her professed love for her own flesh and blood.  I called Omar and Tlaib “clumsy, deeply unpopular stooges,” suggesting that any agitation in which they’d engage while in Israel would likely backfire and harm their own cause.  Right on cue, Tlaib managed to turn a partial PR victory into a revealing double defeat in less than 24 hours.  Israel is fortunate to have such moronic adversaries and enemies:

This won’t be treated as a loss for or a lie by Tlaib. One of the biggest reasons “The Squad” hasn’t crumbled under the weight of their own hypocrisy is because legacy media gives them cover. But conservatives know the truth. She’s a fraud.

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Foreign Affairs

Israel grants Tlaib West Bank visit on humanitarian grounds

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Israel grants Tlaib West Bank visit on humanitarian grounds

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel’s interior minister said Friday he has received and granted a request by Democratic Rep. Rashida Tlaib to enter the Israeli-occupied West Bank on humanitarian grounds.

Tlaib, who is of Palestinian origin, asked to visit her 90-year-old grandmother in the West Bank, Minister Aryeh Deri said in a statement.

Deri’s office published what it said was Tlaib’s written request, on congressional stationary. In the letter, Tlaib said she would respect any restrictions and “not promote boycotts” during her visit.

The minister’s decision marked yet another reversal concerning the high-profile West Bank tour that had been planned by Tlaib and fellow Democrat, Rep. Ilhan Omar.

On Thursday, Israel had announced it was barring the two from entry — an unprecedented move targeting members of the U.S. Congress. Israel’s decision came after President Donald Trump said in a tweet it would show “weakness” to allow in the two Democrats who have been sharply critical of him and of Israel’s policies toward the Palestinians.

Tlaib and Omar had planned to visit Jerusalem and several West Bank cities, starting this weekend. Both are known as supporters of “boycott, divestment and sanctions,” or BDS, a Palestinian-led global movement. Israel alleges that BDS targets Israel’s very existence, while the movement’s supporters say it is intended as leverage to end more than half a century of Israeli military rule over Palestinians.

Israel’s decision to ban the two had sparked widespread criticism, including from Israeli and Jewish organization who said it was an affront to U.S. institutions to bar the entry of members of Congress.

Deri said Friday he granted a subsequent request by Tlaib to visit the West Bank on humanitarian grounds. In her letter, Tlaib writes that this could be her last chance to see her grandmother.

Deri’s office said in a statement that he “decided to allow her entry to Israel and hopes she will stand by her commitment and that the visit will be for humanitarian needs only.”

Tlaib’s apparent pledge to conduct the visit in line with restrictions imposed by Israel was bound to anger Palestinians who had hoped the congressional tour would highly their plight.

We are currently forming the American Conservative Movement. If you are interested in learning more, we will be sending out information in a few weeks.

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