Clinton and the colonial paradigm

October 22, 2010
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From the State Dept. website:  “Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will travel to Hawaii, Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, New Zealand, and Australia October 27-November 8.

Secretary Clinton arrives in Honolulu on October 27 where she will meet with Japanese Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara to discuss a broad range of issues, including our close coordination during our back-to-back Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) host years. This meeting underscores the enduring importance of the U.S.-Japan alliance as a cornerstone of American engagement in the Asia-Pacific. On October 28, for the second time in Hawaii, the Secretary will deliver a major policy speech on the United States’ role as a Pacific nation.”

Clinton’s five principles that articulates the U.S. Pacific Policy:

1. Using our bilateral alliance relationships as the cornerstone of our regional involvement while pursuing other partnerships and dialogues with regional players;

2. shaping regional institutions to advance shared objectives such as economic development and democracy;

3. ensuring that regional institutions are effective and results-oriented;

4. maintaining flexibility in pursuing objectives, including through sub-regional institutions; and

5. determining which Asia-Pacific regional institutions are the defining ones that include all key stakeholders.

This new plan, as stated in testimony by Asst. Sec. of State Kurt Campbell, has articulated that the U.S. will work in cooperation with the Pacific Island Forum Secretariat and the participating organizations, citing PIF as the “cooperating regional players.” (For more information on the Pacific Plan go to: http://www.forumsec.org.fj/pages.cfm/about-us/the-pacific-plan/)

The five principles that Clinton has articulated lays the frame for further militarization of the Pacific through the use of Development Aid for strategic control over energy and other pacific resources.

Just one example of the kind of plan that is being perpetrated is the production of Palm Oil in Papua New Guinea.  In a 2009 report entitled “Commodity Colonialism,” David Gilbert describes the economic, environmental conditions imposed upon PNG’s Palm Oil production by U.S. agribusiness Cargill, which has created not only massive environmental degradation , but also the spread of debt, prostitution, alcoholism and violence in the oil palm regions.

The combination of militarization, development aid, as well as traditional and new commodities in the Pacific, is well elaborated in the US State Dept. Pacific plan. The upcoming G20 and APEC meetings among the larger countries around the Pacific will undoubtedly prepare for further exploitation of Pacific resources.

In this critical era of acute climate change, this policy already accepts the reality of global warming, an assumption that threatens the existence of many Pacific Island nations and peoples.  The use of militarization and aid, the logic of maintaining military presence as insurance to disaster relief programs, the continued exploitation of forests and natural resources in the Pacific; together, these all suggest the continuation of an old colonial paradigm.

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One Response to Clinton and the colonial paradigm

  1. [...] is extensive writing addressing Kurt Campbell’s testimony both on this website, as well as on StatehoodHawaii.org, I’d like to summarize that the U.S. Pacific Pivot provides two functions: to contain [...]

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