“Magellan called the ocean Pacífico (or ‘Pacific’ meaning, ‘peaceful’) because, after sailing through the stormy seas off Cape Horn, the expedition found calm waters.”
I’m sure Magellan later discovered as have modern sailors who have entered into the vast Pacific Basin unaware, that the waters are not always so calm. Cyclones, hurricanes and typhoons all too often wreak havoc and bring a disastrous end to voyages in this volatile region. Many persons and their vessels are lost forever in Davy Jones Locker.
Magellan himself met an untimely demise across the Pacific in the islands whom he named for King Philip of Spain at the hands of Lapu Lapu on Mactan. His crew made it in the complete global circumnavigation back to Europe without him.
In addition to natural disasters, high seas piracy continues to this very day. The United States’ Palmyra Atoll 1,000 miles south of Honolulu hosts a grisly and still unsolved murder mystery.
In that same area near the equator, efforts are now underway to find where Aviatrix Amelia Earhart went down in 1937.
STRATEGIC LOCATION LEADS TO INTERNATIONAL COMPETITION
The 2nd World War saw small Pacific islands caught in the middle of maritime battles in such places as Iwo Jima, Peleliu, Tarawa, Guadalcanal and many more. Today, Japan is a staunch American ally while China has become our primary nemesis in this region.
Today we are witnessing an ever-changing political landscape as Pacific island countries choose their friends and eschew former allies in an all out game of realignment.
AMERICA NEEDS TO REFOCUS AND REENGAGE
Whatever may have happened in Ukraine that has ostensibly led to this current impeachment fury pales in significance compared to the existential threat of Chinese hegemony in our backyard.
Our long time ally, the Philippines, is playing footsie these days with the Chinese Communist Party in the erratic administration of President Rodrigo Duterte.
The U.S. territory of Guam is infatuated with the United Nations program on decolonization.
A young American female Acting Attorney General on Yap Island in the Federated States of Micronesia was brutally murdered just two months ago for fighting corruption.
Both the Solomon Islands and Kiribati have switched their allegiances from Taipei to Beijing this year.
The Prime Minister of New Zealand, Jacinda Ardern, freaked out last March after the massacre of Muslims in Christchurch, pledging kinship with Islam in ignorance of a predominant worldwide threat of jihad, failing to recognize an anomaly for what it was.
Fiji, Tonga, Samoa and other Pacific nations have been left to fend for themselves. Hawaii did send a medical team to assist with the measles epidemic in Samoa. But that is far different from cultivating on-going symbiotic relationships among neighbors in the Pacific.
The recent volcanic eruption on White Island / Whakaari in New Zealand’s Bay of Plenty was a terrible heartbreaking tragedy in which innocent lives were lost.
But it should not take such a cataclysmic event as this to wake us from our slumber and to rediscover the Pacific Basin on the map.
PACIFIC FUSION CENTRE
That’s why it’s time to take a moment to renew our awareness of the endeavor currently underway in Canberra. Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne is in the process of having intelligence analysts seconded from Pacific island countries trained for eventual deployment to a host island nation.
We here at NOQ Report promoted this essential collaboration opportunity at the time that Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison was fêted in a state dinner in Washington DC by President Trump. But, who knows if this discussion was elevated to that level? Probably not.
U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee has tasked the Indo-Pacific Command, based here in Hawaii, with ensuring our participation in such a Pacific Fusion Centre. Admiral Phil Davidson has confirmed receipt of those marching orders.
SO, NOW LET’S MAKE IT HAPPEN!
Enough talking! Enough diplomacy! It’s time for the rubber to hit the road!
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JD Rucker – EIC