WHAT HAVE YOU DONE FOR ME LATELY?
China is catering to Taiwan’s former clients in the Pacific Basin and Beijing is bringing its own chopsticks. This is far more than just the CCP’s One China Policy. This is a military maneuver to directly threaten America’s maritime superiority.
But, small island nations do not switch allegiances based upon military considerations. After all, they were just caught in the middle between two major powers during World War II. Now it’s a matter of whether the United States will supply their needs or if China will pander to them better.
Small countries of Oceania understand they have no military leverage of their own. Their value to the superpowers on the world stage is strictly a function of their strategic locations.
How many Americans today remember the heroics of John Fitzgerald Kennedy and PT-109 in the Solomon Islands? How many of us are familiar with the furious battles at Guadalcanal or at Tarawa?
In fact, where are those places? Guadalcanal is in the Solomon Islands. Tarawa is in the current day nation of Kiribati.
Both nations have just abandoned Taipei and staked their future on the Chinese dragon from the mainland of Asia. But why?
No, these small Islands in Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia have no pretensions to being players on the world stage when it comes to military confrontations. They realize they are just going to be the battlegrounds where wars are waged by the megapowers.
So, then do you suppose it’s about capitalism vs communism? Are they siding with socialism over free market principles? This consideration, frankly, doesn’t even have a role in the recent decisions to align with China over Taiwan.
Bingo! That’s it! China basically just offered more stuff and more big bucks than their small island nemesis of Taiwan did or could. China not only has endless streams of funds but they have no democratic process for distributing it. Xi Jinping can give it to whomever he wishes and nobody who hopes to have a future dares say otherwise.
WHY KIRIBATI IS A RED LINE
Perhaps it’s a bit easier logistically to draw a line in the sand with your foot than it is to put a marker on the deep blue sea. But China absolutely must not be allowed to re-establish their satellite tracking station on Tarawa which was dismantled after Kiribati went with Taiwan in 2003.
Look for China to begin construction before politicians in Washington, DC even have time to realize what has happened. Ergo, this article to try to help us get out ahead of the game.
Ronald Reagan Ballistic Missile Defense Test Site on Kwajalein Atoll in the Republic of the Marshall Islands is only 617 miles from Tarawa. In fact, RMI is one of the few remaining Taiwan partners at this time and they cannot be snatched away on our watch.
Taiwan still has relations with Tuvalu, Nauru and Palau. Each is important strategically in its own way. But right now the United States needs to concentrate its resources on a potential crisis in Kiribati.
Kiribati straddles both the equator and the International Date Line. Therefore, it is the only country in the world that is in all four hemispheres. Kiritimati Island is due south of Honolulu. Because of the International Date Line, it is exactly 24 hours time difference.
Probably 99% of Americans have never heard of Kiribati. The voice recognition software I’m using cannot even recognize that if I enunciate it properly. The country is pronounced as Kiribas. The island South of Hawaii is Christmas Island. The national capital of Betio sounds like Beso.
SO WHO NEEDS TO DO WHAT NOW?
Unfortunately, the US of A is typically at least a day late and a dollar short. China has poached a very strategic island nation away from our allies in Taiwan, which was only willing to sell them a Boeing 737 which China donated outright.
My compliments to Dr. Rieko Hayakawa, an expert in Pacific geopolitics with a long history of providing substantive assistance to small island nations. She is ensuring that the government of Japan is fully aware of the ramifications of this Chinese power play in the Pacific.
It would help if U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo would get his pompous a** and over-inflated ego on the next flight to the overcrowded little tropical island of Tarawa. Indo-Pacific Command plus the U.S. Coast Guard could also make some site visits there with infrastructure enhancement propositions in their pockets or briefcases.
Like I said earlier, the question is what have you done for me lately?
In the meantime, relations with the Marshall Islands need to be kept on a solid basis because we absolutely cannot afford their defection to China. Whatever we can do to bolster Taiwan’s relationship around the world will also be in our own self-interest as it counters Chinese hegemony.
JFK & DJT
Besides being a war hero in the Solomon Islands, our 35th president stared down Russian Dictator Nikita Khrushchev to keep missiles out of Cuba. Now our 45th president may get the chance to do something likewise with Chinese Dictator Xi Jinping to prevent their People’s Liberation Army from militarizing our Pacific neighborhood.
It’s not a matter of putting the pedal to the metal. It’s all about the mettle in the man in the White House. Sorry you don’t still have John Bolton there to give you expert advice but this will be a make-or-break for your next National Security Advisor and possibly for your own administration.
Even many of the Democrats don’t want to go soft on China. This is really not the time or place for political posturing by anyone. From Arctic to Antarctic, from Pacific to Atlantic, China poses an existential threat.
What you either do or fail to do on Tarawa will send a message straight to Beijing. There will be no satellite tracking station permitted in Kiribati to spy on us at Kwajalein. Period. End of statement.
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